Time for Manti Te'o to Make Impact Plays


How will Manti Te’o do this season? His rookie season had its ups and downs. He had moments where he looked lost and out of his league, but he cleaned some things up toward the end of the season gaining some confidence and started making meaningful plays.

Will he be able to build from last season? He has had the whole offseason to prepare. He didn’t get many opportunities in passing downs last year, which seemed like a questionable decision, but he could get that opportunity this time around. Te’o was good against the pass during his final year in college getting his hands on the football often. We will need that type of ability this year.

Will he get to be a 3-down linebacker? Kavell Conner was brought in during free agency to give him a little push and to bring some depth, just in case Te’o or Donald Butler goes down with an injury. He likely will get his opportunities to get on the field as well.

Te’o has to step his game up. He played last season through a foot injury, which then needed surgery at the end of the year. That had to hinder him a bit during the year. He won’t have any excuses to start out the year. He is healthy and ready to make an impact.

There were moments last season where he was overmatched. There were moments in which he was hesitant. There were moments where he was a few steps too slow. After a whole season in the league, the expectations will be higher. We need to see the impact plays from him. We need to see the interception, the tackles behind the line of scrimmage, the forced fumbles. We need him to be an impact on the field. He has that type of ability.

Tom Telesco saw things that he loved in Te’o and made the move up in the 2nd round in order to select his guy. This season is where Te’o proves to be a valuable player in the Chargers defense. This season is where Te’o makes that impact that we wanted last season. The time is now.

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  • RZorn

    The defense over all will be improved this season,and Manti will be one of those players that will be a pleasant surprise. I think he does well this year.GO BOLTZ!!

  • Stefanie Smith

    Yep. I was one of the fans that thought Manti would be a distraction and be a buffoon (Manziel level buffoon). I was wrong. I think he has grown up a lot and learned a lot. He’s been quiet and learning more. This year should tell us a lot. My bet is that he is improved.

    • BoltNative

      We need that run defense shored up. Here’s to stopping the RB for 1-3 yards or negative yards instead of the average of 5 yards for run plays last year. So if he stays healthy, I think he will improve. Especially if we get better DE and NT play this year, a real question mark in my mind.

      • arnie

        I think we will get better play, the concerns me is will we get better schemes. for goodness sake, move the LB around and attack the weaknesses in the blocking scheme. pags line the. up I. the same spot on every down.

  • Sergio Quintero

    I don’t think he’ll ever be star, but I think this season will be the first of many solid 100 tackle seasons, I always thought Te’o’s comparables were guys like James Laurinitis & Paul Pouzlouzny, he will be reacting rather than thinking more this season, and that should result in more big plays, and whole lot more of making the tackle and doing his job plays.

    At the same time I think we should have some reasonable expectations on his ceilling, and that is probably quite far from Patrick Willis & Navarro Bowman.

    • arnie

      Well that’s the thing Sergio, stars usually play at a high level consistently. now I agree I don’t think he will be Bowman or Willis but players like that are rare. we just need Te’o to be what he was brought in for a versatile smart football player.
      With that said, that could make him a star alone. At least for me, in this town.

      • Sergio Quintero

        It comes down to the definition of star, in pro bowl consideration is my definition of star (in the productivity department), so Te’o for me will be a step below that, but I expect him to be solid do his job linebacker for a long time.

    • afroamongfew

      If only we had taken Bowman instead of Butler in that draft. Oh well.

      • Sergio Quintero

        Coulda shoulda wouda, I torment myself if the cowboys had taken Shawne Merriman over DeMarcus Ware, the chargers would have a championship by now, or if the chargers had taken Clay Mathews instead of Larry English or Brandon Flowers instead of Antoine Cason, are the other picks that torment my fandom.

        The reality these are the cards and they have to play them.

        • afroamongfew

          The funny thing about Matthews and English is that Matthews can’t stay healthy either, so that wouldn’t have been a huge change (though the increase in sack numbers would have been nice).

