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Mike McCoy: Manti Te'o can be every-down linebacker

  • By Kevin Patra
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When the San Diego Chargers take the field for Organized Team Activities on Monday morning, linebacker Manti Te'o will take his place with the starting unit.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that the Chargers expect Te'o to be a three-down linebacker, slotting him alongside veteran Donald Butler.

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"Our plan is for him to play three downs, and when we scouted him, we believed that's what he'd be,'' McCoy said. "But he'll have to earn that, obviously. We're going to play the best guys, and if he's the best guy on all three downs, he'll be in there.''

After getting destroyed by the Alabama Crimson Tide in his final college game, many scouts had serious questions about Te'o's ability to be an every-down linebacker. He'll at least get a chance to prove himself in San Diego.

As for the fake girlfriend, McCoy said he expects Te'o to hear about it early, then the incident will fade into the distance like a San Diego setting sun.

"He hasn't been around the vets yet,'' McCoy said. "Players will be players. They'll have their fun. I'm not worried about it. Manti's one of ours, and we're going to have a strong team that way. He's going to fit in well."

McCoy, the Denver Broncos offensive coordinator last season, told King he plans to give Te'o and the entire Chargers defense some advice for how to approach playing against Peyton Manning, who they will face in Weeks 10 and 15.

"He's going to make lots of plays, and he's going to fool you,'' McCoy said. "Don't get caught up in all of that. Peyton's going to embarrass you and expose you. He does it to everyone. You've just got to hang in there, play your assignment. You'll make plays. Don't make it more than it is."

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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