With all that has transpired this season, from crippling injuries to questionable coaching tactics, Tom Telesco has done a good job as the San Diego Chargers General Manager in 2016.
In fact, I’d venture to say that he has done a fantastic job. I’ve noticed it and a sparse crowd of fans have as well, however it’s time that everybody understands how well Telesco has performed this season.
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We all know the drill with this team in the last few seasons (sans last year). Tons of hype going into the preseason followed by an inexplicable amount of injuries to key contributors on both sides of the ball. This is generally followed by sprinkles of success here and there, which is quickly drowned out by blown leads late in games due to poor coaching decisions. All in all, playoff aspirations become moot and we end the year with a record between 7-9 and 9-7.
Fast forward to this season and you truly see how much work Telesco has put into trying to save the year and squeak the team into the playoffs. Obviously, losing KA13 after one half in the first game of the season wasn’t optimal, but it sure was a good thing that TT discovered Tyrell Williams as anundrafted free agent the previous year. Same can be said for a couple of other positions on the roster too.
When Jason Verrett went down followed soon by Brandon Flowers. it was a next-man-up mentality for the cornerback group. Enter Trevor Williams, an undrafted free agent out of Penn State who has filled in admirably, and lightyears better than Craig Mager (can’t hit on all draft picks TT it’s alright), in the starter’s place.
Finally, finding not one, but two replacements for Manti Te’o has been the brightest spot on Tom’s performance sheet this year. Jatavis Brown has consistently been one of the better inside linebackers in the entire league this year AS A ROOKIE TAKEN IN THE FIFTH ROUND. But don’t blink, because if you did you missed him getting hurt midway through the season as well. Fear not Chargers faithful, because household name Korey Toomer was recently plucked off of the Raiders practice squad to save the day! Toomer is legitimately trying to take snaps away from both Denzel Perryman and Brown when he returns to full health. That’s how good he has been playing. He had 14 combined tackles against Houston and is up to 51 on the season in only three starts. I think it is suffice to say that Manti’s services will no longer be needed next year.
The Chargers have been hit by a myriad of devastating injuries this year and I’ve only named a few as crazy as it sounds. However, despite having this plague go against him, as well as coaches who do their best to give games away by “Trying not to lose”—seriously McCoy, Pagano, and Whiz should consider making this an actual sport because they’d kill it—Telesco has gorilla-glued this team into playoff contention, albeit slim odds, in Week 13. That in itself is impressive and if it weren’t for haggling with Joey Bosa for weeks on end (how much of that was him vs. Dean though?) we’d most likely be sitting above .500 and I’d be giving Tommy boy a 10/10 on the season.
The bottom line is this, the Chargers weren’t supposed to be competing at this point in the season. When a team loses their WR1, RB2, RB3, RB4, CB1, CB3, ILB1, ILB2, ILB3, SS1, NT1, OLB3, for an extended period of time (I’m positive I glossed over many other injuries), they aren’t expected to compete. Heck, that team shouldn’t be favored to win many games at all, if any. Yet here we are sitting at 5-6 on the aging season with woulda, coulda, shoulda hot takes in the rear view mirror and playoff hopes at the forefront. When it’s all said and done, once the season is over no matter our standing in the conference, it is important that we all realize that Telesco did his very best to put a winning ball club out on the field. Considering the circumstances, that’s about all we can ask for as fans.