President of Football Operations John Spanos sat down for a one-on-one interview with Chargers.com. Below is a transcript of what he had to say about the state of the Bolts.
Question: How disappointed are you by this 4-12 season?
Spanos: "Obviously, we're incredibly disappointed. We set high expectations for ourselves and we didn't meet those expectations this year. I can tell you everyone in our building is disappointed. There were a lot of good things about this year, but certainly our record wouldn't indicate that. That's something that we got to work really hard to improve."
Question: What has the evaluation process been like for you?
Spanos: "The evaluation process is something that started before the final whistle in Denver. Obviously, I think every year you have to do a very thorough and comprehensive review (and) evaluation no matter if you're winning or not. You have to do this review and this evaluation. We need to look at everything from top to bottom starting with myself all the way down. What can we do better? Where did we fail? So it's been a very comprehensive, very thorough review."
Question: After this 4-12 campaign, you'll continue forward with the same leadership group in you, Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy. Talk about continuing forward with Mike McCoy at head coach?
Spanos: "Continuity is very important and when you look at Mike McCoy as a head coach, he has a lot of great traits to be an outstanding head coach in this league. It's something that we looked at very closely. We make sure not to make knee-jerk reactions to just one season. You have to look at the whole picture. Mike McCoy is a coach who in his three years here has had more winning seasons than not, he's taken us to the playoffs, he's won in the playoffs and those are very hard things to do. He'd be the first to tell you we as a group didn't get it done this year. But obviously, like we touched on in that review, we feel confident that we can do those things, and he can do those things, to get us back to the playoffs and get us winning in the playoffs again. At the end of the day, we just want exactly what the fans want, and that's to win. After looking at everything extensively, we feel very confident that we can win, and we will win."
Question: The Bolts let go of a number of coaches today, mostly from the offensive side of the ball. What was behind making that change?
Spanos: "First of all, every coach that was here last year, I can't say enough about their dedication, their hard work, and certainly from an organization, we want to thank them for everything (they) did. These decisions are never easy, and there are some good coaches that we were forced to make changes with to try to make ourselves better. But I think when you look offensively last year, and in this league to be successful, you have to have balance. You have to be able to run the ball (and) you can't commit turnovers. There were a lot of factors that went into those things, not just to say certainly there was any one person or one coach or one aspect involved. There were a lot. But offensively, certainly that's the glaring thing. We need to run the ball better."
Question: What kind of coach will you look to fill not only the Offensive Coordinator position, but all the assistant coaches' positions as well?
Spanos: "Coaching in this league is not easy. There are a lot of traits that go into the making of a great coach. I think one of them is having energy. Being able to develop young players, and really the unique ability of getting the most out of that player. Whether it's a young player, whether it's a veteran; whatever it is. Great coaches have the ability to get the most out of their players."
Question: How does this process work moving forward and who will be involved?
Spanos: "It's already begun. Obviously Mike McCoy has a big say in building his staff. Mike, Tom and myself will get together and proceed. There's a lot of coaching staffs (where) things are shaking out right now so it's a little yet to be seen on who's going to be available, but the process has already begun."
Question: What was your biggest disappointment in 2015?
Spanos: "Obviously our record. We live and work in the ultimate results driven industry. And our record this year simply wasn't good enough. The biggest disappointment to me would be that finishing record. Now, you can look at each game and say, 'Gosh, we had eight or nine games by one score. One play here or there and just like that we'd have a winning record.' But at the end of the day, you are what your record says you are."
Question: The other big issue all year long has been the injuries. How do you fix that going forward so it doesn't happen like it has the past two seasons?
Spanos: "It's something that we've looked a lot at. It's obviously something we're going to continue to look at because it is very important. I don't think I've ever seen a year like this. We had something like 18 guys on IR. Obviously you saw the number of injuries (we had in) games. We had to play a wide receiver at safety one game. (There were) some things I've never seen before. So, it's very important. It's something we take very seriously. We've done some studies, we've taken preventative measures in the past and we're going to continue to look at it and continue to study it. We're going to do everything we can to increase our odds of staying healthy."
Question: A 4-12 season leaves a bad feeling in everybody's mouth inside the building and outside. What gives you confidence that this organization can turn things around moving forward?
Spanos: "Well, that's a great question because I think historically when you have a team go 4-12, it might be hard to sort of find the silver lining. To sort of find reasons for optimism. But in doing our evaluation and looking at our team where we are right now, there's a lot to be excited about. There really is. And I know it's hard to see that right now because when you go 4-12, no one's happy about it. It's a terrible feeling. But look at the pieces that we have in place, and let's start with the players; number 17's as special as they come at quarterback. We've got a lot of key pieces. You look at Keenan Allen on offense, in terms of a weapon for Philip. On defense, so many young players have emerged this year whether it's Jason Verrett, Denzel Perryman and obviously a lot of guys. Manti Te'o (and) even a guy like Jahleel Addae who continued to improve throughout the year. Guys like Corey Liuget along the defensive line. Now, we've got to stay healthy and those guys need to continue to keep improving, but there's a lot to be excited about from a personnel standpoint. I think when you look at this offseason, we have a tremendous opportunity. We're picking third in the draft. And it's not just in the first round, but we're picking early in every round. And that's a big benefit as well. I think financially cap-wise, we have some room in free agency so I think we're set up pretty well. And again, 4-12 is not where you want to be starting from, but when you look at the pieces and the things that we have in place, I believe with Tom and Mike's leadership, we sat down (and) spent a lot of time recently in developing a plan. I really feel confident in our plan to get this thing turned around."