By Ed Baylor: Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel thinks he’s progressed in each day of his OTAs with the Bills. Manuel was drafted in the 1st round by the Bills out of Florida State during this year’s NFL draft, and there’s a lot expected of him now.
Manuel is battling quarterback Kevin Kolb for the starting position and it’s looking more and more like Manuel will win the starting spot, which isn’t saying much because Kolb hasn’t played well in his 6 seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the 2nd round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007.
Manuel said to the Buffalobills.com “I thought I got better every day. That’s the biggest thing for me just to continue to develop and get better each day and continue to work hard. I feel very comfortable around the coaches, my teammates and the guys on the offense and defense.”
The Bills may be expecting too much from Manuel if they think he’s going to be a great down field thrower or an explosive runner because he’s neither. He can run the ball a little, but he’s not elusive and he tends to run in straight lines without showing the ability to dodge players. He’s got the size at 6’5” 245 lbs. to run over some players, but he’s not going to be a good runner like RGIII or Colin Kaepernick.
As far as Manuel’s passing goes, he was mostly just a high percentage passer at Florida State and most of those throws were made in short passing plays to receivers over the middle or running backs in the flat. Manuel’s yardage stats were high in some games in which his receivers and running backs were able to take his short passes and break for huge yardage.
However, that was more of a product of Manuel playing with exceptional athletes at Florida State that could do that. Manuel wasn’t showing a great arm by throwing long throws because that’s not the kind of player he is. In the games that his running backs and receivers didn’t break tackles or elude defenders, Manuel didn’t have big yardage despite throwing a lot of completions.