Yes folks, Saturday was Te’o Day. Finally we get to hear from the man himself what happened. No more coached interviews in safe environments.
This is media hordes gone wild!
Or at least that is what people were hoping for. Instead we got, according to 1500 ESPN Minnesota’s Tom Pelissero, 36 questions, 20 of which were the same old questions about the fake girlfriend, a handful about the Combine and two by Pelissero about the one thing which people should be concerned about—the awful collapse against Alabama.
With several months to prepare his responses, Te’o killed the ‘catfishing’ questions. Frankly, that’s not news. It would have been if he had whiffed those but of course he was well coached.
And of course he did well with the generic Combine questions as well.
However his response to “why did you play badly in the National Championship game” was garbage.
“That’s ’cause I didn’t. That’s all on me. I played hard, and so did my team….But Alabama had a great game plan and so did we. It’s just they executed better than we did.”
That was a professional non-answer and I dearly wish I was a fly on the wall for a team who heard it. Because “I didn’t play well” (no kidding) and “they played better” (again, no kidding) are not answers. I don’t even think they count as excuses.
I’m not saying I needed a film breakdown, but a little insight to how and why he struggled would have gone a long way towards making me feel better about drafting him.
Because I’ll tell you, that game? I look at that game and it’s bad. It’s bad enough to where I have some real doubts—one which overwhelm some other pretty good tape.
And yet I still think he could be a very good player—I’m just worried.
The non-answer was a dodge and maybe that’s fine—and maybe he got away with it because everyone was excited to talk about fake girlfriends—but I’d have liked to hear something substantial from him, something which went past the obvious.
Tell me you know what happened, tell me how you won’t have it happen again and remind me you’re a smart player who learns from adversity.
Right now, with all the boilerplate answers he gave today—especially to the one really valid and challenging question he got—I’m left with a lingering doubt that this guy knows for sure he can cut it at the Pro level.
One hopes the team who selects him gets a more satisfactory answer.
For those curious, I took part in three Google Chats today—on the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Check out the videos below. Could be some more tomorrow, will keep you posted.