For as discouraged as Bills fans may have been following EJ Manuel’s performance at Pittsburgh, they were equally encouraged by his performance against the Jets this past Sunday. Such are the ebbs and flows of a rookie quarterback’s first season in the NFL. But just how big a step did Manuel take in this past weekend’s game?
Manuel set single-game career highs in completion percentage (71%), yards per attempt (8.75) and passer rating (121.9). Bills head coach Doug Marrone was most excited about Manuel scanning the entire field on pass plays.
“The one thing you did see with EJ, I think we all saw it, was he was able to go through all of his progressions,” said Marrone. “He got to number five in the progression at one time, the ball that he threw to Fred (Jackson), to the right, when you saw him move a little bit and throw it. He truly went clearly across the board. Those are the things that are encouraging.”
A good number of rookie quarterbacks are given half field reads early in their career where they have to take a look at usually no more than two progressions before dumping the ball off or taking off to scramble. What Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett saw in Manuel’s performance Sunday could potentially open the playbook up further for Buffalo’s offense.
Knowing he’s taken the step where he’s efficiently moving through his reads gives the offensive staff the ability to call more full field read plays. What everyone needs to remember however, is that protection was a big part of why Manuel was able to get through his progressions Sunday.
Some future opponents may choose to be more aggressive than the Jets proved to be against the pass, and that could alter things. Still, the progress Manuel made is undoubtedly a positive development.
Tags: Doug Marrone, EJ Manuel, Nathaniel Hackett
Posted in Inside the Bills