Expectations for San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te’o



San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te’o played all of last season with a foot injury and had to have surgery on the foot in order to repair the injury. He is going into this coming season with better health and with a better understanding of the league. He made mistakes on the field last season, but began to play better later in the year.

“Any time somebody has something wrong with them, it’s going to affect them to a certain degree,” Te’o said, acknowledging the foot issue slowed him down. “For me, I did everything that I could do. I did everything I was asked to do, and everything to the best of my ability. And now we’ll see in season two how I do now.” – ESPN

The expectations are going to be much higher in the second season. The injury excuse will be gone and it will be time for him to produce. He has something to prove.

“(I had) a lot of beginner’s mistakes,” Te’o said. “But the best thing about that is there’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m looking forward to this year, just getting together with my teammates again, and having a year under my belt on the field and with the playbook.” – ESPN

He has the tools and the instincts to make an impact for the defense. We will see what kind of work he has done in the offseason to prep for the coming season. We needed him to get stronger and we will want him to get more aggressive attacking the football. The defense needs to improve this year and it will start with the development of the talent that is already on the roster.

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  • Derek

    I expect him to be STRONGER, no more bouncing off rb’s and being engulfed by linemen. we need him to shoot the gap as soon as he sees it flush out the rb worst case scenario ur just a guy in the backfield making the rb turn up sooner than later making butlers job easier….. unless its a sweep/toss

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      exactly… we need him to make the tackle and not completely whiff on em

    • Stefanie Smith

      Not trying to stir the pot, but to me, he looks sort of small compared to other NFL players. I know it is all relative. Maybe my outlook was affected by some sports writer saying that T’eo gets swallowed up by the NFL level of players and the speed of the game. He had such a huge impact in college. Hopefully, he will have a good impact for the Chargers.

      • Brett M

        He’s actually the exact same size as Butler- 6’1 240, but I think he played small and timid at times. When he plays with more confidence like I think he will next year I think he’ll be perceived a little differently

        • Stefanie Smith

          Maybe that is it.

      • Daniel Sutter

        I agree that Te’o has a smaller look to him. I think the foot injury not only hindered the rookie learning curve and his play on the field, but also growing his young body under nfl strenght and conditioning coaches. Rookies always tend to get a little bigger/stronger under these programs and that was slowed a little. I wouldnt be surprised to see them bulk him up another 10lbs or so this year to help with that getting pushed around.

  • NateLew

    I was pretty discouraged by the lack of athleticism I saw from him last season. Obviously that foot injury had to slow him down though, and for a player who’s strength is supposedly his instincts, being timid with a shaky foot probably nullifies those strengths a lot. If he can stop hesitating, get comfortable with the playbook and snag a couple picks this year I’ll be more than satisfied. Won’t be buying his jersey though.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      it will be huge if he can play up to his potential… hoping he gets up to that level this season.

  • Julien Bélair

    I will be bold and say this : I expect to play 16 games and the playoffs games(yes we will be in the playoffs) and by the end of the season?he will make more impact on the field than Butler

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      BOLD

    • Marcel West-Bailey

      I don’t think it’s THAT crazy. I’m not entirely sure Butler is worth the contract he got.

      • Stefanie Smith

        Just a little bit whacky? lol I am joking, I agree about the Butler contract. Maybe it was a little overboard, but thank our lucky stars, TT did not pull an AJ. It would have been another spot to look for. Plus, we establish some continuity. Guy better perform is all I can say.

        But that is an interesting topic. If we had let Butler go, who would we have picked up? How would we fill that position alternatively?

        • Marcel West-Bailey

          Lol not at all. But I do think Te’o has a higher ceiling than Butler and I don’t think it’ll take him long to get there.

          • Julien Bélair

            I couldn’t said it better myself.

        • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

          the linebacker that we signed from the Colts, Kavell Conner, probably would have been our answer

          • Stefanie Smith

            Okay then. Then getting Butler signed was smart, yes?

          • Sergio Quintero

            Maybe, if he plays most of the games and can still improve, then its a yes absolutely, if this is the ceiling then no.

            Lets remember Weddle took his game to another level after he signed his contract, there were doubts then if that was a good deal, so they are definitely betting on him improving his game.

