AFC West: Bill Polian

One of the reasons why the Oakland Raiders signed Charles Woodson at the age of 36 is to be a mentor to their large group of young defensive players.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen told me as much earlier in training camp.

In a conference call with reporters, former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said leadership is a huge reason why aging stars like Woodson are brought to young teams like Oakland.

“[Mentoring] is clearly the role Charles can play because he's been such a great player over time and such a great leader and a great person,” Polian said. “I'm sure that's what the organization knows for sure he can bring. What he can give you as a player is almost a bonus in that situation when you're in this kind of a rebuilding mode.”

Polian equated Woodson's signing to the time he brought defensive end Art Still to Buffalo in 1988 after Still had played in Kansas City for 10 years.

“I was able to see what value Art brought, and we brought him in at the very tail end of his career in Buffalo to be in essence a role model for all of those other young players to say here's a guy who's been an All-Pro, who's a really great player, who still has a little bit left, but he knows he's approaching the end, and he will give you -- just follow him,” Polian said. “Just do what he does, and you'll learn how to become a winner in the National Football League.“
Give the San Diego Chargers credit. They were forced into a bad situation, and they answered it by securing arguably the best player remaining on the free-agent market.

Pushed into a corner, rookie San Diego general manager Tom Telesco responded with his highest-profile acquisition of the offseason by signing pass-rusher Dwight Freeney on Saturday. Freeney agreed to a two-year contract, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder. Telesco was in Indianapolis' front office when Freeney played for the Colts from 2002 to 2012.

Their reunion had little chance of occurring until 2012 San Diego first-round draft pick Melvin Ingram tore his ACL in noncontact OTAs on Tuesday. It was a crushing blow. Not only did the Chargers think Ingram was ready to dominate but he was their top pass-rushing option after the free-agent departures of Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes.

[+] EnlargeDwight Freeney
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports At 33 years old, can Dwight Freeney give San Diego's pass rush steady production?
San Diego has a young, exciting defense, but the Ingram injury left a glaring hole. No NFL defense can truly succeed without a legitimate pass rush. There were no better pass-rushing options available than Freeney.

Yes, he is aging at 33 and he has just 13 of his 107.5 career sacks in the past two years. There is no doubt that Freeney, who is known for having one of the best spin moves in the history of the game, is near the end. But this pairing makes sense simply out of desperation. The Chargers weren’t going to find a better replacement for Ingram than Freeney, and Freeney was not going to get a better situation than San Diego. There were few places Freeney would have had a bigger role.

There are questions of whether Freeney is an ideal fit for the Chargers’ 3-4 defense. He played in it last season in Indianapolis and wasn’t as strong of a fit as he was in the 4-3.

I don’t think it is going to be an issue, however. San Diego coach Mike McCoy told Werder that the team would adjust to Freeney. That doesn’t mean the Chargers (whose defensive coordinator is John Pagano -- the brother of Chuck Pagano, who was Freeney’s coach in Indianapolis last year) are going to totally scrap the 3-4 for a 33-year-old player. It means that the Chargers are multiple in their pass-defense looks and that Freeney could line up often in his customary 4-3 defensive end position.

In short, the Chargers will put Freeney in his comfort level. Many think he will succeed in San Diego.

“I like it, and I do think he has something left,” ESPN NFL Insider Matt Williamson said. “The Chargers are not a super strict 3-4, and Freeney did show that he can still be disruptive last year. … I wouldn’t give him all the snaps, but he certainly should be useful.”

ESPN analyst and former Indianapolis general manager Bill Polian told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen this: "There's no question he can fit with that scheme. There are no strict 3-4 defenses, or not many. … You take Dwight, you get his hand on the ground and play him for 30 to 40 snaps, let him get after the quarterback."

One of the quarterbacks Freeney will be going after twice a season is close friend Peyton Manning. The two were longtime teammates with the Colts. Manning tried to recruit Freeney to Denver this offseason after Elvis Dumervil departed to Baltimore. Denver was considered the front-runner for Freeney, but the two sides couldn’t come to a financial accord. Somewhat ironically, Denver signed Phillips from San Diego instead. Had Freeney ended up in Denver, it likely would have been Phillips who would have replaced Ingram. USA Today reported that Denver had late talks with Freeney, but I suspect those were more cursory just to gauge whether it could steal him at the last moment.

