Wednesday, January 9, 2013
In GM hire, Chargers opt for new ideas
By Bill Williamson
This is not a knock on Jimmy Raye, the Chargers' director of player personnel.
By all accounts, he has been a terrific employee for the Chargers over the past 17 years and he has all the makings of a fine general manager. With that said, the San Diego Chargers made the right call by bypassing Raye in favor of Indianapolis executive Tom Telesco for their vacant GM job.
The Chargers badly need an influx of outside perspective.
Had Raye been hired (he was considered the heavy favorite), the front office would have largely remained the same outside of the firing of A.J. Smith, who was let go last week after nearly 10 years on the job. The Chargers needed to do more than just moving away from Smith in the front office.
They need a new set of eyes. They need a new philosophy.
I salute them for making this hire. Prior to the search, it was considered nearly a foregone conclusion that Raye would be promoted.
But the search committee, which included former Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf, did an excellent job of talking to several outside candidates. From what I understand, Telesco blew the committee away. He was prepared and he had plenty of ideas.
Plus, he already has skins on the wall. Telesco has been credited for helping the Colts turnaround their roster this season.
Like the front office, the Chargers’ roster has gotten stale. With new ideas and experience from another franchise, Telesco can breathe new life into this program.
San Diego owner Dean Spanos told reporters Wednesday that Telesco will run the search for a new head coach, which now begins in earnest. I get the sense the Chargers hired Telesco because they trust he can add something to the program it didn’t have.
I’m not sure ownership believed it was going to find someone so impressive.
The Chargers need Telesco’s eye for talent right away. When he was fired, former coach Norv Turner said he didn’t think the Chargers had the most talented roster in the AFC West for the past three seasons (San Diego didn’t make the playoffs all three years). Turner also said San Diego fans should lean more toward being surprised if the Chargers make the playoffs next year rather than expecting it.
Turner is right. This roster has holes, especially on offense. Quarterback Philip Rivers needs help at nearly every position. Defensively, San Diego is stout. But Telesco needs to score in free agency and in the draft.
He also has to find a strong coach. We will be back with thoughts on that search later. But this is a fine start in San Diego. Telesco’s hiring is the front step in re-energizing this organization.