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Monday, September 3, 2007

Manuel Reportedly Signed; Wesley In Soon

Marquand Manuel has reportedly been signed, to go along with Dante Wesley as veteran DB depth added this week. As of yet, there's been no report as to who may be released to make room, though S Quentin Teal may be released and signed to the practice squad if possible.

Manuel (6', 209) is another safety in the mold of Chris Harris - a young, talented safety who hits hard, gets to the ball, and struggles in coverage. He was a solid starter for the Seahawks in 2005, filling in for the injured Ken Hamlin; An executive in Seattle described Manuel as a "steady guy" who wasn't nearly as good as Hamlin. A personnel director for another team said Manuel was more effective playing run than pass. "One of his strengths would be being physical when attacking the line of scrimmage," another NFC scout said. "His weakness would be ball skills."

Manuel signed a long term deal with the Packers in 2006, and featured 1 TD off his lone career INT, and 81 tackles. But play was considered somewhat lackluster overall, and the Packers ended up replacing him this year. Once known as a special teams maven, some whispers around the Packers had Manuel not playing special teams anymore; another rumor had Charles Woodson and Al Harris lobbying for Manuel's replacement in the lineup this preseason, a move that eventually happened.

Playing at SS most of his career, Manuel may be pressed into FS duty here; all told, Nate Salley and Deke Cooper are SS types as well. The positions are interchangeable, but the responsibility still suggests a better coverage player at FS. Recently released S Lamont Thompson mayhave fit that bill, but the Panthers signed Manuel.

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No word as to whether recently acquired DB Dante Wesley could move to FS, but the team is likely to use him to replace CB Curtis Deloatch, the team's 4th CB. Wesley, an expert special teams player while here and in Chicago, will probably play one of the team's 'protector' roles on punt return teams, running the gunner away from the punt returner; he may also play the gunner role as well as playing contain on kick return. ST units desperately need a veteran voice, with various veterans leaving an underproducing squad this year.

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Recently waived WR Taye Biddle was claimed by Tampa Bay this week, and G D'Anthony Batiste was claimed by Atlanta. Each team had depth needs in those areas, and Tampa Bay needed a punt returner as well. Biddle returned one punt for the Panthers this preseason, a punt he fumbled.
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