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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    Updated: Sep. 21, 2006, 11:10 AM ET
    Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris
    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com

    Despite an undefeated record, and a defense that statistically ranks No. 5 in the NFL and has surrendered just seven points in two games, the Chicago Bears aren't standing pat. Seeking improvement, the Bears have elevated rookie Danieal Manning to starting free safety, where he will replace second-year veteran Chris Harris. The move was made at practice Wednesday, following Manning's two strong performances as a backup. He a second-round choice and the Bears' top selection in the 2006 draft.

    "We've seen Danieal make some good plays ... [and] we think he gives us the best chance to win," said coach Lovie Smith, whose team faces the surprising Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. "He's the best player at the position right now."

    Playing primarily in nickel situations in the first two games of the season, Manning notched three tackles. He flashed his playmaker skills by intercepting a pass on opening day, the first Chicago player since 1995 to record a theft in his debut, and also had another pass defensed in that game. Last week, the former Abilene Christian standout deflected a pass and made a solo tackle.

    This is the second consecutive year that the Bears have made a change at the No. 1 free safety position early in the season. Harris, a sixth-round pick in 2005, supplanted Mike Green at free safety in the second game last season and finished with 13 starts, 70 tackles and three interceptions.

    Smith went out of his way to explain that the change was not so much a reflection of Harris' performance, as it was an endorsement of Manning as a defender who has the potential to alter games at free safety.

    Said Manning, a former Division II player whose stock skyrocketed in the month preceding the draft: "I just feel like I'm playing with a lot of confidence now. I'm seeing things better and getting a good jump on the ball."

    Manning possesses coverage skills that are nearly at the cornerback level, so he can move out and match up with wide receivers in the slot in some packages. In college, Manning played a little cornerback, although his primary position was strong safety. Many scouts were uncertain what his best position at the NFL level would be.

    The Bears knew, though, that Manning was a playmaker and, after trading their first-round pick, chose him with the 42nd overall selection and signed him to a four-year, $2.975 million contract.

    At Abilene Christian, Manning had 159 tackles, two sacks, 11 interceptions, six forced fumbles and four recoveries in 30 games. He was also a standout on special teams, with four blocked kicks, and probably will continue to play on the Chicago kicking units.

    Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.


  2. #2
    TARKenton's Avatar
    TARKenton is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    Good.
    Maybe the newb will blow an assignment and let troy or travis into single coverage for a looooooong td!
    ...Rodgers had to hold on the ball longer, giving players like Jared "I am completely insane and will literally eat your children" Allen time to sack Rodgers again.And again. And again. Actually I think Rodgers may have nightmares about Jared Allen the rest of the year.

  3. #3
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    Cook the Rook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  4. #4
    thevikingfan's Avatar
    thevikingfan is offline Hall of Famer
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    Oh yeah!I smell blown coverages....or maybe thats just old cheese...

  5. #5
    Marrdro's Avatar
    Marrdro is offline Beware My Spreadsheet, Bitches!
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    Ol Lovie must be thinking we are gonna pass a bunch.
    Won't he be surprised when this "Safety with Cornerback skills" can't help stop the run.

    Charlie T all day long will soften him up.

    ;D
    Many many thanks to my talented friend Jos for the new Sig.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/josdin00/Vikings/Marrdro_sig.jpg

  6. #6
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    He intercepted a pass from Favre!
    That shouldn't even count!
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  7. #7
    Braddock's Avatar
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    I'm sure the reason he promoted the young gun is for speed. He wants someone to keep up with Twill as much as possible, hoping that Twill is drop the catch if there's at least someone close to him. Obviously, Twill has shown improvment in that, hopefully he keeps it up. If he does, we'll beat their secondary. If not, it's a wise move by Lovie.
    Trying to bring rationale to an irrational site

  8. #8
    Zeus's Avatar
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    "Braddock" wrote:
    I'm sure the reason he promoted the young gun is for speed. He wants someone to keep up with Twill as much as possible, hoping that Twill is drop the catch if there's at least someone close to him. Obviously, Twill has shown improvment in that, hopefully he keeps it up. If he does, we'll beat their secondary. If not, it's a wise move by Lovie.
    Is it any dumber than sitting Dwight Smith in Game 1 to put a ROOKIE out there as a starting safety?

    =Z=

    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

  9. #9
    Slade is offline Star Spokesman
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    The Bears only weakness on D is the speed of their secondary. Maybe this will help them out. Marcus & TWill are both nursing injuries, so hopefully they can pull through & put up some good numbers

  10. #10
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    Re: Bears to start rookie S Manning ahead of Harris

    i was just about to compare this to putting in blue over dwight, but i see Z already beat me to that, its not a bad move by lovie, he's seen the guy play a lot more than we have, lets just see who it pans out for us


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