In the end, I’m not sure whether the Chargers are better than they were before Ingram’s injury. They spent more money than expected, especially with a hole remaining at left tackle. The team is still talking to Max Starks, and the Chargers will get some cap relief June 1 as part of the Jared Gaither cut.

But the Ingram injury and Freeney signing are prime examples of the always-changing NFL world. The Chargers were put in an emergency situation. I don’t think they could have responded better than securing a potential Hall of Famer as a solution.
TelescoBrian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports"Its my job to know the league," said GM Tom Telesco. "... It's my job to study rosters every day."

When Tom Telesco received an interview for the San Diego Chargers’ vacant general manager post in January, it was considered a terrific opportunity in the career of promising young front-office man.

Telesco wasn’t considered a sure bet to be hired to pump life into a stale franchise after the 10-year A.J. Smith era. But Telesco took control of his future and essentially stole the job.

It was well known that the Chargers were focused on removing Smith and head coach Norv Turner. Longtime personnel man Jimmy Raye was widely considered as a slam-dunk to be promoted. The Chargers were fine with the front office as a whole. They figured Smith’s time with the team had run its course and that the bigger issue was finding a replacement for Turner.

Then, Telesco interviewed. Everything changed. Telesco opened the Chargers’ minds. Perhaps an outside voice to lead the front office was exactly what the team needed. And in a big upset, the Chargers named the 40-year-old Indianapolis front-office man to replace Smith.

The surprise hiring was met with applause from around the league. Telesco was a career front-office man and a protégé of former Colts general manager Bill Polian. Telesco was known for a keen scouting eye and was credited with helping turn the Colts back into a playoff team by restocking the roster.

“Tom has that no-stone-unturned mindset,” said Ryan Grigson, his boss in Indianapolis last year. “Tom never stops working. That's what the Chargers are going to appreciate. If I asked Tom if this guy could play or not, an hour later I was getting a text from him or he was knocking on my door, giving me a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Tom is a bright, bright, bright guy with a great work ethic.”

[+] EnlargeSan Diego's D.J. Fluker, Manti Te'o and Keenan Allen
AP Photo/Denis PoroyESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay praised Tom Telesco's first draft with the Chargers.
Ownership was reportedly blown away by Telesco's knowledge of the Chargers' roster during his interview. The Spanos family was stunned by his vision for the team moving forward.

I asked Telesco about that, and he brushed it off.

“It’s my job to know the league,” said Telesco, polite as always. “I have to know that stuff. It’s my job to study rosters every day.”

Polian, now an ESPN analyst, wasn’t surprised that Telesco impressed the Chargers. Telesco first joined the NFL with Carolina in 1995 when Polian ran the Panthers. He followed Polian to Indianapolis in 1998.

“Tom knows the league, he does what it takes to be good at his job,” Polian said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s level-headed. He’s a great judge of talent. … He will be great in San Diego.”

His first offseason in San Diego has been positive. He received kudos for tabbing heavily sought-after Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to coach the team. Chargers employees tout Telesco, who played receiver at noted NFL coaching and front-office factory John Carroll University in Ohio, as friendly. They say he has re-energized a building that lacked excitement at the end of the Smith era.

Most league observers believe the Chargers, who have gone three seasons without making the playoffs, had one of the best drafts in the NFL. The Chargers scored big in the first three rounds with the selections of Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker (first round), Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (second) and California receiver Keenan Allen (third). ESPN analysts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper both said during the draft that Telesco got three first-round picks with his first three choices. Telesco aggressively went after Te’o, who was falling, and traded up on the clock to take him.

Telesco was less aggressive in free agency. The cap-strapped Chargers were active, but they didn’t make many splashes. They did get several players who should help right away, starting with cornerback Derek Cox, guard Chad Rinehart and running back Danny Woodhead.

San Diego has not sufficiently addressed its biggest need yet: left tackle. Free-agent signing King Dunlap is currently expected to start there even though he is not considered a solid option. The team is also talking to Pittsburgh free agent Max Starks. In Telesco’s defense, the Chargers never really had a great chance of adding a top option at the position because of cap issues and because the top three draft options were gone after the first four picks of the draft.

