At the midway point of organized team activities in May, safety Adrian Phillips relayed a brief piece of information regarding an undrafted free agent in the secondary.
“We’ve got a young safety right now, … he’s got three picks in two days,” Phillips said. “Three picks in two days. He’s turning himself into a Jack Boy. So, it’s coming.”
Nearly two weeks later, Tulane’s Roderic Teamer nabbed a pair of interceptions on day one of Chargers mandatory minicamp. Since his arrival to Hoag Performance Center, the rookie has used current resources and past experiences to impress coaches and teammates before summer break.
“We have a free agent that's making a lot of plays right now out there,” Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley said of Teamer. “He seems to be around the ball quite a bit. That's what you hope to see, the guys that understand the defense so that you can see their instincts.”
When Teamer first opened the Chargers’ defensive playbook, he said he noticed how similar the scheme and terminology was to Tulane’s. He explained that the way his college coaches challenged him with installs has served him well in his first month as a pro.
Take a look at some of the top practice photos as the Bolts take the field for Day 2 of Minicamp.
In 46 games with the Green Wave, Teamer totaled 197 tackles, 15 passes defensed and three interceptions. At 6-foot-0, 205 pounds, he describes himself as a physical player, but said it’s his ability to adapt and learn that’s benefited him most early on.
“They threw a lot at us from rookie minicamp until now, and it’s just so you can get accustomed to it and be able to show your true speed,” Teamer said. “That’s what Coach Gus talks about all the time, as well as Coach [Anthony] Lynn. They talk about whenever you know what you’re doing, you can show your true talent and show them how fast you really can play.”
The knowledge required to develop into an NFL player goes beyond studying the playbook each evening. Teamer said he’s spent the last month asking several questions to Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus and Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Chris Harris.
He’s also leaned on All-Pro safeties Derwin James and Phillips – a fellow UDFA – to help translate his learnings onto the field.
“I talk to a lot of my friends who play for other teams and are in my similar situation, and they talk about how the vets don’t really help them,” Teamer said. “Since we got here, the vets have had nothing but open arms for us and they help us like we’ve been here for two years, three years. So, that’s been extremely helpful for me.”
Playing special teams is all but a prerequisite for an undrafted rookie. The appropriately named Teamer had two blocked kicks at Tulane. He said the third phase of the game “is when you really get to play football.”
When Los Angeles reconvenes on July 25, Teamer will have his chance to compete for a role on the 2019 Chargers. True evaluations take place in the summer, but foundations are built in the spring.
“It’s always good to gather momentum and get ready for training camp when the real football starts,” Teamer said. “Coming into training camp and being able to kind of feel like you’re a step ahead – not feeling like you’re still learning – feeling like you’re just playing and trying to perfect your craft and get better.
“It’s all about being a craftsman. … Coach Gus always says, ‘You never got it, you can always improve,’ and that’s something I try to focus on.”