          • Sergio Quintero

            Matthews at least had a few healthy season to start his career, a Clay Matthews might have been the missing piece in the ’09-10 team, oh well it is what it is.

  • CALiFORNiAkiD

    Manti’s rookie season reminded me a lot of Corey Liuget.

    I remember fans calling him a bust and hated AJ for drafting him.

    Look how that turned out.

    • afroamongfew

      Fine?

      I mean, we could have worse at DE (obviously), but it’s not like Liuget is lighting up opposing defenses and getting 10 sacks a year. Not that it’s necessarily his fault, as he’d probably be more productive in a 4-3 or 1-gap situations, but given the amount of nickel we play I doubt we’ll ever see “first round pick” numbers from Liuget.

      • CALiFORNiAkiD

        12.5 sacks last two seasons. And about a dozen tripped balls.
        You acted like he’s in his prime.

        I swear to many dumb Charger fans lately!!

        • afroamongfew

          I don’t know how proving me right in terms of “Liuget has never had a double digit sack season” makes me dumb. Also, it’s “too many” not “to many”, you fucking moron.

          The point I’m making is that Liuget has a lot more left to prove, especially when JJ Watt, Calais Campbell and Cameron Jordan (among others) are out-performing him at his position.

          The way you phrased your post gives the impression that Liuget went from being called a bust to some kind of superstar, when the reality of the situation is much more complicated than that. Liuget needs to get healthy and improve in the run game as well, because until we get out of the bottom third of the league at defending the run, that reflects poorly on him. Much more so than the sack totals.

          • CALiFORNiAkiD

            You’re not being objective. What part about he was hurt do you not understand?

            Last season he was hurt, had a horrible NT, no pass rushers and no secondary to give him time. He was hurt and had absolutely NO HELP!! NO HELP!!

            He did nothing during his rookie season. But had 7 sacks, 9 tip passes and contributed to the 6th best run defense during his second. Because HE HAD HELP!!

            Now factor in all the obstacles he faced last season and you’d understand the slip in production.

            You’re not objective and you have absolutely no common sense.
            A common trait idiots share.

          • ArmyGIJoe

            You can’t argue with a ignorant nerd. It’s too not to lmao. Dumbass anfroamongfew.

          • ArmyGIJoe

            Lmao it’s too many not to many. Retard you knew what cali kid was talking about. You’re the one looking like a stupid ass.

      • Tyreece Kaete Sr.

        Are you serious? Does not menr to get sacks as a 3-4DE hes ment to stuff holes and shut down the run…you do know the difference between a 3-4 & 4-3?

        • afroamongfew

          Don’t patronize me. By multiple objective measures, the Chargers were terrible at stopping the run last year: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef

          And, specifically, the defensive line struggled to stop/contain the run: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef

          If you look at Liuget’s responsibility (LDE) that puts him at 25th in the league in run stops. I’d expect a lot better than that out of a former first round pick, especially one being touted as some kind of unquestionable superstar by the first person’s comment.

          • Kyle Congdon

            We understand the drop in production, but you’ve got to realize that he didn’t have a random injury. He played through a torn labrum, meaning for the average person you have no strength and can’t put your arm upward. Most people would have it in a sling or something. Luiget played against 300lb. monsters and pushed them back. I believe he led the team in sacks, while being doubled teamed since he was the only threat on the line, and if you watched the games did hold his own against multiple blockers… but yeah he needs to step his game up, there’s no excuse for his poor play

  • BoltNative

    I’m rooting for Teo. I think he’s just a good guy overall. I’d like to see him more on 3rd downs as well. But, wouldn’t it be interesting to see Melvin Ingram play ILB once in a while?

    • Sergio Quintero

      I think you might see Ingram at DT before you see him at ILB, the lack of talented pass rushing DT’s on this roster is something to look out for.

      • BoltNative

        Sergio, I’m liking it! In college he was used as a DT as well. Maybe something like Attaochu/Law/etc., Reyes, Ingram, Freeney rushing the passer with Teo dropping back etc.

