The San Diego Chargers finally wised up and fired Mike McCoy on Sunday after a second straight disastrous season. Unfortunately, McCoy’s ouster came a year too late. Now that one huge problem is gone, it’s time for the Chargers to fire their other massive disappointment, general manager Tom Telesco.
Telesco’s voice was included in the team’s statement on McCoy’s firing, which almost certainly means the franchise won’t get rid of him. But they should fire him immediately.
Telesco had a lot of success with his 2016 NFL Draft class. In fact, that group’s production is probably what saved his job. Defensive end Joey Bosa looks like a bonafide star, tight end Hunter Henry has shown he can be lethal to opposing defenses, Joshua Perry and Jatavis Brown look like solid NFL linebackers and we’ll see what they got in center Max Tuerk next season when he’s finally healthy. Where Telesco has failed has been on the free agent market and in building depth for his team, which has been devastated by injuries.
Telesco — like Ryan Grigson, his former boss in Indianapolis — has failed to build an offensive line that can adequately protect his quarterback. Philip Rivers has been running for his life for four years. Now maybe that’s due to the scheme McCoy prefers to run, but if that’s the case, Telesco should have pushed hard to relieve the coach of his duties last season. No matter who has been offensive coordinator for the Bolts, Rivers has been constantly under duress. It’s unacceptable to not protect a guy when he’s your franchise quarterback. That should be job No. 1.
When Rivers has a clean pocket, he’s an elite quarterback. He can absolutely pick any defense apart if he’s given the time to step up and throw. Additionally, the Chargers spent a first-round pick on Melvin Gordon in 2015 and have been unable to consistently create running lanes for him. This all falls on Telesco for not recognizing the problem and continuing to patch together a line with whatever he can find relatively cheaply on the free agent market.
The Chargers have suffered a ridiculous rash of injuries over the past two seasons. That can absolutely be attributed to bad luck. But good teams have enough depth to deal with losing key players. The Bolts do not and have not had quality depth under Telesco. He also completely botched Bosa’s contract negotiations and ruined his standing with fans by running fan-favorite Eric Weddle out of town.
The Chargers have been an embarrassment over the past two seasons on and off the field. The “will they or won’t they” fiasco involving Los Angeles has turned most of the city’s fans off to the team. Meanwhile, their play on the field has in many ways been even worse. With owner Dean Spanos and his completely unqualified kids John and A.G. essentially running the Chargers, I haven’t expected sound decision-making when it comes to the front office and coaching staff. I’ve been right. Which is why I expect Telesco to retain his job, even though he shouldn’t.