Tom Telesco Delves into the Bolts' Offseason Plans, the AAF and More

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Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco made the rounds on the radio recently, appearing on both “Petros & Money” and “Hardwick and Richards” this week.

With the offseason in full swing, Telesco touched on a wide variety of topics on both shows including the Alliance of American Football (AAF), free agency, what he looks for when scouting quarterbacks and more.

“It’s a league that we will certainly scout.”

NFL football may be over, but gridiron Sundays remain thanks to AAF games. Telesco said he and his family are watching the games as he appreciates them from both the standpoint of a casual fan and also as a general manager. While the AAF isn’t technically a developmental league, Telesco said he likes the fact that it gives players opportunities to continue to hone their craft. He also discussed how the Bolts front office will keep their eyes on AAF players just like they scout Arena and CFL talent:    

“It’s very viable from a developmental standpoint for players who are trying to get back into this league. I think it’s very good for that; they get a chance to get paid to still play football and continue to learn their craft and get some great coaching…. I also think it’s a great spot for development of coaches and front office personnel and even for athletic trainers, equipment men and even public relations; everything that touches a football team on a daily basis is a place they can go and work and get hands on experience…. As far as the Chargers are concerned, it’s a league that we will certainly scout. Our guys will get out to different games and look at the tape…. They put a good group of staffs together; head coaches and GMs in that league, they all have NFL experience. And a lot of the front office workings and the people they hire, they know what they’re doing. It’s hard to put a league together from scratch, but to do it as quickly as they did, it was impressive.”

How Joey Bosa Made His Mark on the Bolts at the Combine

According to Telesco, the Combine drills that we all see on TV rank as the least important piece of the puzzle the team gets on each player in Indianapolis. Instead, things like medical evaluations and interviews are a premium for him and his club. That being said, Telesco mentioned the fact that televising the on-field drills forces players to compete harder, and that competitive nature shows. Just ask him about a guy that stood out only three seasons ago:

“A lot of the stuff at the Combine that’s really important to us, you don’t even see. (Like) the medical evaluations, which everybody does, the psychological evaluations (and) all the interviews. That stuff is really important…obviously, the measurables and time data we receive, that’s important. The on-field workouts, if you had to rank everything, that’d be towards the bottom. As far as running around the field around cones without pads or helmets on…. (But) I think players want to get out there and compete. That’s one benefit of having every minute and every hour of the Combine shown on NFL Network…. The one thing I loved about Joey Bosa at the Combine, was he did every drill that was asked of him and he did them hard. He did them with a competitive mindset. Watching him work at the combine, he took it like it was a game, and that meant a lot to us when we were scouting him.”

Why Quarterback is the Hardest Position to Evaluate…

Every year, Telesco gets asked if the Chargers will take a quarterback. And every year, he gives the same answer: it’s always a possibility. With that said, on both radio shows this week, he explained that once again, the team is doing their homework on signal callers. However, he went more in-depth about what he and his staff look for in a QB, and why it’s the most difficult position to assess:  

“That’s a position you have to scout a little differently. There’s a lot of work on the quarterbacks from the neck up that requires a lot of time and patience to do, but it’s all the work we’ll do…. Most of it is really intangible-based. Accuracy is up there with physical traits, but a lot of it is intangibles. You’re the leader of the team. It’s about character, preparation and leadership from that position. There are the physical aspects that go along with it too, but it’s so much more than being big, strong, and having a rocket arm…. It’s a difficult position to scout. It’s a difficult position to play. It’s why quarterbacks are the highest-paid players in our league. There’s a lot that goes into it, and they’re hard to find.”  

What the Front Office is Working on Now…

Working in an NFL front office is a year-round job; however, Telesco discussed how with free agency opening in four weeks, he and his staff are busy mapping out their plan of attack come March 13.  In addition to potentially signing new Chargers, the team also focuses on taking care of their own. Ever since Telesco took the GM reins in 2013, he’s stressed drafting, developing and re-signing players as the team’s mantra:

“This month for us is a heavy planning period and really heavy getting into the nuts and bolts of free agency as far as what players will become free agents on the first day of the league year, which is the second week in March. There are still a handful of players who were released during the year who are available now. But a bulk of them will be available in mid-March, and that’s what we’re working on right now; meeting on that, trying to narrow things down, trying to see what players fit for us and who does not, and then what fits under the salary cap as well…. We have a little bit of room, but we also have a lot of our own players who we’d like to re-sign, and on top of that, maybe (give) some extensions for players who are here whose (contracts) aren’t up this year. So, there’s a lot of work that has to be done in the months of February and March that isn’t even draft-related but is still really important to do.”

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