Manuel is Making His Presence Known At Camp

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Updated: July 31, 2013
EJ Manuel, Kevin Kolb

Three days into training camp and EJ Manuel is already making the Bill’s first round decision look like a stroke of genius.

Even though Manuel is yet to see the type of pressure from the Bill’s defense that Kolb has faced, he’s certainly putting the veteran quarterback in the hot seat.

“Kevin (Kolb) is seeing more of the exotic stuff from our defense,” said Marrone to reporters after practice Monday. “We brought in EJ (Manuel) and gave him a little more reps, but we’re careful with what we’re showing him. EJ is in a pretty decent position. We throw Kevin out there and Kevin’s going in there and seeing everything for the first time. And EJ is able to sit back there and look at it.”

In Manuel’s first NFL practice in pads, he demonstrated chemistry with his fellow rookies. Manuel’s highlights of the day included three completions of 20 yards or more to Da’Rick Rogers (two) and Marquise Goodwin (one.) The first round draft pick credits his early chemistry to the “routes on air” (when receivers line up without defenders) segments of practice.

“When we’re doing routes on air, you just want to take that time to really try to have game speed to see how those guys will run a go or a comeback or run a dagger, things like that,” Manuel said to reporters Tuesday after practice. “Try to take that time, those drills where you’re not going against the defense and try to make them as game-like as possible.”

Even though draft analysts called this a “weak quarterback draft,” for those who have followed Manuel over the years this should not come as a surprise.

Shortly after receiving the Bills playbook, Manuel came out and said that it was an easier book to understand than the one at Florida State. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. As a first year coach, Doug Marrone won’t want to overwhelm his players in the first year; especially since his roster includes a lot of young faces.

Expect Manuel to start seeing more complex looks and an increase in pressure and blitzes from Mike Pettine’s defense as training camp progresses. If he struggles, don’t start to panic. EJ Manuel is a smart quarterback, has the ability to conquer adversity, and is extremely focused this summer. For instance Manuel didn’t even bring a television with him to Rochester, just macaroni and cheese and some DVDs.

As camp comes to a close and Week 1 roles around I believe that EJ Manuel will be the man under center for this team. A Week 1 victory at home against a division rival in the New England Patriots, a team that isn’t the same as years past, is exactly what could jump start Manuel towards a long and illustrious career in a Buffalo Bills uniform. EJ Manuel could finally be the man to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Buffalo.