The Texans addressed their last gaping hole on the defense late Thursday night when they agreed to terms with ex-Bears safety Danieal Manning.
Mark Berman of Fox 26 Sports in Houston reported that Manning received a four-year deal worth $20 million, including $9 million guaranteed.
The news of the Manning signing came on the heels of the Texans agreeing to terms with another free agent defensive back, Johnathan Joseph, formerly of the Bengals.
The signings of Joseph and Manning shore up the weakest link on a defense that was embarrassingly bad last season. Manning will line up opposite Glover Quin at safety while Joseph becomes the Texans top corner.
It’s funny how name association works because when I read about the signing around 1:00 a.m. local time this morning, the first thing that came to mind was the 2008 season finale when the Texans beat the Bears at Reliant Stadium.
Manning got a lot of playing time in that game after Bears safety Mike Brown was placed on injured reserve a few days earlier. Manning didn’t have a good game, biting on a play fake by Matt Schaub which allowed Andre Johnson to score on a long TD pass, and then fumbling the ensuing kickoff to get the Texans right back in the game after falling behind 10-0 early.
That was a memorable game because the Texans put up nearly 500 yards on a very good defense, it knocked the Bears out of the playoffs, there were obnoxious Bears fans everywhere, and the roof was open despite it being 50 degrees and raining at gametime. Remember, that was 2008 when Ike ripped the roof apart in September and it remained open the rest of the season. It’s probably one of my top five favorite games at Reliant.
My game report from that day >>> Texans take giant step sideways
Gameday highlights from NFL.com >>> To refresh your memory
Reaction across the web to the Texans signing of Manning has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s not like the Texans got the best safety in the league, or even a top ten safety, but Manning is a solid player who’s capable of doing big things in Wade Phillips’ defense. It’s just a matter of how little time Wade’s new chess pieces have to learn the new system before the games start to count.
And I hate to keep reminding everyone of this, but four of the Texans first six games are against Indy, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Not exactly an easy start.
While reading through Chicago media reports today, you got the sense that it wasn’t a big surprise that the Bears let Manning go. The Bears offered Manning far less money and obviously didn’t want to pay what he could command in free agency. They also had other options at safety.
Manning has better speed than natural cover ability. He’s durable and is more athletic than instinctive and is a very good kickoff return man.
Here’s a few clips on Manning from around the web:
- “It’s hard not to love both of Houston’s secondary upgrades executed today. Manning is fairly old to be finishing up his rookie contract (he turns 29 in August), but he also appears to be just now coming into his own. Manning finished No. 5 overall in Pro Football Focus’ 2010 cover safety rankings, and he fills very hard against the run. He’ll start at strong safety for the Texans and be a massive upgrade on Bernard Pollard against the pass.” – rotoworld.com
- “DMS, Danieal Manning Syndrome, is a process in which a physically talented athlete who plays football is constantly moved and plugged into different holes on the team in the hope that he blossoms into a very good football player. As a result, the player does not develop the proper skills & football I.Q. to excel at any one position. Is Danieal Manning a free safety, cornerback, nickel back, career backup or just a kick returner? He’s been all of the above during his short career with the Bears.” – windycitygridiron.com (April 2010)
“In his first year as a full-time starter, Manning didn’t hold anything back. He finished the season as our No. 5 rated safety with a grade of +9.5. There was never really a drop-off in his play at any point of the season with some of his most impressive plays coming in pass coverage. Manning’s gaudy pass defense numbers earned him Lovie Smith’s continuous praise throughout the season. At no point last season did he surrender a touchdown.” – profootballfocus.com (April 2011)
“A fifth-year veteran, Manning made arguably the most significant impact of his tenure with the team in (2010) when he contributed 85 tackles, an interception and five pass breakups. The performance came as somewhat of a breakthrough for Manning, who played several positions in the secondary prior to the team finally settling on him at the strong-safety spot.” – espn.com (July 2011)
Manning (5-11, 202), will turn 29 years old on August 9 and is entering his sixth season. He’s a native of Corsicana, TX and played his college ball at Abilene Christian.