May 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Te

The Question Marks: Manti Te'o

One of the players that I am looking forward to most this season is Manti Te’o. As excited as I am to see him on the field, there is an unknown factor that we all have with him. We haven’t seen his skills translate to the NFL level and we have no idea if he will be up to the task. A lot of us feel that he has the ability to be a good linebacker in this game, but we still have to see it happen.

Here is a reminder of his strengths and weaknesses from CBS Sports:

STRENGTHS: Possesses a typical Polynesian build. Has a stocky, powerful frame with overall weight distribution and a naturally low-center of gravity which aids him in anchoring against blockers. Shows very good key and diagnosis skills, correctly identifying the intent of the play and quickly attacking.

May not possess elite straight-line speed as timed in workouts but consistently gets to the edge due to his lateral agility, balance and anticipation. Generally a reliable open field tackler. Brings his hips as he hits the ball-carrier, powering through him and wrapping his arm securely for the tackle. Does a nice job of forcing the ballcarrier to commit, rarely allowing cut-back opportunities.

Returned for his senior season dedicated to making himself a more productive defender against the pass and was incredibly successful in those role, demonstrating not only better speed and fluidity but instincts in coverage. Entered his senior campaign with zero career interceptions but recorded seven in 2012 to lead all FBS linebackers.

Showed much better awareness, body control and ball-skills in this regard as a senior. Known throughout his career as a leader and a man of integrity. Voted a team captain. Earned the prestigious Eagle Scout award in 2008.

WEAKNESSES: Does not possess elite straight-line speed and may struggle to beat the NFL’s faster backs to the edge. Was protected by an awfully talented defensive front at Notre Dame and struggled to get off blocks against Alabama when they were unable to keep blockers away from him.

While remarkably productive as a pass defender in 2012, does not possess ideal change-of-direction skills for man coverage responsibilities against NFL pass-catchers. May have shorter than ideal arm-length, which contributed to his slipping off ballcarriers, on occasion. Regardless of the reason, Te’o played poorly in the biggest game of his life… Must reassure NFL teams in the pre-draft process that he is the man of integrity he’d been characterized as throughout his career.

I feel that Manti is a student of the game and will put in the hours in the film room to get a leg up on the competition. His ability to recognize plays in the game is uncanny. He will have to learn how to take on blockers, but I still feel that he will do some great things on the field. I am predicting rookie of the year out of this question mark.

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  • Stefanie Smith

    Ernie: Read what they are predicting about T’eo on They think he is going to struggle with the speed of the game.

    Here is a quote: “5) Manti Te’o will face more questions on the field than off of it.
    Even when Te’o was dominating at Notre Dame, there were questions about how his game — and specifically, his speed — would translate to the NFL level.”

    Adam Schein wrote the article.

    • arnie

      Is this the same NFL network that doesn’t think the Chargers will do anything this year. And the Chiefs will challenge for the division?

      • Alex Pitrofsky

        Great response. What they say on that show is just ridiculous. For one I feel like they are out to just insult the Chargers and ruin our hopes. And the Chiefs!? Alex Smith only preformed well under Jim Harbough. The Cheifs are probably gonna get 6 wins at most this year

        • arnie

          to me it’s all about CYA, Cover Your A$$ on that network. they can’t afford to look stupid, so they play the politically correct road. they talk about how Ried will save the franchise, yet ignore he had back-to-back losing seasons. McCoy had back-to-back playoff appearances and wins.
          The only guy i respect is Jamie Dukes. he’s on an island that the Chargers will be back in the playoffs, or at least be better than most think.

    • Gunnar Martin

      This is good news considering is always wrong.

      • arnie


  • Angel

    If Mantis can produce 7+ interceptions, 10 sacks and who knows how many tackles. He can be likely to get considered for rookie of the year. Realistically, my opinion, I wouldn’t bet on it. And yeh. I call him Mantis.

    Your welcome

    • Gunnar Martin

      You don’t need anywhere near those stats to win the DROY as an inside linebacker. His chances are actually pretty good of winning it.

    • yoyo ma

      LMFAO, if he even comes close to half those numbers, he would be a serious contender for DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR, NOT ROOKIE

      those numbers are ridicilous especially for INSIDE LINEBACKERS

  • arnie

    Pretty interesting reading…..

    Te’o finished with 101 tackles, 1.5 sacks an 7 INT in 2012. In 2011 100 tackles 4.5 sacks. the difference, he was asked to drop into pass coverage, so his sacks suffered, but produced in pic’s.

    if that’s any indication of what we can expect, i like The Chargers chances with him in the middle. whether run stopping, rushing the passer, or coverage over the middle.

  • davacho

    manti will be just fine. 80+ tackles to warm up his rookie year- butler will shine.

  • JoseSD

    What’s a “Typical Polynesian build”?

    • Ambitoos

      Built like a brick shithouse.

      • JoseSD

        Especially the women

  • Alter Ego

    I’m very comfortable with Manti. I especially like the obvious chip he has on his shoulder. It will be the teams that passed on him that will look back years from now and say…we could have had Te’o – what were we thinking.

  • Gunnar Martin

    Heart beats talent every time.

    Good news for our defense.