Regardless of whether the Chargers enter Telesco’s first season a finished project, he promises to continue to approach the job his way.

“(I) come into work every day trying to find the best players we can,” Telesco said. “Part of building chemistry with the team and the team process is getting to know the coaches well, getting to know the scouts, the front office. That's all part of team building for me. It's just trying to get to know everybody really well.”
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

With the draft in the rearview mirror, what is the most pressing issue on each AFC West team’s agenda?

Denver Broncos: The Broncos had a good free-agency period and they had a good draft. They made a good team better. There is no doubt this team thinks it is ready to make a serious run in 2013. So now it’s time to find some chemistry. Quarterback Peyton Manning, entering his second season with the team, recently talked about the importance of getting on the same page with his receivers. Manning said it often takes four years to totally be in sync with the players on the other end of his passes. Manning not only has to continue to strengthen his connection with incumbent receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker but also with a new weapon, Wes Welker, one of the free-agent prizes in the NFL this offseason. The group worked together on its own last month and is in the midst of the Broncos’ offseason program. Manning had great success with Thomas and Decker last season, and I’m sure he will work well with Welker, too. The passing game will be the key to whether Denver can be a Super Bowl team, so building a special chemistry is the team’s most pressing issue as Denver inches toward the 2013 season.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have to get the Branden Albert situation settled. They talked to the Miami Dolphins about a deal for several weeks prior to the draft. It was never completed. Neither has closed the door on a trade, but the odds are good that Albert will stay in Kansas City -- although it's not totally out of the question that some other team gets into the picture. I think the Chiefs need to get Albert prepared to play in Kansas City. He wants a long-term deal, and if he doesn’t get one, he might pout. He has stayed away from voluntary workouts but said he will be with the team when mandatory sessions start. The team would still like to give Albert an extension after taking Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher with the No. 1 overall pick. Albert must realize that if he has a good season in Kansas City, it will increase his value in free agency next year if a long-term deal is not signed. This situation could be awkward, but both the Chiefs and Albert need each other for at least a year -- and they must all do it with a smile.

Oakland Raiders: It’s time for the Raiders to figure out their defense, where they might have as many as nine new starters -- a mind-blowing reality. It seems only defensive lineman Lamarr Houston and safety Tyvon Branch are safe. Second-year linebacker Miles Burris will have a role, but he will have to fight for a starting slot. Oakland must use upcoming organized team activities to build chemistry and explore which players are suited to which roles. Oakland could stay in a 4-3 base but also should utilize multiple looks and will likely see some 3-4 hybrid looks. Head coach Dennis Allen and his staff have to see these players on the field to figure out the right sets for the right players. Oakland is essentially starting with a blank canvas on defense -- exciting, unusual and scary all at once.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers have a potentially strong group of young receivers. The once-weak area can become a strength not only for the immediate future, but for the long term. It’s time the Chargers figure out an attack utilizing Vincent Brown, Danario Alexander and rookie Keenan Allen, who could quickly become the centerpiece. Allen, a California product, was expected to be a top-30 pick, but a manageable knee issue dropped him all the way to the third round, where San Diego took him 76th overall. Former Indianapolis Colts general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said Allen could have a Reggie Wayne-like impact. Brown had a strong rookie season in 2011 and a great training camp before a broken ankle in the preseason ended his 2012 campaign. He is now completely healthy. Alexander starred after the Chargers signed him off the street during last season. These three players can be major toys for quarterback Philip Rivers. Figuring out how to get the most out of this trio must be a primary goal for new coach Mike McCoy, who proved in Carolina and Denver that he can have successful passing games.
Tom Telesco worked under Bill Polian for years.

Polian, now an ESPN analyst, kept close tabs on Telesco’s first draft as the general manager of the San Diego Chargers.

Te'o
Polian applauded the most talked about choice of Telesco’s -- the selection of Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o.

Polian was a big fan of Te’o before details of the hoax involving a fake dead girlfriend emerged in January. After the hoax, Polian has supported Te’o as a player and as a person. Polian said if he were still running an NFL team, he would have done the same thing Telesco did. He moved up from No. 45 in a trade with Arizona (the Chargers surrendered a fourth-round pick to move up seven slots) and took Te’o.

