The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Bears are moving Chris Harris to strong safety. This is a move that indicates the Bears don’t intend on re-signing Danieal Manning who will opt to test free agency. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
In a move that signals the Bears are not likely to re-sign Danieal Manning, veteran Chris Harris to be moved to his more natural strong safety position when the Bears hit the practice field for the first time Saturday in Bourbonnais, Ill.
That will clear an opening for Major Wright, the club’s third-round pick a year ago, to slide into the starting lineup at free safety.
Harris started all 16 games at free safety last season as the Bears felt Manning, although a better athlete, was better for them at strong safety, something that put him in the box defending the run more regularly. The Bears like to say their safety positions are interchangeable in the team’s base Cover Two defense.
However, the Bears played an abundance of single-high safety last year, including Cover Three and Cover One looks that call for the free safety to be along in the middle of the first. The free safety in those schemes needs to take proper angles, understand route schemes and have a vision for where the ball will go before it is snapped.
Manning settled into the strong safety role and played well, starting 16 games. With his value as a returner, he should have no problem finding work. The second-round draft pick in 2006 from Abilene Christian has 56 career starts and has been a model of durability. But the Bears have been high on Wright, who excelled in training camp last summer before injuries derailed him until the second half of the season.
He has the instincts to be more of a playmaker at free safety than the Bears have had the last few years. Meanwhile, Harris, who was fourth on the team in tackles with 96 in 2010, could be in position to make a greater impact.