Just like the Bengals targeted him back in January, secondary coach Vance Joseph targeted Danieal Manning when the Texans signed two safeties a few weeks back and he anticipated their old team would let Manning go.
The deal came down Thursday and gives the Bengals an eight-year veteran that could start Opening Day opposite Reggie Nelson as well as potentially another kickoff returner. At 6-0, 205 pounds, Manning, who turns 32 in training camp, squeezes nicely into the Bengals scheme after playing in Joseph's secondary in Houston the last three years.
Joseph says Manning can play in the box as well as in high zones and he's comfortable lining him up in the slot as a nickel corner. Head coach Marvin Lewis always says the Bengals safeties have to play both free and strong and Joseph says Manning fits it all. A second-round pick of Lovie Smith's Bears in 2006 out of Abilene Christian, Manning is also adept playing in a Tampa 2 style.
He joins a secondary that is already steeped in experience and pedigree. Cornerbacks Terence Newman (35), Adam Jones (30), and Leon Hall (29) are all first-rounders, as is the 30-year-old Nelson. Manning has started 91 of his 112 NFL games and started the first six last year before his season ended with a broken leg.
"When we were in Houston, we were No. 2 in pass defense my first year there and three last year, so he's played some good football for me," Joseph said. "He's a good tackler in the box and he can go up and make plays on the ball down the field in traffic. We didn't have free or strong in Houston, we had left and right, so he knows how to play that and coming from Chicago he knows how to play half (field coverage).
"He fits right in line with the guys we’ve got like Terence Newman and Leon and all those guys," Joseph said. "He's a great locker room guy and he loves to practice."
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