Here’s why the Chargers care about the Colts vs. Bills playoff game – Orange County Register

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco will likely watch closely for various reasons as the Buffalo Bills host the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday’s AFC wild-card playoff game.

Yes, Telesco grew up near Buffalo in Western New York, and he spent many years working in the Colts’ front office. But higher on the interest lists, Telesco will be scouting his head coaching candidates.

Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus are reportedly candidates for the Chargers’ vacancy.

And perhaps a close second – Telesco will be cheering for Colts quarterback Philip Rivers, along with numerous Chargers fans and the city of San Diego.

Chargers fans and former Chargers fans can’t get along on social media, but most of them will be rooting for Rivers to advance in the postseason. Many fans stopped cheering for the Chargers after they left San Diego for Los Angeles in 2017, but Rivers remains beloved by San Diegans for his 13 seasons there, which included five postseason appearances.

Rivers, 39, will be aiming for his first Super Bowl in his first season with the Colts after falling short of the big game in 16 total seasons with the Chargers.

Rivers and the Chargers “mutually agreed” to go their separate ways in February. The Chargers had another difficult breakup this past week when they fired Anthony Lynn as head coach after four seasons.

Telesco will watch his former quarterback while searching for his new head coach.

Rivers, who is 4-0 in wild-card games, and Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, another Western New Yorker and former Chargers assistant coach, will look to keep pace with Daboll and Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Daboll became a hot name in this year’s potential head coaches pool after he groomed Allen into an MVP candidate and helped wide receiver Stefon Diggs earn his first All-Pro honors. The Bills ranked second in the regular season for yards per game (396.4) and points scored per game (31.3).

Those numbers are why the Chargers, with star rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, are reportedly showing interest in Daboll. They’ll likely have competition for his services, with the New York Jets also requesting permission for an interview.

“I’ll say the same thing that I said the last few weeks, we have a very important job to do this week,” Daboll, 45, said this week when asked about his interviews.

“We’re behind. We have a short week. And everything that I’m going to do, I know the staff is going to do, is focus on the Colts and try to put our guys in the best position. Understand the question. Humbled by it, but really focused on what we need to do here.”

Perhaps the other four teams with head coaching vacancies are waiting to see what happens with the Bills in the playoffs before requesting interviews with Daboll. Or teams view the Chargers as the heavy favorite to land Daboll because of his ties to Telesco.

Daboll, 45, is also a fellow Western New Yorker and attended high school with the 48-year-old Telesco. They’re graduates of St. Francis High School in Hamburg, New York.

“That’s an awful personal question,” Telesco said when asked if he’s close with Daboll. “I don’t know if it’s close or not, but yes, we did go to the same high school. We’re from the same hometown. … I wouldn’t read into where you’re from or what high school you went to.”

The Chargers have also reportedly requested permission to speak with Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. They’ve reportedly completed interviews with Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The Chargers also reportedly have interest in former college coach Urban Meyer.

Eberflus will have his interview with the Chargers on Monday, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Eberflus also tiptoed around interview questions and said he’s focused on the Bills this week.

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