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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Manning is cramming to learn playbook

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/02/2008

    When first seen Monday in the Rams Park locker room, cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. had his back turned to everyone around him and was knee-deep in his new playbook.

    "I've got to cram it all right now," said Manning, who has signed a one-year deal with St. Louis. "It's like learning a new language in a week. For me to get out there, I have to know this defense.

    "This is for real. These games count. So I can't afford to go out there and make mistakes. Like I told (secondary) coach Ron (Milus), I'm on coaches' hours. I've got to be around the clock."

    For Manning to have any chance of being on the field Sunday for the Rams' season opener in Philadelphia, he'll have to digest as much of the playbook as quickly as possible. He said he planned to stay around Rams Park as long as it takes to grasp coordinator Jim Haslett's system.

    "It's not an option," he said. "It's just what I have to do, because this isn't the Chicago defense. This isn't an easy defense. There's a lot going on. We do a lot of things here."

    Had the Bears released him one month ago at the start of camp, when Manning asked to be cut or traded, he wouldn't have to do so much cramming.

    "Exactly," Manning said. "I could be doing this during the preseason instead of Week 1."

    But the Bears didn't release him until Aug. 26.

    "They did what they had to do, and that was the card I was dealt," Manning said. "They're giving me a nice little week to get ready for the regular season. There's nothing I can do about it but bust my butt."

    Things started out promisingly enough for Manning after he signed a five-year, $21 million contract with the Bears as a restricted free agent in 2006. Manning shared the team lead in interceptions that year with five, returning one for a touchdown. He also had an interception in the playoffs, helping the Bears to a Super Bowl berth against Indianapolis.

    By his own admission, Manning didn't play well last season. And when he showed up to training camp this summer, he found himself down on the depth chart, with distant cousin Danieal Manning ahead of him at nickel back.

    "I wasn't given a chance to compete at a spot," Ricky Manning said. "I was just taken out. If last year wasn't one of my best years, I wasn't given an opportunity to work out of it."

    Manning said there were a number of reasons his play declined in '07.

    "I just had a bad season," he said. "It was a combination of me messing up. It was a combination of being put in uncomfortable situations, or playing uncomfortable techniques."

    But the bottom line for Manning was turnovers, or lack thereof. For the first time in five NFL seasons with Carolina and then Chicago, Manning didn't have an interception.

    "That (constitutes) a bad season for me," he said.

    Manning made his name, and eventually his fortune, because of his knack for timely interceptions. Playing for Carolina as a rookie during the 2003 season, Manning had a key interception of a Marc Bulger pass intended for Torry Holt during the NFC divisional playoffs. Three plays later, on the first play of the second overtime, Jake Delhomme threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith, giving Carolina a 29-23 victory.

    "That was a great game," Manning said. "Instant classic. It's a game you never forget, especially for me as a younger player at the time. Hopefully, now I can make some of those plays on the other side of the sidelines."

    The following week, in the NFC title game, Manning intercepted Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb three times. Manning rates that game as a "top 3" day in his life, trailing only the birth of his son, Ricky Manning III, and the day he got married.

    Conversely, one of the worst days in his life had to be April 6, 2006, when he was arrested and eventually pled no contest to charges of felony assault stemming from an incident at a Los Angeles-area restaurant. As a result, Manning drew a one-game suspension from the league.

    Despite the plea, Manning says a videotape of the incident verified that he was not part of the attack and did not make racial and ethnic slurs at the victim, as alleged.

    "It was just a lesson I had to learn the hard way," Manning said. "I tell guys about it, and tell them I'm talking from experience. Just stay out of the way. I've learned to stay out of the way."

    :ramlogo:

  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Manning is cramming to learn playbook

    Quote Originally Posted by eldfan View Post
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/02/2008

    Manning made his name, and eventually his fortune, because of his knack for timely interceptions. Playing for Carolina as a rookie during the 2003 season, Manning had a key interception of a Marc Bulger pass intended for Torry Holt during the NFC divisional playoffs. Three plays later, on the first play of the second overtime, Jake Delhomme threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith, giving Carolina a 29-23 victory.

    "That was a great game," Manning said. "Instant classic. It's a game you never forget, especially for me as a younger player at the time. Hopefully, now I can make some of those plays on the other side of the sidelines."
    Unfortunately I'll never forget that game either.

    I like this kids approach to our team. He wants to get on the field and is working hard to establish himself.

    Hopefully he can return to his ball hawking former self.

  3. #3
    Dr. Defense's Avatar
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    Re: Manning is cramming to learn playbook

    All I can say is that I hope Manning returns to form and intercepts McNabb 3 times on sunday

  4. #4
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    Re: Manning is cramming to learn playbook

    i like him as an addition. more cbs to battle it out and i always liked him as a good third option at cb.

  5. #5
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    Re: Manning is cramming to learn playbook

    This is a good pick up in my opinion. Its too early to say that he is better than Brown or Hill, but he is approaching the play book like he wants to play. We need that kind of attitude. Glad we picked him up. I hope he performs great!

  6. #6
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    Re: Manning is cramming to learn playbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    This is a good pick up in my opinion. Its too early to say that he is better than Brown or Hill, but he is approaching the play book like he wants to play. We need that kind of attitude. Glad we picked him up. I hope he performs great!
    I don't know if he'll ever be better than Brown or Hill but he will provide Bartell with competition at the nickel spot. Also if Brown and Hill go down again this year at least we will have two competent backups. This was a very good move by the Rams and it can only help.

  7. #7
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    Re: Manning is cramming to learn playbook

    Attitude is a big part of the game and life in general. It sounds as if he is ready to move on from his past and with the attitude he seems to have brought to the Rams I think he sould have no problems. I predict 4 picks of McNabb on Sun.

    GO RAMS!!!!!!!

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