Manti Te’o: The leader, the playmaker and the future

By Sam Kweon
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When people talk about the San Diego Chargers defense, names like Eric Weddle, Brandon Flowers, Corey Liuget, and Jason Verrett pop up. Fans firmly believe that the middle linebacker spot is one of the weaker, if not weakest, part of the defense.

Only two of the 50 defensive previews included a mention of Manti Te’o.


Because Donald Butler had a terrible past season and he’s the only one that fans can talk about. Butler was hyped up to be one of the best middle linebackers in 2014, especially after signing a huge contract.

I conducted a research, where I asked 50 Charger fans to write up a defensive preview of 2015. Almost all of them had phrases like these:

  • “Jason Verrett, if healthy, will turn the Chargers secondary into one of the best”
  • “Corey Liuget is set to break out”
  • “Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu will have to have a great season and provide a steady pass rush”
  • “Health is the main key”
  • “Flowers and Weddle ensure a great secondary”
  • “Donald Butler must be back in his form”

Guess how many mentioned Manti Te’o? Two.

Te’o is going into this season with less hype than any other starter on the defense. Before we get to why I’m even trying to start excitement, let’s go from the beginning.