Following years of stability and relative success, the San Diego Chargers bottomed out in 2012, finishing the season 7-9 and well short of the playoff hunt in the AFC.
General Manager A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner had already been on the hot seat after a 9-7 2010 campaign and an 8-8 2011 season, but the Chargers continued giving them chances in hopes of a turnaround. After all, San Diego had the talent to do it.
But talent is only part of the equation, and Smith didn’t exactly do his part to continue infusing enough of it to sustain consistent success in the league. As such, the general manager was handed his walking papers in favor of 40-year-old Tom Telesco—the youngest GM in Chargers history.
Telesco may not be a season away from finding himself unemployed, but he certainly doesn’t have a long leash. The Chargers can’t keep hovering around the .500 mark with the talent they currently possess.
The new GM did a terrific job of revamping the roster this offseason, however. He didn’t make many jaw-dropping moves in free agency, but he did piece together a terrific draft class featuring a few high-impact selections.
More on that later.
Meanwhile, Turner, who found a new home this offseason as the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator, overstayed his welcome in San Diego. All credit to the Chargers organization for perpetuating stability by allowing him and Smith to ride out their tenures another season, but it was time for both to go.
To replace Turner, San Diego brought in former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to right the ship. McCoy is no stranger to the Chargers, having piloted the Broncos’ offense against them for the last three seasons, and it likely won’t take the 41-year-old long to mesh in San Diego.
As McCoy stated after he took the job, he knew San Diego was the perfect fit for him and his family, as quoted in an Associated Press report, via ESPN:
There was no doubt in my mind when I got back on that plane to go back home. They wanted to keep me here last night. But I said, 'I've got to talk to my wife about this before.' If I made the decision without talking to my wife, I might get in a little trouble. Without a doubt, we knew this was the place we wanted to be.
McCoy wasn’t alone. Telesco also thought the fit was perfect, and the fates of both men could be potentially linked as they attempt to steer the Chargers back to playoffs and away from the mediocrity that surrounded them the last few years.
San Diego has a solid core in place, but it needed a strong offseason to get the Telesco-McCoy era started off on the right foot. We’ll take a closer look at those offseason endeavors, including free agency, the NFL draft and a few positions to watch as the season draws near. Read on.