Today is the 29th day of FOX Sports Wisconsin Packers writer Paul Imig’s offseason evaluations of every player on Green Bay’s roster. Click here for all of Paul’s previous evaluations and come back every day through mid-March for Paul’s in-depth film and statistical analysis. Coming up soon:
Tuesday, Feb. 26: LB Clay Matthews Wednesday, Feb. 27: S Jerron McMillian Thursday, Feb. 28: OLB Dezman Moses Friday, March 1: DE Mike Neal Saturday, March 2: WR Jordy Nelson
TERRELL MANNING, INSIDE LINEBACKER / SPECIAL TEAMS
Season stats: Appeared in seven games; zero snaps on defense; six special teams tackles, one special teams missed tackle, zero special teams penalties committed
Best game: Wild-card win over Minnesota (two special teams tackles; 0.0 PFF special teams rating)
Worst game: Week 7 win at St. Louis (one special teams tackle; one special teams missed tackle; minus-0.5 PFF special teams rating)
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 0.0 special teams rating; N/A on defense
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were … Not Met
Looking live: The Packers selected Manning in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of North Carolina State. Manning was an outside linebacker in college, but Green Bay converted him to inside linebacker right away. Part of the reason for the position switch was because Manning is undersized at 233 pounds, lacking the 250-plus pounds typically required for an NFL outside linebacker. Manning also had some knee injuries earlier in his career, but the Packers knew they were getting an athletic player who was worth some risk. However, Manning never stepped on the field on defense at all as a rookie, which was an obvious disappointment for the team. He did appear in seven games on special teams, but that’s hardly the results that Green Bay expected to see from a player who the team traded up to draft.
Upon further review: It’s difficult to blame Manning for his disappointing rookie season. He spent most of the summer in 2012 feeling sick, later finding out that he had a parasite in his stomach that caused his large intestine to swell. That illness contributed to him losing 15 pounds and looking like a shell of his former college self on the practice field. Clearly, Manning wasn’t going to be able to play his position at the professional level at his reduced 220-pound size. It took him quite some time just to get back to a relatively normal playing weight. Prior to Manning discovering his illness, something seemed off about his performance in training camp. He didn’t move all that well and seemed reluctant to be as physical as the rest of the linebackers group. Of course, those issues turned out to be caused by his medical condition.
Overall 2012 grade: C-minus
Status for 2013: 90 percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster in Week 1 next season. If Manning reports to training camp and starts playing the way he did in college, he has nothing to worry about. A strong performance would prove that his first impression was simply the unfortunate result of the parasite that made him ill. But, if Manning is healthy and still struggles to make any progress on the depth chart, Green Bay is deep at inside linebacker and could choose to use that roster spot on a position of greater need.