- Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN DIEGO -- He's stayed mostly in the background during the regular season, but San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco talked with XTRA Sports 1360 radio this week about the direction of the team in his first season.
Telesco says he's disappointed with San Diego's 4-6 record, but believes the team is making progress.
“Obviously at 4-3 at the bye week I was much more encouraged then,” Telesco said. “I'm a little disappointed now at 4-6 -- disappointed but not discouraged because we're seeing progress here on both sides of the ball.”
Telesco points to the offense's ability to consistently move the ball through the air and on the ground as evidence of that progress, but says the Chargers have to improve on execution in the red zone.
Defensively, Telesco said San Diego has been solid in the most important statistic -- points allowed. San Diego is giving up just 22.2 points a contest, No. 11 in the league. However, he highlighted the obvious deficiencies on defense, including poor tackling and a lack of turnovers forced.
Telesco was asked to evaluate the performance of his top free-agent addition, cornerback Derek Cox, who has been benched twice for poor play this season.
“I think as a whole we need to get consistent really at all three levels -- the front, the linebackers and the secondary,” Telesco said. “And I can tell you with Derek that he's a true pro. And he was out here at practice working after practice. He works in the weight room and the meeting room putting everything into it. And these guys will keep working, and Derek will keep working. We're still expecting better things to come.”
Telesco also said that he believes that linebacker Manti Te'o is on track in terms of his progression.
“He has a high ceiling,” Telesco said. “And we're going to see it in years to come.”
In regards to middle linebacker Donald Butler, who becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Telesco said it's the team's policy not to discuss contracts during the year. However, Telesco plans to discuss Butler's future role with the Chargers this offseason before free agency begins.
“When the season ends, we'll get back together with Donald and his representatives and see what we can do,” Telesco said. “But right now our total focus is on Kansas City.”
Telesco also said that although he likes rookie offensive lineman D.J. Fluker's willingness and flexibility to play left tackle, he still believes his best spot is right tackle.
And he gives coach Mike McCoy good marks in his first season.
“Mike's doing a very good job,” Telesco said. “We're very happy with what Mike's done. He came in here, and this offense was really humming. And it's still humming right now. If our biggest problem on offense is scoring touchdowns in the red zone, that's something we can work on during practice on the practice field.
“We've got the offense going. Mike himself and the coaching staff are developing young players, and holding players accountable. I can't say enough about the job he's done to this point.”
6dEric D. Williams
8dEric D. Williams