Don't overlook the Rams move to sign Ricky Manning, Jr. to bolster their defensive back depth.
Manning plays well in coverage and has shown a great eye for the ball in his five NFL seasons. He's just one season removed from 5 INTs, 113 yards and a TD. For the Rams and their tough schedule, take-away opportunities will be the key to running with big dogs like Dallas and stealing a game or two against those tough opponents.
Here's the Sporting News' take on him:
He's a veteran with starting experience who has proven to be durable. Manning is probably best suited for a team that doesn't play cover two and is best in man-to-man coverage.
Don't undersell the durability argument. The Rams are clearly concerned with Fakhir Brown's shoulder, and Manning is a guy that, while not a Champ Bailey type, plays at a starting level.
He's also motivated after falling out of favor with the Bears last season, when they demoted him to the third string. It's been obvious for some time that he wasn't going to be part of the Bears' plans this season. How much will that motivation help him? Who knows, but here's what Manning, Jr. said right before being released:
"Not being a part of their plans, that's fine with me. If that's the mistake they want to make, hey, so be it....I'm the best nickel on this team. Everybody knows that. But I'm not there. It remains a mystery why I'm not there."
He signed a one year deal worth $1.25 million with the Rams. This could be another feather, albeit a smaller one, in new personnel guru Billy Devaney's cap.