John Crist: This offseason was a month or so longer than last year since you guys missed the playoffs. Does your body feel any different at this point on the calendar than it did a season ago?
Danieal Manning: I don't know. I can tell when training camp gets here. Right now, I still feel the same way. I feel pretty good. I've been healthy the two years I've been in the league, so I feel pretty good.
JC: Last year, you spent the offseason training program learning cornerback in addition to your work at safety. This year, it looks like you're getting a lot of action at nickelback. What's it like never truly having a home in the secondary?
DM: It's good. They trust me, first of all, and they feel like I can play all the positions. So that's a big thing. They feel like they can count on me. That's good on their part. On my end, I expected to come in like that. I always said when they drafted me I want to contribute. However that is, I'm fine with it.
JC: The nickel corner position is a difficult one to learn in this defense. What makes that specialty spot so hard to play in a Cover-2 scheme?
DM: I'll say just the point of contact all the time. You're always on your heels [and] you're always on your toes, so anything can happen at any given moment. You've got to be ready to play. You've got to be versatile. You've got to be a baby `backer, as we call it. It's mainly being able to bang heads with the big guys and also cover those fast receivers.
DB Danieal Manning
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
JC: A lot of experts around the league are wondering about the wideouts on this team, as Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad are both no longer in town. Since you've been covering them every day, what have you seen so far from the likes of Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd?
DM: You have to wait until you get to the game. But right now, they're great teammates. They're seasoned vets, both those guys. So I don't think we lost any step at any position. I feel like we have more experience with all our receivers. We'll see.
JC: Coming off an appearance in the Super Bowl, the Bears came into last season as one of the favorites again in the NFC. That's not the case this year. Do you like being back in the role of underdog yet again?
DM: I like that. Because if you take it back to the year we went to the Super Bowl, we were in the same position. Nobody was really talking about Chicago, and that's fine. Let's just come on back and let's see who's playing in the Super Bowl.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.