Te'o-Nesheim embraces chance at starting role
Buccaneers defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, elevated to the starting right defensive end spot on the depth chart Tuesday, is ready for the challenge, knowing it'll be difficult to replace injured DE Adrian Clayborn.
"You want to be able to get out there and show you can play, and prove to your coaches and teams across the NFL that you're a dude," Te'o Nesheim said, smiling.
Te'o-Nesheim, a third-round pick by the Eagles in 2010, has made just two NFL starts, but has seen action in all three games for the Bucs this season, including stepping in for Clayborn in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys. Coach Greg Schiano said he's liked what he's seen out of Te'o-Nesheim, how much he's improved and developed since the offseason.
"Daniel is a good football player, and I've been very impressed with his development since we arrived," Schiano said. "As I've always said to the guys, one man's loss is another man's opportunity, and that's the way the game is. I have a great deal of confidence in Daniel, I think he's going to play very well. He played some good football at Dallas (Sunday). I'm feeling good about Daniel, I hope he can keep doing it."
While Clayborn's intensity and pass-rushing ability will be tough to replicate, Te'o-Nesheim brings his own style.
"My effort is my thing," he said. "I'm not really super flashy or super strong, I just try to play hard."
Te'o-Nesheim said DT Gerald McCoy and DE Michael Bennett have been really helpful. So what does it take to be a "dude," as Te'o-Nesheim said?
"Watch Mike," he said.
Schiano also likes DE George Johnson, who will likely compete with Te'o-Nesheim during the week and could see some action on Sunday. The Bucs also signed free-agent DE Jeff Charleston, a sixth-year NFL veteran and member of the 2009 Saints Super Bowl team.
Charleston also hopes to come in and compete. His agent, who also works with Clayborn, told him to "be ready" on Monday, when Clayborn's MRI revealed Clayborn needed surgery. Charleston got the call from the Bucs Monday night at 7 p.m, told he had 45 minutes to catch a flight in New Orleans.
"I threw all my stuff in a duffel bag and jumped on a plane," he said. "It's a great opportunity."
LG Carl Nicks, who played with Charleston in New Orleans, gave his quick impression:
"A lot of intensity, a lot of effort," Nicks said. "His nickname is 'White Lightning,' that's all I got to say. He'll strike at any time."
-- JOE SMITH