Coaching Staff Continuity a Plus for Chargers Entering 2019 Season

A majority of the Chargers' coaching staff returns for the 2019 season, including defensive line coach Giff Smith (left), linebackers coach Richard Smith (middle) and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley (right).
A majority of the Chargers' coaching staff returns for the 2019 season, including defensive line coach Giff Smith (left), linebackers coach Richard Smith (middle) and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley (right).

General Manager Tom Telesco was a guest on a minicamp edition of Chargers Weekly, the official podcast of the team.

In addition to answering fan questions on Thursday, Telesco sat down to discuss a variety of topics including offseason workouts, rebounding from last season’s playoff loss in New England, Los Angeles’ coaching staff, and more. Chargers radio analyst Daniel Jeremiah also joined the podcast from the team’s mandatory minicamp.

Highlights from the conversation with Telesco are below:

Evaluation of young players to take place in training camp (2:10 mark)

When asked about the Chargers’ rookies, Telesco said progress is slow during the offseason because there is so much to digest. He explained this past month has largely been spent learning:

“Yes, a lot is thrown at them this time of the year and their heads are spinning. This is a lot for them. It’s a new environment, new coaching staff, new schemes, new language, new places to live. I mean, there’s a lot of new things going on for the young players. So, it takes time and this is why you try not to make evaluations of young players based off offseason practices or minicamps because a lot of them are still learning what to do and you can’t play fast and play confident if you don’t know what to do yet, and a lot of them just don’t. I mean, they’re studying, they’re working, but it takes time, it takes repetition.

“So, once we get to training camp, that’s when you can start doing a little bit more evaluation. They’ve had some time to learn it. Obviously, they don’t know it as well as they will next year at this time, but that’s when you can start seeing some guys – if they can cut it or not.”

Using last year’s playoff loss as motivation (5:20 mark)

The Chargers’ 2018 season ended with a 41-28 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round. All 32 clubs start anew in 2019, but Telesco said he doesn’t want his team to forget what happened last January in Foxborough:

_“We have to see what went wrong last year and we have to fix it and part of that, like you said, that loss – I mean, that has to drive you for the next season. The wins and losses, they don’t carry over, but the culture does and, like I said, you can really take what happened in that game and drive and fuel you for your next season and that’s what we have to do. So, we can say, ‘Let’s put last year behind us’ with the 12 wins – and yes, we do – but we’re not going to forget about how it ended either.” _

Get an up-close look at some of the top practice photos as the team takes the field for the final day of minicamp.

Coaching staff continuity (12:00 mark)

In addition to the head coach and all three coordinators, a majority of the Chargers’ coaching staff has returned for the 2019 season. Telesco explained the importance the organization has placed on investing in the right people:

“A lot of that is because of [Controlling Owner and Chairman of the Board] Dean Spanos, [President of Football Operations] John Spanos – they give us the resources to keep these guys here. So, that’s a big, big part of it. I mean, it’s a competitive league. There’s no salary cap on coaches. So, they’ve put a heavy investment in the coaching staff, and we think it’s important and we think we have the right guys, and I love this group of coaches. They’re great to work with. They’re good talent evaluators, but they’re great teachers and communicators and they work with people well. … These players are coming in from college. It’s a pretty big jump for them and a lot of it’s going to have to be teaching. And coaches – coaches are teachers. They spend more of their day downstairs in a meeting room with players lined up with their notebooks and pens and a screen, and they’re teaching like a teacher would in a school.”

Listen to the entire interview on Chargers Weekly, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, and the official Chargers app. A five-star rating/review is appreciated and will help spread the word to other fans this offseason.

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