Telesco's Tall Task

The Tom Telesco era is underway and it won't take long for San Diego's new GM to put his thumbprint on the organization. A new coach will soon be hired, likely next week, and then a plan will be laid out for free agency and the draft. We examine some of the immediate obstacles in Telesco's path.

Hire a New Head Coach

The Telesco hiring bodes well for Bruce Arians, who worked with Telesco in Indianapolis, and Lovie Smith, who shares the Tony Dungy connection with San Diego's new general manager. It is noteworthy that Arians' Colts and Smith's Bears ran 4-3 defensive schemes. Arians, an offensive coach, is less tied to that scheme than Smith. However, Telesco has made it clear he will decide on offensive and defensive philosophies before making any personnel decisions.

The Chargers would be wise to act quickly as the coaching pool is thinning. Already gone are Andy Reid (130 career wins) and Rob Chudzinski, a former Chargers assistant who could have done wonders for San Diego's sagging offense.

Decide Which Players to Keep

Telesco made it clear his first tasks will be hiring a coach and gaining an "insider's" perspective on his team's roster. The latter chore is key, as it will help him decide which players to keep and which to part ways with. The Chargers have several key players slated to become free agents, including CBs Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason, OGs Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green, LBs Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes, DE Vaughn Martin and PK Nick Novak.

There are other veterans Telesco will consider releasing, such as OTs Jared Gaither and Jeromey Clary, WRs Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, TE Antonio Gates and LB Larry English. These decisions will determine which holes Telesco must fill via free agency and the draft.

Patch as Many Holes as Possible

Telesco believes in building through the draft and supplementing via free agency. Unfortunately, he inherits a team with more holes than draft picks, so he will have to be more active in his first run through free agency as he tries to aggressively reshape his roster.

Free agents who could catch San Diego's interest include RB Rashad Jennings, WRs Ramses Barden and Austin Collie, OTs Gosder Cherilus and Jeff Otah, OG Vince Manuwai, DE/OLBs Lawrence Sidbury and Bryan Thomas, CB Sheldon Brown and SS Sherrod Martin.

Draft Extremely Well

Telesco, like all general managers, talks about drafting for value more than need. But that will be difficult at the top of the draft, where the Chargers are expected to take the best left tackle available (possibly Central Michigan's Eric Fisher). It has been more than 25 years since the Chargers drafted an offensive tackle in the first round.

The Chargers also need improved depth at almost every position, so Telesco will have to find contributors even on the third day of the draft. That would be a nice change of pace after last year's draft class, which saw virtually no contributions from anyone other than first-rounder Melvin Ingram and second-rounder Kendall Reyes.

What are Chargers fans saying about the Telesco hire? See in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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