- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Now, that the San Diego Chargers have hired former Indianapolis executive Tom Telesco to take over as general manager, the search is fully focused on finding the team’s new head coach.
The plan is to make a hire by the end of next week. The Chargers, who fired general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner on Dec. 31, have started the coaching search, but Telesco takes over.
There have been several names connected to the job including former Chicago coach Lovie Smith, Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, UCLA coach Jim Mora and former Seattle and Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren.
I think Smith and Arians may be the favorites of that group, although anything could happen.
Two more names could be part of the team’s list as well. Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden could interest the team. Telesco played at John Carroll University with San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer could also be part of the process.
While the Chargers’ immediate ends are on offense, Telesco has worked in programs that have been led by both offensive and defensive-minded head coach.
Arians has long been considered a favorite for this job. the fact that he and Telesco were key parts of the team’s wonderful turnaround likely won’t hurt his chances. But I’m not sure if it increases the chances of Arians being hired because I think Telesco will be open minded.
Telesco is also connected to Smith in a round-about way. Telesco was with the Colts when Tony Dungy coached there. Smith is part of Dungy’s coaching tree. Overall, I think everything is one the table for San Diego as it fully concentrating on replacing Turner now that Telesco is in place.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Arians will tentively is set to interview with the Chargers on Monday.
2dEric D. Williams