Danieal Manning started at free safety for the Bears his rookie season, 2007.
The Bears used him last season as a nickelback and a kick returner. They plan on using him as a kick returner, a nickelback and a free safety.
According to chicagosuntimes.com,
“Manning will open training camp in Friday’s 3 p.m. practice at free safety, a position he spent exactly zero time at during the offseason program. Kevin Payne will be the starter at strong safety with Craig Steltz challenging him. Manning will slide to the nickel cornerback role he played last season in passing situations. In the nickel package, Steltz will be at free safety.”
I really like this idea because I know Craig Steltz is a natural strong safety and Danieal Manning is so athletic.
Lovie Smith had this to say about Danieal:
“Danieal is getting more of the concept of this defense and his overall football knowledge has improved a lot, sometimes it takes players a while before they really get it and I think Danieal has gotten it where it all makes sense to him, and that’s why we’re putting him in this role right now.”
“I’ve heard people talk about the different positions Danieal has played, but that only helps you. He knows exactly what it feels like to play [corner, safety and nickel]. He’s played every position in the secondary. That’s helped his football knowledge and is going to make him a better free safety.”
Lovie Smith also declared second year player Zackary Bowman the starter across from Nathan Vasher in training camp. Bowman gets the spot over Corey Graham because Graham has been playing free safety this offseason.
Lovie Smith said this about Bowman:
“Every day it seemed like I was talking about some big play that he was making, and even if it wasn’t a big play, he was doing what we were teaching him to do. But that’s all without contact and all those things. Now we go to the next phase. But we like what he’s done so far.”
all quotes from chicagosuntimes.com