After enduring a loss like that, the best thing we can do as Buffalo Bills fans is look forward. As we've discussed in this space before, the best way to move forward is a complete revamp of the front office, starting with a new general manager. We continue our profile of GM candidates with a look at Indianapolis Colts Director of Player Personnel, Tom Telesco.
Just this week in his Fan Friday column, Bills beat writer Chris Brown was asked about Telesco and the possibility he would return to Buffalo. Here's what he had to say:
No, I don’t think there are any burned bridges there. Bill Polian and Ralph Wilson are on much better terms than when Polian left the Bills organization. With respect to Tom Telesco I think he’d be a very good candidate. He’s been running the Colts pro and college scouting departments for years and he’s a Hamburg native.
I believe working for his hometown team is something he’d probably be interested in if offered a Director of Football Operations type role. Whether he’s on the Bills short list or not I do not know.
The Bills have been having trouble attracting top-quality candidates to even interview for jobs. A local connection could be very useful in luring Telesco from a very comfortable (and stable) job in Indianapolis back to Buffalo. He graduated from St. Francis High School in Hamburg and spent his entire formative years in Hamburg.
The downfall to projecting GM candidates to being successful GMs is that we are never sure about how much influence they truly hold over the decisions a team makes. In Telesco's case his boss is team president Bill Polian, architect of two of the greatest teams of sustained excellence in NFL history. Polian counts Telesco as his right-hand man. When Bill's son Chris was promoted to GM this November here's what the younger Polian had to say:
I think in the end, this is a continuation of the process that’s been taking place the last few years in terms of my dad delegating more of the day-to-day operation-type stuff, while he’ll work on issues with Mr. Irsay and league issues and that type stuff and let Tom Telesco and I kind of carry the load in terms of the daily operation.
These comments signify just how valuable Telesco's opinion is with those around him. He's actively involved in shaping the Colts roster. Another new development from the last time the Bills were searching is Chris Polian's promotion. When Bill's son Chris was promoted in Indianapolis this November it solidified their front office succession plan. Telesco would never take over for Bill Polian as Indianapolis' top decision-maker. If Telesco wants to be top dog in an organization he will now have to look elsewhere.
Telesco's background is in pro personnel, scouting and signing players from other teams, but recently has shifted his focus towards the entire roster. In fact, coach Jim Caldwell credited Telesco with having every draft pick in training camp on time something the Bills had significant problems with this year. Chris Brown cited Telesco as "running the Colts pro and college scouting departments for years." He's as well-rounded a candidate as exists.
Here's what I like most about the Colts organization. They always have a guy to step in when they lose someone (well maybe not Peyton Manning). Edgerrin James leaves and in comes Joseph Addai. Marvin Harrison is out for most of the season and in steps Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez. Even replacing Tony Dungy with Jim Caldwell was in place before the former left. Now the Colts have designated a succession plan at the top of the organization as well. Long term planning is something the Bills need in this rebuild, not just plugging gaps to make the team competitive this year.
As the team readies for a draft with holes ranging from starting QB to OL and LB and a host of other spots, the Sporting News lists the Colts draft strength as selecting the best player available. That makes me hopeful that with Telesco running the football operations the Bills might have a shot at turning this thing around.
Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News mentioned a couple weeks ago that the Bills would start interviewing for the front office sometime after Christmas. That's right now. So the obvious question here is this: would you have an objection if Telesco was one of the first candidates to get a phone call? Plus he might be in town this week as Buffalo hosts his Colts. Just sayin'.