Dean Spanos stepped up to the microphone in front of a San Diego Chargers backdrop to introduce the team's new general manager on Wednesday, Tom Telesco. Spanos said that all of the candidates were extremely qualified, that he believes they will all make good general managers one day and that the decision was a tough one, but he chose Telesco because he knows how to build a winning football team.
Telesco spent the last 15 years with the Indianapolis Colts, starting as a scout and working his way up to Vice President of Football Operations. The 40-year-old GM (who looks more like he's 25) took his place in front of the podium to address the San Diego media for the first time, sharing his basic philosophy on how to build a winning team and what the next steps are.
"Our goal here is to create a culture and foundation of consistent winning," Telesco said. "We want to win on the field and we want to win off of it too."
Telesco stressed the importance of having one vision from ownership down to the coaches and players, and to work together to make that vision a reality.
Telesco mentioned on more than one occasion that he was not in the position to make any specific comments on personnel, as he was working hard with the Colts organization until he was offered the job. He said that he has an outsider's view of the Chargers and he didn't want to get too specific until he knows the roster and coaches better. He did, however, mention that the Chargers will be a draft-driven organization, saying that "we're going to be home-grown."
Telesco mentioned that, due to the fact that teams get to prepare for the NFL draft for over a year and go to the combine, pro days and other pre-draft events, you get a much better idea of the kind of player that you'll be bringing to a team than when you sign a free agent. He also mentioned that a drafted player gets to grow in a new system, while a free agent has to adjust. Telesco did say that they will use free agency when appropriate to fill holes in the roster, but the main focus will be the draft.
For now, though, the first order of business is to find a new head coach. Telesco said he has a list of possible candidates, but he didn't want to get into them during the press conference. Telesco mentioned that when it comes to a head coach, he's looking for a teacher and a coach that can communicate not only with the players, but with the fans, media and front office. He's basically looking for a CEO. He also said that he wasn't necessarily looking for people who had a ton of head coaching, experience and that he won't care whether or not the new head coach is from the offensive or defensive side of the ball.
When he was asked about Bruce Arians, Telesco said that they just got done playing the Ravens in a playoff game and there has been no discussions with him about anything that wasn't based around the Colts.
Telesco didn't make any major statements that were unexpected, and is currently keeping his cards fairly close to his chest. He said that he plans to stay in San Diego to get to work immediately on the head coaching decision and to get to know the team better.