Tom Telesco Safe, Mike McCoy Unsafe?

Since the Chargers hired GM Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy within a week of each other two-and-a-half seasons ago, the team has compiled a 20-21 record, which has led some to believe that both men will be relieved of their duties at the end of the 2015 season. However, as Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune writes, Telesco, at least, will get one more season to right the ship.

Acee says that three sources familiar with the inclinations of John Spanos, the team’s president of football operations, say Spanos prefers continuity among his top decision-makers, and Spanos apparently believes that injuries, more than poor roster construction, are to blame for the Chargers’ 2-7 record. Of course, Telesco’s predilection for small and speedy players could be a cause of the team’s rash of injuries, and it also has had a direct impact on the team’s performance. As Acee notes, “[t]he defense is preposterously undersized and relatively unphysical,” and even before the injuries, there were not many players on the defensive side of the ball that were worthy of a starting job.

On the other hand, Telesco did manage to piece together a contending club during his first two seasons in San Diego despite inheriting the “ashes of an aging roster,” and it’s not as though many of the players who are currently struggling with injury had any type of injury history in college that should have made Telesco wary of drafting them. While Telesco has been an abject failure in free agency–see Jacoby Jones and Derek Cox–Spanos is willing to provide his first-time GM a little leeway.

The same may not be true, however, for McCoy. Although there are no concrete rumors concerning the head coach’s job security, Acee writes that the team “is more likely to wind up with changes on the coaching staff than in the personnel department.” It is fair to wonder why McCoy, who has been tasked with fielding a competitive club with a roster that has been ravaged by injury and hamstrung by Telesco’s decision-making, should be held more responsible than Telesco himself for the team’s poor performance, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk may have an answer. Telesco, Florio says, is apparently willing to defer to Spanos, who is more directly involved with personnel decisions than most NFL owners and part-owners.

Spanos’ decisions, of course, will be even more significant if the team ultimately move to Los Angeles. As Florio writes, the Chargers would be competing with the Raiders for fans and revenue, so they will need a strong personnel man and head coach to lead them into a new era. Whether Telesco and McCoy are the right choices remain to be seen, but at the moment, it appears as though Telesco will have the opportunity to prove himself while McCoy may not.

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