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Chargers GM Tom Telesco Prepared for Unconventional Training Camp


Chargers veterans reported for training camp on Tuesday, and general manager Tom Telesco couldn't have laid it out any clearer.

"The number one priority is safety," he said. "The second priority is winning a championship. Luckily those basically go hand-in-hand."

In what will be an unconventional 2020 NFL season, Telesco met with the media virtually on Monday to discuss the balance of keeping the team's health paramount, while adjusting to a much different-looking training camp. With the preseason cancelled, Los Angeles' first game in 2020 will be on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.

"We have two opponents, really," Telesco said. "We've got to fight this virus and then whoever our opponent is on Sunday."

According to Telesco, everyone in the organization has bought into "doing things the right way." Between what several members of the Chargers staff have been able to accomplish this summer coupled with the NFL's doctors and detailed protocols, Telesco said he feels optimistic about minimizing the risk of COVID-19.

He also noted that complacency must be avoided.

"I will say [head coach] Anthony [Lynn] and I, we feel a real responsibility to keep everybody here safe," Telesco said. "It's players and coaches and a very large support staff of people, and we're attacking that enthusiastically."

One of the challenges in a training camp that includes no preseason games or joint practices is properly evaluating players. Telesco said members of the Chargers coaching staff have reached out to those in the college game in an effort to glean insight about how to best handle this time of year.

Telesco also admitted that certain rookies, undrafted free agents and players with limited NFL experience simply won't have the same opportunities they'd be afforded in any other year.

That said, there will be chances to make an impression. Telesco said that Lynn's open-mindedness and ability to "think outside the box" will help towards putting players in competitive practice situations.

First order of business, though: getting players into football shape.

"Everyone that's coming into here is coming from different areas of the country where there are different restrictions; all different levels of physical fitness," Telesco said. "So, we need to gently ramp these players [up]. That's what [head strength and conditioning coach] John Lott started [Monday] and we'll continue to do that."

The first eight to ten days of camp will largely mimic the strength and conditioning phase of organized team activities (OTAs), according to Telesco. The team won't put pads on until approximately the third week of August.

Even then, it may not feel like a true training camp with so much to accomplish before Week 1. In addition to evaluating the roster, Telesco explained that the team will need to adjust to a different style of offense and defense, all while integrating the 2020 rookie and free agent class.

"We do have to work with players and we want to try to develop young players, but we have to get players ready to play a regular-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals," he said.

Browse through photos of the team's locker room ahead of 2020 Chargers Training Camp, presented by SoFi.

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