According to Larry Mayer of Chicagobears.com, FS Danieal Manning will get the start on Sunday over Kevin Payne.
Here’s what Mayer said on his blog this afternoon:
Danieal Manning told reporters after practice Friday that he expects to start at free safety in Sunday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The fourth-year pro opened training camp at that position, but missed the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Kevin Payne.
“I’m excited,” Manning said. “It’s a great opportunity. I’m quite sure [the Steelers] are going to throw deep a lot, especially with me coming back from a hammy injury.”
The plan at the outset of training camp was for Manning to start at free safety and then move to the nickel back position in passing situations. He played the nickel in last Sunday night’s season opener in Green Bay, registering four tackles and sacking Aaron Rodgers in the end zone for a safety on a well-timed blitz.
Playing that dual role on Sunday against Pittsburgh is something that Manning would welcome.
“I’m not missing any reps and I’m not getting any added reps,” he said. “It’s just I’m playing free safety and from free safety I go to nickel. It’s just a mental thing.”
Manning sat out practice with a sore back Wednesday and was limited Thursday before practicing without restrictions Friday. He was injured late in Sunday night’s loss when he got drilled by teammate Lance Briggs.
“Physically, I feel good,” said Manning, who’s listed as probable on the injury report. “I’m still a little sore, but it’s nothing that I can’t play through. If you want to grade me at a percentage, I’m 100 percent.”
Expect Danieal Manning to be used as nickel back as well as free safety in this game, and when Manning is used as a nickelback, Kevin Payne will be back at the free safety spot.