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Tom Telesco Says Chargers Have 'Confidence' in Tyrod Taylor, Talks Cam Newton

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2020

Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco watches warmups on the field before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Chargers are expected to acquire a quarterback to compete with Tyrod Taylor at some point this offseason, but general manager Tom Telesco is confident in the veteran for now.  

"We have confidence in Tyrod Taylor," Telesco said Tuesday on ESPN's Get Up. "Just as important, his teammates have confidence in Tyrod, so that's where we are right now. We're very happy with that, and other than that, we're really pretty much all draft-focused right now. Free agency obviously goes on forever. Free agency never ends, but the main part of free agency has kind of passed, and we're strictly in draft mode, but we're excited about Tyrod. We think he can do a lot of things for us. [Head coach] Anthony Lynn has a lot of confidence in him, and we'll be ready to go."

Taylor served as Philip Rivers' backup in 2019, throwing just six passes as the Chargers floundered to a 5-11 record. He's compiled a 23-21-1 record as a starter, performing solidly for three years in Buffalo before a short, miserable stint with Cleveland in 2018. 

The team being in "draft mode" could be instructive, given the Chargers are regularly linked to quarterbacks at the top of the draft. While the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to take Joe Burrow No. 1 overall, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa have been projected as potential Charger targets. The Miami Dolphins are slotted at No. 5, one spot ahead of the Chargers, so it's possible one of the teams will have to trade up to get the quarterback they want.

Veterans like Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are also free agents and could provide the Chargers with a higher potential ceiling than Taylor. However, Telesco downplayed the potential of bringing in a veteran to compete:

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"Well Cam, like every player that becomes available, we always talk about things internally, but like I said before, we're very confident in Tyrod Taylor to run our offense the way we want it to run. We'll always monitor what's available out in free agency and on the street, but right now it's really 100 percent draft-focused, and obviously with the logistics going on with this draft this year from home, it's taking us a little extra time and work."

Newton was released by the Carolina Panthers after the team failed to find a trade partner after the start of free agency. Winston lost his starting job when the Buccaneers signed Tom Brady and is available despite leading the NFL in passing yards—all while becoming the first 30-touchdown, 30-interception quarterback in franchise history.

Without outright saying it, Telesco may have tipped his hand that the Chargers are focused on drafting one of the top quarterbacks in this class and using Taylor as a bridge rather than signing a veteran. 

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