Safety In Numbers

The biggest concern on the defensive side of the ball heading into training camp is the strong safety position. As Pete Dougherty notes, this has been the case for the last five years.

Marquand Manuel was, to be charitable, awful at the beginning of last season. From the very first game, where he made an almost Pop-Warner-level mistake in coverage leading to the Bears' first touchdown, he was responsible for touchdown after touchdown, as each opposing team targeted the obvious weak-link in the Packers pass defense. But as the season wore on, the notable shift coming in the Seattle game, Manuel became more and more sure of himself and his place in the scheme. By the Bears game on New Years Eve, the defense, and Manuel in particular, was a force to be dealt with that no playoff team wanted to face.

That was seven months ago.

Now, heading into camp, the team has to solve this position. It has bedeviled them for far too long. Either Manuel has to play lights-out from the first snap of camp, or Underwood must display the form he showed in camp before his injury last season and claim the job for his own. (I don't put much stock in the rookie Rouse, though lord knows I've been wrong before...) If neither of these things happen, get ready for another early season barrage of passing touchdowns against the Green and Gold.

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