“Yes, I would have done the same thing,” Polian said. “He’s a good player.”

Te’o said he thinks the San Diego-Te’o pairing is a good fit in all aspects. Most importantly, he thinks the team will put Te’o in the right spot scheme-wise to succeed. The Chargers plan on using Te’o as a weakside inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

Polian said Te’o’s weakness heading into the NFL is taking on blocks. In his position he will not have to take on huge guards.

“Manti will be put in position to do what he does best and that's diagnosing plays, which he is very good and using his quickness,” Polian said. “If I were the Chargers I wouldn’t have any qualms about this pick.”

Cartoon pokes fun at Manti Te'o

April, 30, 2013
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A cartoonist at the U-T San Diego is having a little fun in welcoming Manti Te’o to town.

The San Diego Chargers took the polarizing Notre Dame linebacker in the second round of the draft. Te’o was involved in a bizarre hoax that centered on a dead girlfriend who never existed.

My advice to Te’o: Grin and bear it. It will go away at some point.

In other AFC West notes:

In an Insider piece, ESPN analyst Bill Polian likes the addition of running back Montee Ball in Denver. He was the team’s second-round pick.

Former Oakland assistant coach Randy Hanson was convicted of felony battery stemming from a assault last summer. Hanson is most remembered for accusing former Oakland coach Tom Cable of choking him during a training camp meeting four years ago. Charges were never field against Cable.

In an Insider piece, Todd McShay looks at his favorite and least favorite drafts picks for AFC West team.
Tom Telesco is known for his eye for talent.

The new San Diego Chargers’ general manager did not showcase that ability much during free agency as the Chargers added several low-profile players because of salary-cap concerns. The Chargers got some nice pieces, but there were not any big splashes.

San Diego splashed like the Pacific Ocean on Friday night. After the Chargers traded up to take Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in the second round, they then drafted dynamic Cal receiver Keenan Allen in the third.

Allen was considered a major steal. He had an injury last year and a slow performance at the combine. But he was productive and most teams rated him highly.

The Chargers took Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker in the first round. After the Allen choice, ESPN analyst Todd McShay said Telesco scored three first-round talents with his first three choices.

Fellow ESPN analyst Bill Polian was Telesco’s boss in Indianapolis. He said they studied Allen closely and Polian said he and Telesco thought Allen can be a Reggie Wayne-type receiver.

Allen is a major gift to San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. The Chargers badly need skill-position weapons. The receiving crew was lacking since the 2012 departure Vincent Jackson in free agency.

Now with Allen, Vincent Brown and Danario Alexander, the Chargers have three potential standouts along with the solid Malcom Floyd.

I truly expect Allen to make an impact as a rookie. I think this pick will be remembered as the start of something nice for Telesco's tenure.
Perhaps the Oakland Raiders will have the entire defensive side of the ball at their disposal when the No. 3 over pick rolls around in Thursday night's NFL draft.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the word around the league is left tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are expected to go in the first two picks. Jacksonville had been heavily connected to Oregon pass-rusher Dion Jordan with the No. 2 pick.

If the Jaguars go for a left tackle, it would benefit the Raiders. Oakland has needs all over the field, but I think it needs to look at defense first. Having a chance to pick any defensive player on the board would be beneficial for Oakland.

Both Jordan and Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd would be interesting picks for Oakland. In that case, the Raiders may want to root for the Jaguars to take a left tackle so this scenario unfolds.

In other AFC West notes:

In an Insider piece, former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian thinks the Raiders have the first “pivot point" of the draft trade market Insider with the No. 3 pick. Raiders want to deal it.

In a procedural move, Denver punter Britton Colquitt signed his restricted free-agent tender.
As we await the NFL to release the schedule Thursday (at 8 p.m. ET), here is a look at the 2013 strength of schedule based on last year’s results. The AFC West jas four of the five easiest schedules in the NFL with division champion Denver having the easiest schedule in the league. The reason is because the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers combined for just 13 wins last season.

Also, here is an opponents list for each team in the 2013 season.

In other AFC West notes:

In an Insider piece, former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian explains in detail the pressure the Chiefs are dealing with by having the No.1 overall pick in next month’s draft.