          • Julien Bélair

            and we have to remember that he needs to play well to earn the lucrative last years

          • Julien Bélair

            haha

    • Tazzster

      I don’t see this happening. Butler is pretty good… when healthy and on the field. I still dont think we have seen Butler’s ceiling.

      • Sergio Quintero

        Sorry have to edit this one, was referring to Teo.

      • Julien Bélair

        We didn’t but remember that we might never see it….

  • Sergio Quintero

    I expect him to be the player he was compared to in the draft process Paul Posluszny, which is a rock solid 90-110 tackle, doesn’t make many game changing plays, but trustworthy solid player.

    • NateLew

      Exactly, key is where he makes those tackles though. I’m not his biggest fan but he got 61 tackles in 13 games last season with a foot injury, wouldn’t be surprised to see him reach 90-110. But as an offensive coordinator vs us, would you run to the right vs JJ and Kendall Reyes, left vs Melvin and Liuget or up the middle on Lissemore and Te’o? Plays are designed to come to him, just depends if a healthier Te’o and Butler can come make these plays at the LOS instead of catch-tackling.

      • Sergio Quintero

        He’s definitely getting action headed his direction early in the season, to see if:
        - He’s gotten faster at reading run plays, and is actually willing to shoot gaps?
        - Has he gotten stronger to get off blocks, and play with physicality?
        - Will he show more force in tackles and actually run though people?

        These will determine an okay to a good player or better with him.

  • Sergio Quintero

    I want to see that sometimes magic that Teo showed in college, were his instincts take him to a spot that he shouldn’t be there, to make that clutch INT, or make that quick decision up a running lane for a big tackle for loss, he’s smart enough and hard worker enough that he can exceed his physical skill set.

    He seemed to be thinking instead of reacting, I still think he will be a solid ILB that can be trusted for 6-12 tackles a game.

    • Julien Bélair

      then bring him Nix

      • Daniel Sutter

        With Teo, Butler, Freeney, Ingram, and JJ all healthy I bet we see a lot of 4-3 sets this year. Too much talent in that LB corp not to employ more of those sets. Especially since Freeney is a beast playing from DE…

      • arnie

        ^This. A lack of production at NT was an issue for them last season. It effected the rest of the defense.

        • Julien Bélair

          you’ll like my weekly mock draft then

      • Marcel West-Bailey

        Don’t count on it.

    • Daniel Sutter

      We need to see that magic. I want to take my #50 bowder blue out and wear it proud this year. Its been sitting in the closet too long lol…

  • BoltNative

    Perhaps we’ll see Pagano keep Teo in on 3rd downs more often now to see how he does in coverage.

    • Julien Bélair

      He has to ! I think Teo can become one of the best 3rd down ILB

      • arnie

        He got his hands on the ball a few times. He picked it off 7 times in his senior year.

        • Julien Bélair

          exactly

    • Daniel Sutter

      Must let him play all 3 downs. He was good in coverage in college. Sure he got burnt last year a few times but imo that was because he was still learning to trust his insticts in the next level. This year we will see that change and Im sure he’ll be a good 3 down LB when given the chance.

  • ioane

    My expectations for Te’o is HIGH. I fully expect to take a big step forward in year 2 much like Butler did coming off an injury of his own. I hope our D-line plays a lot better than they did last season, because if the D-line improves, so will the rest of the D.

  • arnie

    I say it was a 4th round pick well spent.

  • Cgoodness13

    I expect more swatted passes

  • MachoMenos

    The guy played the entire year on a broken foot. Any doubts i had about this young man are gone.

  • 21serg

    Bring in nix damm I think I like nix more then any corner now idk why

    • BoltNative

      I was watching film on several NTs last night and Nix stands out over and over. His addition and familiarity with Teo would help both Teo and Butler out as well as the rest of the DL to not only stop the run but add pressure during the pass. But, after Nix, serviceable NTs drops off quickly. We need a CB too and if we choose in the 1st round and miss on Nix, then we should scramble to get someone like Daniel McCullers (watch his film) or maybe DaQuan Jones. I beg the Chargers not to “bandaid” the NT position this draft.