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Saturday, January 28, 2023

5 Takeaways from Tom Telesco’s Year-End Press Conference

Perhaps the Chargers top priority right now is beginning the process of finding a new offensive coordinator.

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The Bolts on Tuesday parted ways with Joe Lombardi, who held that role for the past two seasons.

When asked about that search process, Telesco mentioned the same No. 1 quality that Staley did Wednesday.

“”The one thing we always talk about, and it has nothing to do with X’s and O’s, it’s leadership,” Telesco said. “You have to have that as a coach, certainly as a coordinator, because you’re leading that group. That’s the first thing that you look at, leadership.

“Then, the ability to teach and communicate, and those both go together. You’re dealing with a lot of players. Everybody learns differently, so we have to treat them all differently, but being able to really teach the concepts,” Telesco added. “In a simple manner, there’s a lot that goes into it. Those are two things. I like to look at their backgrounds of where they’re from, who they learned from, things like that.”

Telesco, like Staley, also didn’t pigeon hole the offensive coordinator vacancy as one that would go to a coach with loads of experience.

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“Not necessarily,” Telesco said. “I think that we’re going to have a pretty wide scope of what we’re going to look at, then see what it narrows down to after that.”

5. Praise for the rookies

As mentioned above, the 2023 NFL Draft is still three-plus months away.

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But Telesco took some time Thursday to reflect on the Chargers 2022 draft class and the impact that group made on the team.

Telesco praised first-rounder Zion Johnson and also said expectations remain high for third-round safety JT Woods and fourth-round running back Isaiah [Spiller.

“JT and Isaiah, this will be a big offseason for those guys, since they didn’t get as many snaps their rookie year,” Telesco said. “Zion, really happy [with him]. He had his ups and downs like a rookie offensive lineman is going to have.

“I know when we drafted him, I said, ‘You can’t expect him to step in like Rashawn Slater did.’ What Rashawn did is just really uncommon, but Zion give us an edge and a toughness inside,” Telesco continued. “He’s smart. If he makes a mistake, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. I just think he has a really high ceiling. He’s really mature.

“A lot of that stuff that we thought when we drafted him, you don’t know until you see it at this level, and see him out there, but he battled for us,” Telesco added. “I’m really proud of how he played, and I think he has a long way to go.”

Telesco was asked separately about sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer, who ended up starting 15 total games (including the playoffs) after Slater suffered a biceps injury.

Telesco had high praise for the former Georgia standout.

“He saved us this year,” Telesco said.

Telesco added that while Salyer played tackle in college, the team wanted to see him at guard during training camp and the preseason. But when Slater went down, the Bolts moved him back to tackle in order to avoid a complete shuffle along the line.

“Jamaree never flinched. He has great poise and balance, and patience at that position,” Telesco said. “I think a lot of that is because he played it a lot at the college level and played at a pretty high level. He played really efficient football for us at a critical position.

“As you move into next year, as good as Jamaree played, I feel pretty comfortable that Rashawn Slater will be our left tackle, but we’ll figure out what the best role for Jamaree is. It’s a negative when a player gets hurt,” Telesco added. “The one little positive is other players getting an opportunity and now, we know what he can do, rather than thinking he can do something. It will give us some flexibility. Do we see him at a guard or a tackle for next year? I don’t know yet, to be honest with you. I’m not sure.”



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Perhaps the Chargers top priority right now is beginning the process of finding a new offensive coordinator.

The Bolts on Tuesday parted ways with Joe Lombardi, who held that role for the past two seasons.

When asked about that search process, Telesco mentioned the same No. 1 quality that Staley did Wednesday.

“”The one thing we always talk about, and it has nothing to do with X’s and O’s, it’s leadership,” Telesco said. “You have to have that as a coach, certainly as a coordinator, because you’re leading that group. That’s the first thing that you look at, leadership.

“Then, the ability to teach and communicate, and those both go together. You’re dealing with a lot of players. Everybody learns differently, so we have to treat them all differently, but being able to really teach the concepts,” Telesco added. “In a simple manner, there’s a lot that goes into it. Those are two things. I like to look at their backgrounds of where they’re from, who they learned from, things like that.”

Telesco, like Staley, also didn’t pigeon hole the offensive coordinator vacancy as one that would go to a coach with loads of experience.

“Not necessarily,” Telesco said. “I think that we’re going to have a pretty wide scope of what we’re going to look at, then see what it narrows down to after that.”

5. Praise for the rookies

As mentioned above, the 2023 NFL Draft is still three-plus months away.

But Telesco took some time Thursday to reflect on the Chargers 2022 draft class and the impact that group made on the team.

Telesco praised first-rounder Zion Johnson and also said expectations remain high for third-round safety JT Woods and fourth-round running back Isaiah [Spiller.

“JT and Isaiah, this will be a big offseason for those guys, since they didn’t get as many snaps their rookie year,” Telesco said. “Zion, really happy [with him]. He had his ups and downs like a rookie offensive lineman is going to have.

“I know when we drafted him, I said, ‘You can’t expect him to step in like Rashawn Slater did.’ What Rashawn did is just really uncommon, but Zion give us an edge and a toughness inside,” Telesco continued. “He’s smart. If he makes a mistake, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. I just think he has a really high ceiling. He’s really mature.

“A lot of that stuff that we thought when we drafted him, you don’t know until you see it at this level, and see him out there, but he battled for us,” Telesco added. “I’m really proud of how he played, and I think he has a long way to go.”

Telesco was asked separately about sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer, who ended up starting 15 total games (including the playoffs) after Slater suffered a biceps injury.

Telesco had high praise for the former Georgia standout.

“He saved us this year,” Telesco said.

Telesco added that while Salyer played tackle in college, the team wanted to see him at guard during training camp and the preseason. But when Slater went down, the Bolts moved him back to tackle in order to avoid a complete shuffle along the line.

“Jamaree never flinched. He has great poise and balance, and patience at that position,” Telesco said. “I think a lot of that is because he played it a lot at the college level and played at a pretty high level. He played really efficient football for us at a critical position.

“As you move into next year, as good as Jamaree played, I feel pretty comfortable that Rashawn Slater will be our left tackle, but we’ll figure out what the best role for Jamaree is. It’s a negative when a player gets hurt,” Telesco added. “The one little positive is other players getting an opportunity and now, we know what he can do, rather than thinking he can do something. It will give us some flexibility. Do we see him at a guard or a tackle for next year? I don’t know yet, to be honest with you. I’m not sure.”



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