We’re half way through the Bills OTAs. Today, the assistant coaches spoke to the media and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett joined us in studio to discuss the past 5 OTAs including what he’s seen so far out of rookie WR Sammy Watkins. Hackett also has noticed a difference with quarterback EJ Manuel after having a full year to develop in the offense after his rookie campaign.
“That whole transition as you were is just so hard on a guy. Then you add some of the other things that were going on with him throughout the whole year with the injuries and stuff, starting and then not starting. Now, it’s like OK it’s a clean slate but he already knows the offense and he doesn’t have all those distractions. Now, it’s his focus, his demeanor, and his understanding of what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL and what he has to do. Just how he presents everything. How he presents himself in the huddle, how he runs the huddle, how he throws the ball. There are throws that he is making or attempting that he never would have because he wouldn’t have understood where he should have gone with the ball. Those are the things that are exciting to see in him as he develops into what he wants to be. He’s a guy that knows that he wants to prove a lot and he has the skills and he’s going to do that.
Hackett touches on the new coaches on the staff this year, QB Coach Todd Downing and Senior Offensive Assistant Jim Hostler. In Hostler’s case, Hackett says that there is nothing better than having a guy on the staff that can evaluate everything.
At the top of the hour, Bills Insider Chris Brown called-in to discuss the team’s organized team activities. Brown is on the sidelines throughout the Bills practice sessions and gave his reaction to what he has seen out of EJ Manuel.
“The battle that he is waging is one that he communicated pretty effectively and what it is that he knows that he has to move through his reads at a certain pace, you know the preverbal internal clock for a quarterback, when you know you have to get rid of the ball before you get smacked. At the same time not rushing through your progressions to the point where you miss a wide open option. He felt from watching his tape from last year, he did that a good number of times. So, what these OTAs are for, for him I think, is to try to find that balance.”
Brown described wide receiver Sammy Watkins as a “man amongst boys” during the OTAs and has yet to even reach full speed. Brown even said Watkins was the best player on the field in a couple of practices so far.
At the bottom of the second hour, Bills quarterback Dennis Dixon was on to talk about his role in the quarterback group. Dixon is the veteran on the QB roster after bouncing around the NFL with 3 different teams before joining Buffalo. Dixon brings the experience of playing in a fast-paced offense when he played in college under Chip Kelly at Oregon. That hurry-up style is just like he’s undertaking here in Buffalo.
“I think one thing people realize is that when you go fast-paced, you want to be able to execute fast but let your body go slow and what I mean by that is as far as a quarterback, your process has to go slow too as far as reading the defense and making sure the offense is set.”
Dixon is joined by 3 younger quarterbacks on the roster. He says he does not feel that starting quarterback EJ Manuel is under any pressure heading into his second year in the league.
“I think he takes one rep at a time. EJ is a very smart guy and obviously he is very young but at the same time his instincts bring him a long way, further than your actual rookie. Going into this year everybody has something to prove and I think EJ has that mindset.”
Dixon also was part of two Super Bowl teams in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. He said that he might break out his SB Ring during training camp to set the tone.
You can hear the whole John Murphy Show from Wednesday by clicking below:
Posted in Inside the Bills