        • Sergio Quintero

          As they say the new base defense is the Nickel defense which is used at around 55-70% of the time, in that defense Liuget & Reyes play the DT’s, but if they are getting a blow or get injured, the backup DT’s that will be rushing the passer are Scafe, Guy, Lissemore, Palepoi and maybe some scrub I don’t know yet, not exactly a murderer row’s of skill.

          As you mentioned Ingram played a whole lot of DT his senior season, playing him there is a nice way of maximizing the talent on the field, and keeping Liuget & Reyes fresh.

          • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

            the sad part…. this makes too much sense and there are a number of times where J.Pags has not made the most sense in his decisions.

          • Sergio Quintero

            I watch Rex Ryan’s & Dick Lebeau run their amoeba schemes, everybody standing up defenses, and then I look at the 4 man rush, 7 man back, man on man stuff of the chargers and I so jealous of having those DC’s. You know Pags, sometimes you can create a free rushers by confusing the blocking scheme, that is possible.

          • Derek

            I think that’s gonna get him on ir by mid season esp in NFC west. There’s a reason linemen take atleast a yr on average to develop. I think it’s better giving him space and one on ones with lt or hb

          • arnie

            You know pags can’t run a 3-4. his schemes are vanilla

          • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

            he cant run a D… PERIOD

          • arnie

            I REALLY need to be wrong about this. Unfortunately…

      • Calman21

        He would need to gain some serious weight to be a DT in a 3-4. He is listed at 265. All of our current DTs are north of 300 lbs. Even our dbs have a good 25-30 lbs on him. He is a OLB…he has the speed, he just needs time to develop further.

        • Sergio Quintero

          Just for pass rushing purposes, no downs whatsoever in base defense, just obvious passing situations, and just spot duty. Think the downs Antwan Barnes used to play for the chargers, they avoided like the plague having him play run downs.

          Think of Ingram at DT as a gimmick 5-10 play situation, as a way to get Attaochu, Freeney and him on the field at the same time. Remember the Giants used Justin Tuck at DT as a gimmick player very effectively in their super bowl win vs. Patriots.

          • Calman21

            Fair enough.

    • Derek

      Melvin at this point should be a wild card I hope to see him get reps switching with butler to give a blitzing look that’s y I thought we got him qb mind games at sc his best skill was getting attention from qbs y can’t watch him and Donald and Eric so mistakes ensued.

  • Jordan

    I have faith te’o. Breakout player on D???

  • Jordan

    O yah, what happened to chargers buzz tap twitter?

  • Amos Mikaele

    Hopefully Manti’s career will pan out in comparison to Zach Thomas. Solid.

  • Marcel West-Bailey

    BRANDON FLOWERS WILL BE ON FIRST TAKE THIS MORNING! I REPEAT. BRANDON FLOWERS WILL BE ON FIRST TAKE THIS MORNING!

  • Adam

    I miss Ron Rivera. :(

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      i miss wade phillips

  • diomar espinal

    i think Manti might have to truly battle for his starting spot this year. I dont know if people are aware but Kavell Conner was a tackling machine for the colts unfortunately he couldnt stay healthy which is why he was let go. But if he can stay healthy i think he will outperform Manti in camp for the starting spot. Im also hoping the entire coaching staff puts the best talent we have out there from day one and not the guy whose been here the longest. I say that because last year i felt we gave guys alot of chances and they didnt perform to the point that it hurt us. For example, we gave VB alot of time last year to prove himself and he did nothing all season, towards the end of the season we plugged Eddie royal in as a starter on the outside and we got instant results. Example number 2. would deff be Ladarius. We had an explosive player on the sidelines the whole year who made a huge difference anytime he stepped foot on the turf and we werent able to see it consistently till the end of the season. This is one thing our coaching staff must shore up i feel. It might sound crude to the veterans but at the end of the day its about winning so put the best possible talent out there who will help us do that.