Contradicting remarks by San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco, head coach Mike McCoy expects former Notre Dame Fighting Irish star Manti Te’o to lineup on three downs from the outset this season.
Taken with the 38th pick in last month’s draft, the 22-year-old Te’o inked a four-year contract worth in excess of $5 million on Friday.
The 6-foot-1, 241 pound Te’o is slated to start at inside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme.
“Our plan is for him to play three downs, and when we scouted him, we believed that’s what he’d be,” said McCoy, 41, who succeeded the second-rate Norv Turner in January. “But he’ll have to earn that, obviously. If he’s the best guy on all three downs, he’ll be in there.”
Removed from a disappointing 7-9 campaign in the AFC West with the 16th ranked defense in the league, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s wet dream will prove to be a wise hire by San Diego.
Running the 40-yard dash in a mediocre 4.82 seconds at the Scouting Combine in February, Te’o is a relatively average athletic specimen who couldn’t astound observers during workouts.
Regardless, as the Heisman Trophy runner-up and winner of every major defensive player of the year award in 2012, Lennay Kekua’s banging companion relies on intangibles and football smarts to flourish on the gridiron.
Never to be confused with Lawrence Taylor, Te’o is a solid tackler and leader who should thrive as a Bolt in a small market.
Although naïve and possibly an utter jackass, Manti Te’o will manage to “earn” respect as a Charger in “America’s Finest City.”by