He was the Charger who, in particular, advised Roderic Teamer when the rookie joined the team in May as an undrafted free agent.
“He told me from the moment I got here that it doesn’t matter how you got here, it’s just the fact that you’re here,” Teamer recalled this week. “What matters is what you’re going to do now going forward.”
That wisdom came from Adrian Phillips, who also went undrafted coming out of college but has since forged an NFL career that last year saw him become an All-Pro on special teams.
Going forward, Teamer is set to replace Phillips in a Chargers secondary that has been beset by injury. He’s expected to make his NFL debut Sunday against Houston as the starting strong safety. Phillips suffered a broken arm last weekend against Detroit.
“I was really upset when Adrian got hurt,” Teamer said. “But I told him, ‘I’m going to hold it down for you until you can return.’ That’s what I plan on doing.”
Phillips already was an injury replacement, filling in for Derwin James, who is on injured reserve after having foot surgery in August.
Teamer, 22, stood out in the preseason but missed the first two games because of a hamstring problem. He was officially removed from the injury report Friday and now will take the next step — a leap right into the starting lineup.
“He’s a very intelligent player,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “He has very good instincts. I think when he came in … he really stood out because he seemed to be around the ball a lot. He made a lot of plays on the ball or the ball finds him.”
Bradley praised Teamer’s studious nature, noting that he typically sits up front during meetings and takes “meticulous notes.”
He said Phillips, who often is cited by teammates for his comprehensive understanding of the defense, has had an impact on Teamer in that regard as well.
“I’ve been real focused, doing what I’ve got to do in practice, trying to make sure I gain the trust of not only the coaches but my teammates,” Teamer said. “I don’t want those guys going into the game thinking they have to overcompensate for anything. I want them to know I can hold my own.”
If Teamer struggles against the Texans, coach Anthony Lynn suggested the Chargers would replace him with starting free safety Rayshawn Jenkins and insert Jaylen Watkins in Jenkins’ spot.
Coming out of Tulane, Teamer wasn’t invited to the NFL combine. He decided to sign with the Chargers because they were the first team to reach out to his representatives with a potential free-agent offer, doing so late in the draft.
“This is what I’ve been talking about my whole life,” said Teamer, whose parents will make the trip from Louisiana to be at Dignity Health Sports Park. “I’ve always believed in myself and my circle has always believed in me and what I could do. All we’ve ever talked about is getting an opportunity. Now I’m getting a chance. I won’t back down from it one bit.”
Along with the losses at safety, the Chargers will again play Sunday without starting cornerback Michael Davis, who suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener.
Brandon Facyson will make his second start in place of Davis. Facyson struggled at times in Week 1 when Indianapolis made a point of going after him. Against the Lions, his coverage was tighter and more consistent.
“I think he’s a guy that’s going to continue to improve every week,” Lynn said. “He really has no choice because people are going to challenge him.”
The Chargers defense will receive a boost with linebackers Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown returning to more active roles. Both have been slowed by ankle injuries.
Perryman, especially, should help clog the middle. He’ll take some of the snaps that have been going to Kyzir White. Last year, Brown typically played in dime packages and on special teams.
“Kyzir is doing a heck of a job, but he’s got a lot to learn,” Lynn said. “He’s still learning. Now that Denzel is up to speed, we’re going to get him back in there because we’re different when he’s in the game versus the run.”
Barring a setback, kicker Michael Badgley is expected to return Sunday after missing the first two games because of a groin issue.
“It’s still a game-time decision,” Lynn said. “We’ll kick him in pregame and see how he feels. But I was much more encouraged by him this week.”
Center Mike Pouncey also was removed from the injury report after missing practice Thursday with what the Chargers listed as a shoulder problem. Lynn clarified Friday that Pouncey was just given a rest day.
When Lance Kendricks came to Costa Mesa to work out for the Chargers this week, he didn’t have far to go. The former Ram is still living in Calabasas.
In his ninth season, Kendricks, 31, signed and will be the Chargers’ third tight end. He spent the past two seasons with Green Bay and opened this year with New England.
“Feels good to be back in L.A.,” Kendricks said, “and get another opportunity to play ball.”
Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have been dealing with knee issues. But both were off the injury report Friday. … Linebacker Thomas Davis has 26 total tackles, which led the NFL through the first two weeks.