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Manti Te’o is growing into his role with Chargers

Cincinnati Bengals v San Diego Chargers Getty Images

Enough time has passed that Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o is no longer necessarily a punch line.

He’s also turned enough pages on the calendar that he doesn’t always look like a rookie.

The second-rounder from Notre Dame is beginning to show signs that he’s developing into an NFL linebacker, after a slow start to his career.

I’ve made that big jump,” Te’o said, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “I still have to think about what I have to do; I still have to think a little bit. But I’m not thinking half as much as I was. There’s where it becomes fun, and that’s where you’re able to make plays. A lot of guys, it takes a while. It takes a while as a rookie. . . .

“Now, it’s about refining things and remembering the small details. As far as the big picture, I think I have the understanding of what it looks like now. That’s kind of why I’ve been able to have a little more success now on the field, just that comfort level and trust in my teammates that they have for me and the trust that my coaches have for me.”

The biggest obstacle he had to overcome was the first one, a foot injury nine snaps into his first preseason game. That cost him the next six weeks of practice, and set him behind.

“He missed so much time in training camp — he missed all those reps; he didn’t have that,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. “So when he first got back, playing at the early part of the season, that was his training camp. He’s made some mistakes, and he’ll tell you that. It’s that learning curve. With young players, there’s a lot to learn. He’s done a nice job. He’s getting better every week, and that’s the key.”

Te’o has shown that he’s willing to work through specific problems, and has become a solid player for the Chargers.

As he grows into his role, they hope he becomes more than that.

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17 Responses to “Manti Te’o is growing into his role with Chargers”
  1. buckshowalter says: Dec 12, 2013 10:19 AM

    He possesses a high football IQ. I think the Ravens and Vikings will end up regret passing on him. I understand the whole fake gf thing was an issue (and who knows the truth) but it seems like that has passed and the boy can play.

  2. floridaslonechargersfan says: Dec 12, 2013 10:34 AM

    Until he stops shying away from contact all the time he will still be a questionable draft pick. If he can be just average, I will be happy. Would’ve loved to have drafted Kiko Alonso in that spot.

  3. joetoronto says: Dec 12, 2013 10:51 AM

    I noticed that too, that he shy’s away from contact, it looks brutal sometimes.

    This was a big swing and a miss.

  4. FinFan68 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:56 AM

    His girlfriend must be so proud

  5. chargersdiehard says: Dec 12, 2013 11:50 AM

    Name a team that had a better draft.

  6. richmondbolt says: Dec 12, 2013 12:01 PM

    Lets let him play a few more games, Joe.

  7. skolvikings12 says: Dec 12, 2013 12:11 PM

    Imagine that.

  8. xgarcia22 says: Dec 12, 2013 12:12 PM

    The guy sucks and is obviously a head case. How long until he commits Seaucide?

  9. bergencountyjc says: Dec 12, 2013 12:17 PM

    Don’t watch him play much as a Giants fan (well I guess I did recently) but I have to hand it to the Chargers organization for not keeping the circus in town after he was drafted. I nearly forgot about him until I saw him play pretty decently against my team.

  10. skinsterps says: Dec 12, 2013 12:30 PM

    He will be a solid pro. 10 year career(not HOF but still a nice 2nd round draft pick!) Who would not take that!

  11. jmsieli says: Dec 12, 2013 12:44 PM

    “I think the Ravens and Vikings will regret passing on him”

    ————

    I’ve watched Ravens and Vikings game last week, it was a hell of a game, Floyd, Patterson and Rhodes all played one hell of a game, I don’t know their stats, but they all looked like they are game changers, I think Speilman hit it out of the park and I’ll bet a lot of teams will regret not drafting one of them.

  12. realtheprince says: Dec 12, 2013 12:59 PM

    chargersdiehard says:
    Dec 12, 2013 11:50 AM
    Name a team that had a better draft.
    ——————————————–

    Giovani Bernard – one pick before him

    the pick after him is worse (Geno Smith)

  13. drewser43 says: Dec 12, 2013 1:01 PM

    vikings regret not taking Teo? i don’t think so. i would rather have Cordaralle Patterson. plus, if Audi Cole keeps progressing, he could be a nice middle linebacker. heck, he has made more headlines than Teo this season…

  14. doctorrustbelt says: Dec 12, 2013 1:34 PM

    I’m fine with “my” team having Vontaze Burfict.

  15. chargersdiehard says: Dec 12, 2013 1:57 PM

    I said a better draft not just a better player. If you wanna talk rookie of the year let’s talk Keenen Allen.

  16. asimonetti88 says: Dec 12, 2013 3:15 PM

    He sucks. Too slow, afraid of getting hit, he disappears from games for long stretches. He’s a marginal player, could provide some depth but you don’t want him starting.

  17. joetoronto says: Dec 13, 2013 4:43 AM

    After watching him play last night, it’s clear he doesn’t like contact.

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