Monday, August 2, 2010

Manumaleuna Is Happy With Progress

The Bears player most familiar with Mike Martz’s high-volume offense is impressed with how his new teammates have grasped the system.

“The guys are picking it up well,” said tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, who played for Martz with the Rams and also was part of a similar scheme with the Chargers. “I’ve been in the same offense my whole career, so just to see the young guys picking it up and making plays is exciting.”

One of the NFL’s top blocking tight ends, Manumaleuna spent his first five pro seasons with Martz in St. Louis from 2001-05 before playing in San Diego the past four years.

With nearly a decade of experience in the offense, Manumaleuna knows that his teammates will need to press their internal “super speed” button in practice and games.

“I think the main thing is just having energy,” Manumaleuna said. “It’s kind of an up-tempo offense. It’s a little different for a lot of guys. They’re just used to running the play and getting back to the huddle. But it [requires] a different type of energy running this offense.”

Manumaleuna, who teamed with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt in St. Louis, believes the Bears have the right type of players to operate the offense.

“The tight end position is deep,” Manumaleuna said. “The receiver position is young, but they’re picking it up well and they’re making plays. The running backs are proven. The quarterback is proven. I think we have all the pieces. We’ve just got to put it all together.”

Manumaleuna has been utilized primarily as a blocker throughout his career—he has caught more than 15 passes only once in nine seasons. But contrary to popular belief, the 6-2, 295-pounder insists that tight ends can be involved in the passing game in Martz’s offense.

“Blocking is a big part of it,” Manumaleuna said. “But I think coach Martz is the type of coach where if you block and you block well, he’ll throw you a bone. And if you continue to make plays, he’ll keep feeding you the ball.”

Manumaleuna isn’t surprised that Martz has thrown a lot of information at Bears players from Day 1.

“He  makes it tough on you,” Manumaleuna said. “I think his philosophy is if you pick it up now at a fast tempo, when the game comes you’ll react well. You won’t be thinking about it once the game comes.”

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