Nope, Dysfunction Junction isn’t setting up shop again at 4020 Murphy Canyon Road.
“What I’ve seen is great energy in the building,’’ said Telesco, the team’s general manager.
But during Wednesday’s 32-minute pre-draft chat with the press, more than half the questions were about everything but the draft. Why not? From the outside, the Chargers look as zany as when Archie Manning told them they were a bunch of Jugheads when they were contemplating drafting his son. Eli Manning didn’t stay a Charger long, which thrilled his father to no end. Archie couldn’t help but notice during dinner that then-coach Marty Schottenheimer and general manager A.J. Smith exchanged stink eyes instead of conversation.
But the Chargers, who haven’t made the playoffs in four of the past five years, have much on their plate and little of it is appetizing. Let us count the ways:
- The Chargers are in San Diego – for now. But where they land in the future is what has the majority of their fans grumpy. Carson moved closer to a stadium to house the Chargers and Raiders on Tuesday. Then there’s the Inglewood project, where the Rams might want a co-tenant that wears lightning bolts. Or might San Diego complete a Hail Mary in building a local stadium?
- Quarterback Philip Rivers isn’t interested in signing a long-term contract. Any extension talks offered by the club to the face of the franchise were returned by a Rivers stiff-arm which would have made his old teammate, LaDainian Tomlinson, proud. Tomlinson, on the NFL Network, repeated how frustrated Rivers was with the organization. Tomlinson was adamant he didn’t think Rivers would be under center when the Chargers open against the Lions on Sept. 13.
- Safety Eric Weddle said has been “highly disrespected” by the Chargers as he hasn’t been offered an extension. Among the team’s few Pro Bowlers, Weddle is skipping the volunteer offseason sessions. Know this: Weddle would rather shave than miss a practice.
Of all the dark clouds chasing the Chargers, Telesco was crystal clear regarding Rivers. He all but said those advancing the story of Rivers being shipped to Tennessee for the Titans’ No. 2 pick – to be used on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota – are wrong. Never mind the team’s top brass traveled to Eugene last week to give Mariota the once over.
“Philip is our quarterback,’’ Telesco said. “It’s 100 percent full steam of ahead. Philip is our quarterback and the plan is he is going to be here a long, long time.’’
Is Telesco fibbing? They call it “liars month” in the NFL for a reason.
“I’m Catholic,’’ Telesco said. “I tell the truth.’’ Must be, as his nose didn’t grow.
But an NFL insider said long time ago if a GM says it’s raining during draft month, look outside before grabbing an umbrella. We’ll find out soon if Telesco needs to go to confession.
We do know the Chargers enter next week’s draft seeking a running back, a pass-rusher, help along the defensive line and secondary depth. With the Chargers having fewer draft picks (six) than Rivers has kids (seven), good luck with that.
All the best, too, in deflating the Rivers-to-Tennessee balloon which floats above the draft. That will fly until April 30, when the Titans are on the clock. But if they dialed Murphy Canyon, what would be Telesco’s response?
“Philip is our quarterback,’’ he said. “For eight games last year he was a MVP candidate.’’
This year, is he the most valuable piece to move?
Lord knows you need to stay tuned.
+ Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org