Profootballtalk.com reports the Raiders had a pre-draft visit with Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden. He is considered a top-35 pick. The Raiders would likely only be in play for Hayden if they get a second-round pick.

New San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy talked about the team’s voluntary minicamp practice.

 
Wes Welker Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsDenver is making a free-agency statement by signing receiver Wes Welker to a two-year deal.

At the NFL combine last month, I asked John Elway if the Denver Broncos’ limited Super Bowl window with star quarterback Peyton Manning turning 37 this month would it cause him to try to make a big splash.

Elway, who won his two Super Bowls as the Broncos’ quarterback at the ages of 37 and 38, didn’t brush off the notion. He said it was a possibility and the team had to see how free agency played out.

Well, in the second day of NFL free agency, Elway showed the NFL, once again, he is as powerful in the front office and he was on the field.

In one of the biggest shockers of the NFL offseason, and a move that could shift the power of the AFC, Elway gave Manning a one-year anniversary present in the form of sure thing receiver Wes Welker, formerly of the New England Patriots.

Welker has led the NFL in receiving over the course of the past six seasons. Slot receivers are magnets for Manning. The idea Welker and Manning on the same field is mind boggling.

“This is a great signing for Denver,” ESPN analyst Eric Mangini said on the air shortly after the news broke. “This is a perfect fit.”

Much credit goes to Elway for striking it big once again. Last March, Elway, who inherited a mess of a franchise when he took over the Broncos early in 2011, pulled in Manning last season to make the biggest splash of the NFL offseason.

The follow-up signing of Welker shows the urgency in Denver. The Broncos went 13-3 last season and ended the regular season with an 11-game winning streak. The Broncos, the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, lost to eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore in double overtime in their first playoff game.

This is a move the Broncos think can help push them over the edge and into the Super Bowl. This was a go-for-it-move. Elway knows what it takes to wins Super Bowls and he knows his chance is now.

The fact that the move both strengthens Denver and weakens major conference rival New England is a brilliant stroke. With Baltimore losing key players at startling pace and Tom Brady losing his security blanket, this move puts Denver in a great place.

Financially, Denver seems to have gotten a bargain. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported Welker will sign a two-year, $12 million deal. Denver’s salary cap is in good shape and this move doesn’t mortgage the future. It is a good value and it shouldn’t hurt the Broncos to keep their young players down the road.

Two of those young players are receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Add Welker to this mix, and this is arguably the best group of receivers in the NFL. All three of these players will help each other out.

Thomas and Decker will play on the outside with Welker in the slot. Denver also uses tight ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen often. Last year, Brandon Stokley -- a slot favorite of Manning early in his career with the Colts -- had 45 catches at the age of 36.

“This will give Welker a new lease on life,” ESPN analyst Bill Polian said on the air Wednesday. “Decker and Thomas will stretch the field. Welker hasn’t had that in a while. He had to work in congested areas … Welker will not be surrounded by linebackers anymore.”

This ESPN Stats & Information blog shows the affect Welker has on an offense and KC Joyner thinks the Broncos’ passing game will be unstoppable. In the end, it gives Manning another option.

Elway clearly thinks those options will increase Denver’s chances of winning the Super Bowl. This move was designed for nothing less.
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson reportedly will void his deal and will become a free agent.

Jackson
It is not a great year for running backs in free agency or the draft. Jackson, who will turn 30 in July, had 1,042 yards last season and he can still prove valuable for some team.

Jackson was due $7 million this year, but the Rams likely would have tried to restructure the deal. Jackson will likely command a one-year deal in the $3 million range. Let’s look if he fits in the AFC West:

Denver: Last week, in an Insider piece, Bill Polian made this connection. Insider Denver could use a running back in some form and I can see the fit. Jackson is said to want to play with a winner, so there’s another fit. But I’m not sure Denver would roll with Jackson, Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno along with the young Ronnie Hillman. If Jackson is signed, I’d think McGahee could potentially be expendable.

Kansas City: He’d be a solid big complement to Jamaal Charles. But I’m not sure if the Chiefs’ need here would fit Jackson’s desires as far as playing time, playing for a winner and salary.

