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Top takeways from Tom Telesco, Antonio Pierce's introductory press conference

Raiders General Manager Tom Telesco and Head Coach Antonio Pierce addressed the media for the first time together Wednesday afternoon.

After going 5-4 as the interim head coach in 2023, the Raiders removed the interim tag from Pierce's title last Friday. A few days later, Tom Telesco was named the general manager, having previously served in the same role for the Chargers since 2013.

Owner Mark Davis was in attendance to introduce the duo to Raider Nation.

"I just want to say thank you to Mark Davis. This is such an iconic franchise with a storied history, and obviously all starts with the legacy of Al Davis," Telesco said in an opening statement. "I couldn't be more excited to be here, but also realize there's a tremendous responsibility with this job. The fact that Mark and the whole leadership team is trusting me with this, I couldn't be more happy to be a part of this."

Let's get into a few key points from the introductory press conference and detail what's in store for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Bringing Telesco to the desert

The Raiders did their due diligence with Telesco, as the former Chargers GM went through two rounds of interviews for the job. The staff involved in the process clearly felt Telesco would be a good fit within the Raiders organization.

"I could kind of tell from the first interview, there was a connection and a fit, and I think that's really important in this league to feel that, and I felt that the first time through," said Telesco. "It's so important to me and my family to be a part of the right fit in this league, and there's no doubt this is it."

"When he came in the other day, I could see that he was genuine," Pierce said of his first meeting with Telesco. "He was poised. He was calm. He had a plan. He presented it. It was well thought out. He knows I was poking at him trying to get him going, trying to get that AP juice out of him, but he stayed very poker faced, which I was like, 'OK, cool, this is good.'"

Building the roster

The Raiders' new general manager has a track record of being able to identify talent and maximize it.

In 11 seasons with the Chargers, the organization drafted multiple Pro Bowlers including Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, Derwin James, Joey Bosa and Rashawn Slater. He also found a second-team All-Pro punt returner in Derius Davis in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Telesco was clear on what he envisions the Silver and Black's roster looking like with him steering the ship.

"[A]s far as building the roster, you're working through the vision of the head coach," said Telesco. "How does he want to play on offense, how does he want to play on defense, how does he want to play on special teams, and you build it that way. There's a lot of discussions; you work through things. We're going to be able to bounce ideas off each other."

"There's no one specific way to build a team," he added. "I do believe in the draft, and everybody always says that anyways, but I do believe in the draft. But you also have to supplement that with free agency. You have to supplement that with trades. You have to supplement that with signing players that maybe are out of work or are on the street looking for jobs and see if they can come in and fit."

Full confidence in Antonio Pierce

While Pierce was already locked in as head coach when Telesco accepted his position, the GM said he strongly believed the right choice was made and had a part in the decision to come to Las Vegas.

"AP came in on short notice and produced on the field. ... Just the way he galvanized the team, he galvanized the building, he galvanized the fan base," Telesco said. "That is a huge part of it because you have to get that right. ... If you look at his career – back to high school or junior college first, then goes Division I linebacker, then undrafted and then wins a starting job and has the career he had, obviously he's a grinder and he works because nothing was given to him. You can hang your hat on that as a head coach because there's a lot of players on the roster, they're the same way."

63 points later

Pierce couldn't help but give Telesco a little jab and a laugh during the press conference when asked about the Raiders scoring a franchise-record 63 points against the Chargers in Week 15. With that game seemingly being water under the bridge now for the two, Pierce had an amusing story that Telesco shared when they met.

"We're pushing it on defense, and he said he was in the elevator," Pierce relayed. "I think Jack Jones had just intercepted the ball while he was up there. He was like, 'Why? Why? That's enough.'

Telesco looked over at Pierce with the simple remark: "Never seen anything like it."

"We talked about it, hashed it out," Pierce said while grinning. "Look, we'll do that now together going forward."

View photos from Antonio Pierce and Tom Telesco's first days as the Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach and General Manager.

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