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Mailbag: Filling in for Freeney, Manti Te'o's Debut

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Check out this week's edition of Ricky Henne's Fan Mailbag.

Q: Who is going to step up on defense and create a pass rush with Freeney gone? – Jordan Grossman

A: Like Head Coach Mike McCoy said on Monday, losing a player of Dwight Freeney’s caliber is a big blow.  The obvious answer would be Larry English, Tourek Williams and Thomas Keiser since they will be the ones lining up in Freeney’s position. But the real answer in my mind is that there isn’t just one player or position group that needs to step up but the entire defense must.  The defensive line has to build off a two-sack effort against the Cowboys and get more pressure while the secondary has to be strong in coverage to allow the rushers to get to the QB.  So to me, it will be a total team effort.

 

Q: Not a question but I love the locker room victory speeches you guys are putting on the site.  Love the access, and McCoy got me amped up dude.  Best part to me was he thanked his coaches for a good game plan and for preparing the team.  Class move on his part.  They deserve a lot of credit – Paul Coleman

A: A lot of fans checked in to say they liked Head Coach Mike McCoy’s speech, which I happen to agree was great, but I like how Paul made mention of McCoy crediting the coaching staff.   With many starters out, the team didn’t miss a beat.  While credit certainly goes to the players, the coaches deserve praise as well.  An anecdote that best sums up the coaching staff in my view is how with three starters down along the O-Line, McCoy said Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris came up to him early in the week and told him not to worry, they would get the job done.  And they did.    


Q: Thoughts on Manti Te’o’s first NFL game? I thought we’d see him play more on the field. – Garrett Diamond

A: I liked what I saw from the rookie.  He was very active and disruptive on the first drive of the game and finished up with three tackles.  I thought the coaching staff put him in the right situations for his first NFL game.  Overall, my thoughts align with what Head Coach Mike McCoy said about Te’o’s first game:

“He did a nice job. We weren’t sure how many snaps he was going to get because of their personnel grouping, whether they were going to be in 11 personnel or play more base personnel, so we were going to monitor him as the game went along and he did a nice job for the first time getting in there. He was excited to get back out there and I think the number of reps, he probably would have liked a few more, but because of the personnel groupings we were in he got what he got.”


Q: Is Raiders Week as important for the players as it is for the fans? – Tim Karas-Newell

A: Yes it is.  Anytime the team faces a division opponent it ratchets things up a notch, but there is something about the Raiders rivalry that makes it even more intense.  McCoy called it a “professional hatred” while Nick Hardwick said it’s a “special week that gets a little extra special attention.”

Q: 8:35 start?  Really?  That doesn’t seem fair. – Jim Pratt

A: It really doesn’t matter what time the team plays, they will make the necessary adjustments and be ready for it.  The Raiders are in the same boat, so there’s no advantage on their end in terms of the late start time.  Late start or not, the coaching staff and players aren’t focused on the time change but instead are busy getting ready to take care of business in Oakland.

Now, you can stay in touch with the team anytime, anywhere, on your mobile device with the official app of the San Diego Chargers.
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