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General manager Tom Telesco believes the Los Angeles Chargers are starting to make themselves at home.
Telesco is thoroughly pleased by his team’s resilience during a tumultuous relocation season that began with a rocky 0-4 start Authentic Antonio Callaway Jersey , but ended with the Bolts (9-7) as one of the NFL’s best teams.
The executive wants the Chargers to take the momentum from their 9-3 finish into an offseason in which they can make further strides toward becoming an AFC power.
If they do it, Telesco also believes the Chargers will start to see a true home-field advantage at their temporary stadium in Carson, where they won their final five games.
”I think the longer we’re here, the better we play, the better the atmosphere will be,” Telesco said Thursday. ”I think it’s a pretty neat place to watch a football game. But we’re the new kids on the block, and we’ve got to show what we are, show that we’re an exciting team to watch, get in the playoffs and get people excited, and there will be more and more Charger fans there.”
The Chargers definitely were exciting, but they weren’t quite a playoff team. They finished one game behind AFC West champion Kansas City, which beat Los Angeles twice. The Bolts then missed out on the AFC’s two wild-card spots in a four-way tiebreaker due to their mediocre conference record.
The Chargers’ 84-mile move up the California coast was just part of a busy year that began with the near-simultaneous announcement of the move and the hiring of coach Anthony Lynn, who received praise from Telesco for instilling ”a high level of grit and determination that we just lacked last year.”
Telesco echoed Lynn’s determination to keep his coaching staff intact aside from assistant offensive line coach James Cregg, who is headed to LSU. In particular, Telesco wants to keep coveted defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who immediately put together a solid unit for a team that finished third in the NFL in points allowed.
Continuity is a major goal for the Chargers after the upheaval of the past year.
”We’ve come a long way in the last 12 months,” Telesco said at the Chargers’ training complex in Orange County. ”Think about where we were last year this time and where we are now. It’s been a lot of change and a lot of challenges, but we’re on the right pace. We’re going in the right direction.”
More things to know about the Chargers’ offseason:
FIND A FOOT: Telesco echoed Lynn’s desire to secure a solid kicker next season after the Chargers used five players at the position and made a league-low 68 percent of their field goal tries this year. The Chargers’ first two losses were decided by late missed field goal attempts, and it cost them dearly. ”Obviously our kicking game was not NFL-quality this year Authentic Breeland Speaks Jersey ,” Telesco said. ”One of my biggest regrets this year (is) I did not do a good enough job addressing that position. I put our head coach, Anthony, in a tough position as far as managing the football game. I’m very confident we’ll be able to get that fixed.” Telesco didn’t say whether he plans to pursue a tested veteran kicker.
OPEN GATES: Telesco praised 37-year-old tight end Antonio Gates as ”one of the greatest Chargers of all-time,” but didn’t unequivocally commit to bringing him back. Gates is a free agent after setting the NFL record for TD catches by a tight end early this season. After serving largely as a backup to Hunter Henry, Gates played extensively the last two games and determined that he wants to keep playing in 2018. ”I don’t have any answers right now moving forward, but we’ll get there,” Telesco said of Gates’ future.
GOT GOALS: Telesco pointed out that the Chargers were successful in two main points of emphasis this season: Cutting down turnovers and protecting Rivers. Los Angeles finished third in the league with a plus-12 turnover ratio after finishing 27th last season with a minus-7, and the Chargers allowed an NFL-low 18 sacks after yielding 36 last season.
RIVERS’ HEIR: The Chargers don’t have a firm timeline for finding a successor to the 36-year-old Rivers, the only quarterback to start a game for the club since the 2006 season opener. After Rivers’ excellent 4,515-yard season, Telesco confirmed that the Chargers ”hope he’ll be around for a good amount of years,” and they aren’t headed into the offseason determined to draft a quarterback. ”He played really well for us this year, and I expect him to come back and do the same thing next year,” Telesco added.
STACKED BACK: The Chargers expect former Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett to return at full strength after missing all but five games in the past two seasons with knee injuries. Telesco wants Verrett, fellow cornerback Trevor Williams, current Pro Bowler Casey Hayward and versatile defensive back Desmond King all back on a defense that was the NFL’s third-best against the pass this season, yielding just 197.2 yards per game.
His voice quavering at an unexpected news conference, Sandy Alderson revealed what he had just told his team moments before.
