Despite an impressive showing as a freshman in 2005, Mario Manningham is not at all satisfied about last year. Niether his performance nor the team's lived up to his high standards.
“It was (hard) because I come from Warren Harding (High School),” Manningham said regarding his frosh campaign. “We aren’t too familiar with losing.”
After a frosh campaign that saw him caught 27 passes for 433 yards and six touchdowns, Manningham understands he is no longer a secret weapon. “I know they are going to know,” said Manningham. “Every time I think about it, it just makes me work harder.”
Despite last year’s hardships, Manningham says things have changed during the summer. One of the biggest difference’s, in his opinion, is the team’s attitude toward conditioning. Manningham said running back Mike Hart was one of the leaders this summer in pushing the team to raise the bar.
“Mike works real hard,” said Manningham. “Mike runs with a purpose. Some people run just to get it over with, but that’s what our team learned over the summer. We learned how to run with a purpose. Not just to be out there. Get something out of it when you run.”
The Ohio native said Hart wasn’t the only leader to emerge this summer. He noticed two of the more soft spoken members of the team were more vocal during the offseason.
“We have a lot of leaders on this team like Steve Breaston and Chad (Henne),” Manningham said. “Chad…he’s being like a quarterback now. He had been acting like a quarterback, but you can really tell it now.”
As for Manningham, he prefers to lead in a less vocal way. “I lead, but I lead by example, I don’t open my mouth.”
Manningham acknowledged the team will miss departed captain and noted leader Jason Avant. That said, the current Philadelphia Eagle didn’t go without leaving an impact on his younger teammates.
“He taught me how to get off the line, how to run good routes, how to read defensive backs, I could keep going on,” recalled Manningham. “He was a good mentor. He taught me a lot. He taught the other underclassmen a lot too.”