Oakland: Jackson excelled under new Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson when he ran the Rams’ offense in 2006-07. Oakland could use a big complement to Darren McFadden. So there are fits here. But can Oakland play Jackson and would he want to go to a team coming off a four-win season?

San Diego: I like this fit. The West Coast native would be a nice pairing with Ryan Mathews and this offense a needed veteran presence. But the Chargers have other needs first.

CB-needy Chargers make claim

February, 20, 2013
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Catching up on a travel day:

New San Diego general manager Tom Telesco made a potentially intriguing move Wednesday by claiming cornerback Johnny Patrick off waivers from New Orleans.

Patrick was a third-round pick in 2011 and he is just 24. Talented cornerbacks are always worth taking a flier on. It is especially intriguing in San Diego because the Chargers need depth at the position. Starting cornerbacks Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are both free agents. At least one of the two is expected to sign elsewhere. So, giving Patrick a chance may be worthwhile.

In other AFC West news:

Free-agent pass-rusher Dwight Freeney told ProFootballtalk.com that former Colts teammate and current Denver quarterback Peyton Manning has begun to try to recruit him to the Broncos. Freeney, though, said he thinks the Broncos might be set with pass-rushers with standouts Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Still, I think if Freeney, 32, doesn’t get an opportunity to be a primary pass-rusher, Denver could be interested in him as a rotational pass-rusher.

In an Insider piece, ESPN analyst Bill Polian takes a look at some of the biggest needs for each AFC West team.Insider

Former Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli has joined SiriusXM NFL Radio as an analyst.
ESPN's John Clayton thinks the Denver Broncos have the best chance of getting to next year’s Super Bowl.

One of the reasons Clayton is so high on the Broncos is that they have the easiest schedule in the NFL next season based on the 2012 records of their opponents.

Why does Denver have such an easy schedule? Its three AFC West opponents won a combined 13 games last season.

In other AFC West news:

Former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian stacks the 2013 free agents in a way only an experienced GM can. Check it out. Fascinating stuff.

Meet Tom Telesco

January, 9, 2013
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New gig: Telesco is the new general manager of the San Diego Chargers.

Age: 40

Previous job: Telesco was the Indianapolis Colts vice president of football operations in 2012 and he spent 15 seasons with the organization. Telesco served as director of player personnel (2006-11), director of pro scouting (2004-05), pro scout (2001-03) and area scout (1998-2000) in Indianapolis. He also worked for Buffalo and Carolina.

Playing career: He was a receiver at John Carroll University.

Known for: A smart, organized front-office worker who has a lot of NFL experience.

Reasons to be excited: Telesco helped with the Colts’ quick turnaround this year and he has worked for Bill Polian, who has been one of the past generation's most respected general managers. He has an eye for talent and he knows what it takes to build a team.

Reasons to be worried: There isn’t much to worry about other than the normal concerns when someone is promoted. Can he handle the task? We will see.

What they said: “Tom Telesco has played a crucial role in our successes since he joined the Colts in 1998. His talent and character also have been apparent to other clubs throughout the league. Despite our efforts to persuade Tom to stay it was only a matter of time before another club snared him to be its general manager. I appreciate everything he has done for the horseshoe and have no doubt he will be successful for years to come. Everyone in the Colts organization wishes Tom nothing but the best.”

Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay in a team statement.

Schefter: Chiefs mulling big change

December, 30, 2012
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that he expects the Kansas City Chiefs to fire coach Romeo Crennel.

As for general manager Scott Pioli, Schefter reports the Chiefs -- mired in a miserable 2-13 season -- are leaning toward firing Pioli.

If I had to guess, I’d say both Crennel and Pioli are going to be fired. They are a package deal. I think if the Hunt family had its druthers, it would give both men another chance. But the fan fury is so great in Kansas City, I think the Hunts will be compelled to make a move.

I don’t think firing one of the two and keeping the other will work.

Pioli has hired two coaches -- Todd Haley and Crennel -- since joining the Chiefs in 2009. I don’t necessarily think he will get a chance to hire a third. If that is what is the case, I think the Chiefs will likely make a clean sweep and hire a new general manager (Bill Polian, anyone?) first and then a head coach.

We shall soon see. I don’t think the Hunts will wait long before making a decision.

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