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Te'o solid in preseason opener vs. Dallas

SAN DIEGO -- Much of the talk during the first two weeks of training camp for the San Diego Chargers has been the improved play of middle linebacker Manti Te'o.

Selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by San Diego, Te'o struggled through a nagging foot injury his rookie season. But after offseason surgery to fix a fractured foot, along with shedding a few pounds in order to play at a leaner 235, Te'o looked noticeably faster and more instinctive on the practice field.

And that type of effort continued at Qualcomm Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys. Te'o finished with three tackles in the opening drive against Dallas. He combined with Eric Weddle to make a nice stop for a 3-yard loss in the flat on a screen pass to running back Joseph Randle. And Te'o also did a nice job executing his run fits in the run game.

In his second season, Te'o appeared more comfortable in defensive coordinator's John Pagano's system, including staying on the field in San Diego's nickel passage in passing situations.

"One of my main goals is to be able to get out there on third down and do whatever the team needs me to do to win," Te'o said. "I'm gaining a lot of confidence each and every day, going through third downs and going through those passing downs -- we call them money downs.

"So for me to get the opportunity, and for Coach (Pagano) to trust me enough to put me out there, it means a lot to me. And for me to learn from my teammates -- from Eric and Donald (Butler) -- how better to play coverage, it definitely has helped me so much so far. I have a lot to work on, but the progress I've made so far, I'm really happy about it."