FLOWERY BRANCH — One of the first questions posted on the blog the other day was “Who is this dude?”
Vince Manuwai, 6-foot-2, 335 pounds, played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 to 2010. He played left guard in 111 games and started in 105.
He was a third round pick (72nd overall) out of Hawaii in 2003 and will play right guard for the Falcons.
In order to get to know him before he has to report in late April for the offseason program, we tracked down Manuwai and asked him a few questions.
Here’s what he had to say:
Q: Was it easier for you to sign with the Falcons since you knew offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter?
A: Well, I mean, knowing the offense already and Dirk is a good guy, certainly helped. He knows his stuff as far as offense goes so that made it easy to join on with the Falcons. I also know Mike Smith and I really liked [offensive line] coach Pat Hill.
Q: How many teams did you look at before signing with the Falcons?
A: Nobody really. They just wanted to see me workout and wanted to make sure that I had no problems [from an ankle injury.] They made the first offer. That was it. I didn’t want to worry about looking somewhere else. For me, it wasn’t about the money. It was about going some where . . . the offense is very potent. They have a great quarterback and a great running back. As an offensive linemen that’s a good situation for anybody that’s missed football for a year and is trying to come back.
Q: How tough was it missing that year?
A: It was really tough. After you go eight straight years of football; not only eight in the NFL, but 16 straight years of football and the one year you miss it was really tough. I had to work out for different teams. I went through that. It’s part of football. That was different. But now, at least this year, I have a home already since I’m going with Atlanta. Now, all I have to do is concentrate on just getting my body where I need to before the offseason program starts.
Q: The stats say you played left guard exclusively for the Jaguars. Is that correct?
A: Yes, eight years. Left guard.
Q: They like to cross-train up here. Did they talk to you about the left side or the right side?
A: The right side. I have no problem with that.
Q: Do you remember coming to Flowery Branch during the 2010 training camp? What were your impressions?
A: Yes, I was up there two years ago. The facilities were awesome and I got to see them from the inside and outside once I signed with Atlanta. It reconfirmed what I saw when I came down there as a visiting player.
Q: What did they tell you about improving their rushing attack?
A: Yes, like I said. After missing a year of football. I just wanted to pick a really good situation as an offensive linemen. We’ve got a great quarterback who can pass the ball and we’ve got a running game. That covers both things. We can run and we can pass. That’s something you’ve got to love. They’ve gone to the playoffs two years in a row. I feel like it’s a great fit. I hope to make sure we are doing the same things.
Q: Do you know any of the guys already? Did you meet anybody on your visit?
A: Yeah, I met Michael Turner. They introduced me to Michael Turner and they were saying ‘Do you want to run behind this guy?’ I told him that I’d be happy to block for him. I know Mike Peterson, Joe Zelenka and Brett Romberg. So, I know a couple of the guys.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog