Yesterday's big news involved 49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes coming to agreeing to a three year contract with the San Diego Chargers. Spikes will rejoin former 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky in the San Diego Chargers defense and will likely be able to blend right in down there given the similar defense.
Now the 49ers are looking at NaVorro Bowman as the likely TED in 2011. Scott McKillop and Keaton Kristick will battle him in training camp, but odds are high that Bowman will be the man next to Patrick Willis on Sundays. They could make a move in free agency to bring in another linebacker to compete, but I would be surprised if it was anything more than a depth guy.
If you do a google search for TED linebacker, the top two links are from Niners Nation. One was about a previous training camp battle, but the other was more valuable. A little over three years ago hoosierteacher from SB Nation's Broncos blog, Mile High Report, our Broncos blog, put together a rundown of keys to finding the right TED. Fittingly enough, it came a couple months before the 49ers decided to sign free agent Takeo Spikes for the first time.
It's interesting reading over that old report because while Spikes often got down in the trenches, he did a lot more than just clear the way for Patrick Willis. in describing keys to the TED, hoosierteacher provided three:
1. The player should not be expensive
2. He has to be physical (tough)
3. Despite not being a sexy role, the TED actually has to be pretty smart
NaVorro Bowman is an inexpensive player as a third round pick. Beyond that, he'll need to prove he can step into the new TED role. Although the 49ers are still using a 3-4 (for now pending further moves), one has to wonder what changes we'll see with a new defensive coordinator. Could it impact the role of the TED? Or did Takeo Spikes' play-making abilities sort of alter the role of the often more low-profile TED?