After 4 years in the NFL, and 4 years in the exact same system, you'd think a player would have a real solid hold on his playbook. Even if the player has moved around from safety to corner to nickleback and back a few times, after 4 years with the basic same playbook there has to be some sort of retention on his responsibilities regardless of position.
We at WCG like to kid around about DMS, and Danieal Manning has been yanked from position to position and back again, but at some point that should be a positive thing for a player. NFL teams are always wanting versatility from their players, and with Manning (by now) they should feel comfortable with him at either nickle or safety. All the continued talk of getting him comfortable at one position or the other makes me question his ability to learn his playbook.
I understood the Earl Bennett learning multiple receiver positions issues he had as a rookie. After all, he was a rookie. Manning has played four years of professional football. And while he'll be getting his 4th new defensive coordinator in 2010, the basic system is the same and the terminology hasn't changed. Yet every season, there is talk of settling Manning in at one position. I'm sorry, but the kid should be settled in by now at either position. He really never was at corner for very long, so he's only been shuttled from nickle to safety. And the Bears are always saying how their safeties are interchangeable so learning the free or the strong should come with the same learning curve.
What happened to your nickle back being a back up corner or safety anyway? Why is the nickleback a specialized position for the Bears. Most teams just use their 3rd corner or safety to play the position. NFL teams don't draft nicklebacks out of college, they draft corners and safeties. Why? Because, and I'll say it again, nickle, and dime backs for that matter, are your back up corners and safeties.
You cover, you drop into a zone, you come up for run support. True the angles vary depending on if you're doing these things from corner, safety, or the slot, but the basic fundamentals don't change. The fact that the coaching staff trots out the annual decree about finding a spot for Manning is telling. Maybe after playing in 61 career games with 40 starts they just aren't comfortable with him on the field. At all. Why else talk about it so much? As a returner they no doubt love what he can bring to the team, but in the secondary... maybe they just don't have any confidence in his ability. Then again... they do give us the Israel Idonije is shifting from to DT to DE and back again talk all the time as well, so maybe the coaches just like having a built in excuse in case their players fail.
I've never been a fan of enabling a player with a ready made excuse. You either get results or you make excuses, and I think it's time for the players and the coaches to start getting some results.