McCoy says return jobs up for grabs

Coach Mike McCoy said the San Diego Chargers achieved the team's goal at the completion of this year's NFL draft.

"We improved our football team this weekend," McCoy said. "And now it's an opportunity for the players to come in this next week, and they've got a lot of work to do. But I think the type of players we've brought in are the right guys for our organization. They're going to fit in. They're good people, and good character guys that want to win."

With McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco working together for the second straight year, McCoy said the process went a little smoother this time around.

"It was exciting for me to watch as a head coach in this second year of doing it together, because you could see the amount that we've not only grown as a football team, but as an organization," McCoy said.

"Last year was chaos," added Telesco. "This year was controlled chaos."

Return jobs are open: Keenan Allen returned punts and Ronnie Brown returned kicks for the Chargers in 2013. But both of the jobs will be open for competition in 2014, with Brown gone and Allen likely focusing entirely on offense in his second season.

The Chargers struggled in the return game last season, averaging 7.5 yards per punt return (No. 25 in the NFL) and 22.1 yards per kick return (No. 23).

Telesco said sixth-round selection Marion Grice and seventh rounder Tevin Reese will compete for the kick return job, and Reese is a candidate for the punt-return job as well.

Grice averaged 24 yards a kick return, with a long of 44 yards, at Arizona State. Reese said he returned punts and kicks in high school, but not at Baylor because head coach Art Briles' policy was to not use his starters as returners.

Along with those two, guys currently on the roster who will get a look at returns include running back Kerwynn Williams and receiver Tobais Palmer. Telesco said Williams and Palmer were among the team's higher-rated returners in the 2013 draft.

Telesco said he hopes Reese (5-10, 163 pounds) will fill out a little bit, but still retain his elite speed and athleticism. Telesco believes that will happen naturally once Reese arrives at Chargers Park and begins to train at the facility.

"You have to give a little to get a little," Telesco said. "So you get an explosively fast receiver at 170 pounds. But what he has is extraordinary athletic ability, so that gives him a chance.

"If he didn't have that rare quickness, speed and jumping ability it would be much harder. But between his athletic ability -- he's pretty good route runner and has good hands -- he's got a chance."

Rookie minicamp starts on Friday: Different from last year, McCoy said the rookies will arrive on Monday and get acclimated before the rookie minicamp begins on Friday. The Chargers will hold a three-day rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday.

"The No. 1 thing is this week they are going to learn a little bit about their teammates," McCoy said. "The one thing I'm going to tell them is make sure they understand that when you walk in the door, you know who Philip Rivers is, Antonio Gates and the rest of your teammates. Learn a little bit about them, because you're going to spend a lot of time with them throughout training camp, preseason games and in season. So they've got to learn a lot about their teammates.

"The next thing is to learn the way we do things here. It's going to be different. We're going to coach guys different than the way they've been coached in college -- right, wrong or indifferent -- so you have to buy into the new coaching styles from a new coach. And you've got to learn the system. If you can't understand or don't know what to do, you have no chance at this level. You've got no chance. And you've got to learn to be a pro."

Telesco on fifth-round selection DT Ryan Carrethers: "He's a true nose tackle. He's built and looks like a nose tackle. He's stout, powerful and very strong. And he had uncommon production actually for a nose tackle. Usually these guys are occupying blocks, but he had 90-plus tackles and 11 TFLs (tackles for loss) at Arkansas State, who plays a pretty strong schedule, too. And he plays hard, which is a hard to find in big guys. He's got a real chance, and we're looking forward to getting him in here."

Telesco on Grice: "A very well-rounded back, that's the one thing that jumped out to us. He's junior college All-American, and then two years at Arizona State. Between running the ball, catching the ball, pass protection and kickoff returns, he can do a lot of different things at six foot and almost 210 pounds. And he was a very productive player there, too -- third in the nation in all-purpose yards. And he was a touchdown machine, with 39 touchdowns in two years. And he protects the ball, so we'll get him in here and add him to the group."

Telesco on Reese: "The big thing on him is speed. He can really, really run. Not only timed speed, but when you put the tape on, it takes about one play to see where he is, because he just jumps out with how fast he is. He also catches the ball really well, a good route runner and a lot of production. He's had a lot of big-play production at Baylor."