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Chargers GM Tom Telesco: New Additions, Position Battles & Buzz Around 2022 Training Camp

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Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco joined the latest edition of Chargers Weekly live from training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

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Highlights of the conversation with Telesco are below:

On new additions and why style fit was important in Year 2 of Brandon Staley:

"Obviously, a lot of upgrades on defense. When I say upgrades, [it's] more that fit the style that we need to play with this defense. A lot of changes. We need this training camp on defense just to get used to playing with each other, with the amount of new faces. What we've seen the last couple days, they're going to make our offense better. There's not a whole lot of big windows to throw into right now. Both sides are going to work but we need a lot of work on defense in training camp because the amount of new people that we have to get ready to go."

"…As we moved from the Phillip Rivers era and now into the Justin Herbert era, it takes more than a year to try and get to where you want to go. It's taken a couple of years to try and take the talent level up. It's a big difference with a team when you're building around [Rivers], a veteran quarterback, experienced and a different contract as well, to now a younger quarterback. You have to build the team a little differently, so it's taken us a couple of years to get there but we're much closer now."

"There's different styles of defense in our league. [Former Chargers defensive coordinator] Gus' [Bradley] defense does a great job, it's just a different style than [Staley's] defense. Just like there's some other coordinator's out there with different styles. So, different styles of defense require different style of players, that's kind of the way it work. But last year, it's hard to turnover a roster in one year, to get everything in the Joe Lombardi style, the Renaldo Hill style and Brandon Staley, it's just difficult to do. It took some work to try and get there. We're closer this past offseason. Now, we got a lot of work to do with these guys."

On the right tackle battle and deciding factors:

"There's a lot of things we like about Trey [Pipkins III]. He's got great drive and determination to be a great player. He had some development to do when we took him, and we knew that. But last year when he had a chance to go in and play in regular season games, he really showed out. He played really well, going against good rushers."

"…Storm Norton did a heck of a job for us last year. I think when you play outside in this league against some of these pass rushers, it's not an easy task. He held his own for us and played some really good football especially in the middle of the season against some really good people."

"…Those two guys will play with each other, kind of see where it goes from there. Training camp for some guys is probably a little more important than others. Certainly, in different roles, trying to figure out where we are with those, but those guys are going to get a lot of work. We got Dallas coming in with some really good players, we'll see how it plays out. They're both going to play more than likely in some sort of role, but I'm excited for both of those guys."

On the importance of protecting the quarterback and winning upfront:

"…You've seen it with other young quarterbacks that come in the league. If they don't have great protection and their clock starts to speed up early in their career, things aren't always pretty."

"…We want to make sure we have people around our quarterback. That's why Corey [Linsley] was such a big signing for us. To pair our young quarterback with a veteran center who's so smart and a great football player, those two works together."

"…You have to win upfront, Brandon said that prior to his first press conference, you have to win upfront. We're closer to that now than we were a couple years ago and we're closer to that than we were last year."

On the excitement around the team:

"…I love when I'm pulling up here in the morning, just to see the lines of people lined up to come and watch us practice. I asked someone before I walked over, 'Are there more people here now than say three or four years ago? Are you seeing it grow?' and they said yes. I kind of see it. Just to see the excitement."

"…You can feel it. Anytime you have an offseason where you [trade for] Khalil Mack, sign J.C. Jackson, names that fans know, that kind of ramps it up a little bit."

"…There's some players on here that they're really excited about. We're excited about it too. I think people can see our growth from the last couple of years. I mean, last year we're a game from the playoffs. Mid-December, we're playing for a bye [week] in the playoffs and we just faded down the stretch. That was a big part of this offseason, what do we need to do to not fade in December. Last year was so disappointing. We did what we could this offseason, we'll keep working on it."

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