His cancer has returned, he’s taking a leave of absence – and his up-and-down tenure as New York Mets general manager is essentially over.
With the team in a massive tailspin Authentic Derrick Nnadi Jersey , chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and the 70-year-old Alderson made the announcement before Tuesday night’s game against Pittsburgh.
”With respect to the future, I would say two things: One is, notwithstanding the good prognosis, my health is an uncertainty going forward,” said Alderson, who agreed to a contract extension in December. ”And secondly, if I were to look at it on the merits, I’m not sure coming back is warranted.”
Asked whether he would like Alderson to resume his GM duties if his health eventually allowed that, Wilpon answered the same way twice: ”I think his health and his family are first and foremost.”
Assistant general manager John Ricco and special assistants J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya will run the club’s baseball operations in Alderson’s absence. Minaya preceded Alderson as Mets general manager, and Ricciardi was GM of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2001-09.
Alderson was hired by the Mets after the 2010 season. He was diagnosed with cancer at the end of the 2015 season and had surgery, but stayed on the job. He reduced his work schedule at times but remained in a full-time role while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
”One difference between then and now is that that took place in the offseason,” Alderson said. ”I had a surgery in the offseason, I had some chemo in the offseason. Much easier to manage that with offseason activity. I had the decision-making authority basically at that time. I will not have the decision-making authority going forward. If people want to call me, they’re welcome to do so. But at the same time, I don’t expect to be involved in day-to-day activity.”
Ricciardi, Minaya and first-year manager Mickey Callaway were all in the interview room at Citi Field when Alderson and Wilpon made the announcement.
Wilpon said Alderson informed him of his decision Sunday.
”It is paramount to all of us that care greatly for Sandy that he makes this a priority for him and his family,” Wilpon said, later adding: ”The wear and tear on Sandy, I’ve seen up close and personal. I talked to him a couple times about maybe taking a leave Authentic Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , maybe stepping away a little bit, and I had sort of forgotten about it because so much has been going on.”
According to players, Alderson broke down a bit as he spoke to his teary-eyed team in the clubhouse before addressing the media.
”It definitely puts life in perspective,” said outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who was Alderson’s first amateur draft pick in 2011. ”Just very somber news that we received. Our heart’s broken for him. He’s been through this battle before. He knows what’s in store.”
Mets captain David Wright, sidelined by injuries for more than two years, said players stood and gave Alderson a round of applause.
”I think there was a lot of jaws hitting the floor,” Wright recalled. ”I think we had a bit of an emotional talk. It wasn’t long, but at the end we certainly wanted to pay him respect.”
Alderson said a recurrence of his cancer was detected around late April or early May and he’s been receiving treatment since.
”I expect that the treatment will continue, expect to have surgery later this summer. My prognosis is actually good. But in the meantime, the chemotherapy, the surgery, all take their toll,” Alderson said.
He said the treatment affects his energy level and leads to other side effects, explaining why he hasn’t been traveling on road trips lately.
”Which makes it difficult to stay up with sort of the pace, the tempo of the every day,” Alderson said. ”Operations continue, the game continues, we have a season to play. So I think in the best interests of the Mets and for my health Authentic John Franklin-Myers Jersey , this is the right result.
”I feel badly that we’ve had the season that we have had to date. I feel personally responsible for the results that we’ve had,” he added. ”At the same time, I have confidence in our manager, our coaching staff, our players, that this will change. John, Omar, J.P., I’m sure will take a hard look at where we are, maybe take a fresh look at where we are and I have every confidence that they will serve the franchise well over the next few months through the end of the season.”
Alderson’s departure comes at a pivotal time for the Mets ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Needing an infusion of young talent, they will likely look to sell off pending free agents such as closer Jeurys Familia, second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and outfielder Jose Bautista. But ace pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard could command a huge return, and the front office must decide whether to embark on such a significant overhaul.
New York reached the 2015 World Series after rebuilding under Alderson and made it back to the playoffs the following year, but injuries and underperformance have decimated the team since.
After going 70-92 last year, the Mets replaced manager Terry Collins with Callaway and spent nearly $90 million to fill holes in free agency. They jumped out to an 11-1 start this season, but a 6-24 slide left them 31-45 with the fewest wins in the National League going into Tuesday night’s game.
”It’s been incredibly difficult,” Alderson said. ”And I’m reall
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