Chicago Sun-Times

Secondary shuffle: Danieal Manning to corner?

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The Bears will be without two starters in the defensive backfield against the top-ranked Lions' passing offense Sunday at Ford Field.

Nathan Vasher (groin) and Charles Tillman (right ankle) are out, but the Bears might have new starters at three positions to fill the holes at cornerback.

There could be a new starter at free safety as consideration is being given to moving Danieal Manning to the outside at cornerback.

In that scenario, rookie Kevin Payne would step in and start at free safety. While he's better suited as a strong safety, Adam Archuleta should be able to play with a broken right hand, and if not Brandon McGowan will fill in there.

Payne has been impressive since coming back from a rib injury suffered during preseason, and the Bears may want to go with a rookie at safety as opposed to cornerback, where it has been assumed Trumaine McBride will start.

It's not like McBride would be watching much from the sideline in this secondary. The Bears figure to be in nickel most of the game as Mike Martz is passing on the run game. McBride would play cornerback in the nickel package with Manning Jr. sliding inside to his familiar spot covering the slot.

It's a more likely scenario than ones involving fifth-round pick Corey Graham. The rookie CB from New Hampshire did not dress for the first three games, and will have a role on special teams. CB Ade Jimoh also will figure into special teams, not the defense.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 28, 2007 5:57 AM.

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