Inside The Bills

EJ Manuel: “I am 100% healthy right now”

Posted by Dallas Miller on July 12, 2014 – 7:00 pm

Quarterback EJ Manuel joined “NFL Total Access” to talk about how he hopes to improve in his second year in the league.

On what the biggest difference will be from year one to year two:

EJ Manuel: “I think its overall confidence in myself. Obviously, I have a rapport with my teammates. Having a full offseason with guys who I’m familiar with — I’ve been lucky enough to have the same head coach, the same offensive coordinator, now a new quarterback coach in Coach [Todd] Downing. I’m very excited moving forward to my second year.”

On getting on the same page with rookie WR Sammy Watkins:

Manuel: “It’s very important because obviously when you guys get into training camp, you’re going to be throwing to each other every day. You just want to use the time that you have when you have time off. You want to take to full advantage of that time and throw to those guys as much as possible so they know when I hit my third step in my hitch the ball’s going to be at a certain spot and they need to get there. I think we’re building that each and every day.”

On how long it will take to gain chemistry with the new WRs:

Manuel: “I don’t think it will take long [to get in a groove.] Sammy is the main guy that we added — also Mike Williams too. I think they’ll blend in with the guys that we already have too as far as Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, Kevin Elliott – they’re a bunch of guys. I think it’s going to be a great year for us offensively. I know that was one thing we wanted to focus on and get better at all the situations – red zones [and] third downs. We’ve been putting the work in and we’re excited to show it.”

On how it feels in the city of Buffalo going into this year as opposed to last year:

Manuel: “Obviously adding a guy like Sammy Watkins, an electrifying player at the college level. Bringing him in for a young quarterback like myself, it’s going to pay dividends. I’m excited about it. Obviously, Sammy coming in with us and all of the great players we have on offense. Our defense has always been solid anyway, so we’re looking forward to this next year.”

On how much of a different EJ Manuel will be seen this year due to him being healthy:

Manuel: “I think that’s one thing I had to learn to be smart when I take off with the football. Instead of trying to get an extra three yards, either step out-of-bounds or slide.

Those are all of the nuisances I had to learn. Obviously, I didn’t want to go down with an injury because I’m a competitive player. I go hard each and every time I step on the field. It just so happened that I had to come down with an injury. I moved past it. Thankfully, I am 100 percent healthy right now. I feel like I’m stronger than I was last year, so I’m looking forward to moving on.”

On how the coaches have helped him progress with the learning curve:

Manuel: “They’ve helped tremendously. Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett and Coach [Todd] Downing have been very intricate with my growth as a quarterback. Obviously, it starts with me. You have to put that foot forward. There’s a lot of downtime as far as the offseason — You want to get in your playbook, you want to learn, or you want to go over your protections each and every day. You can’t learn that stuff if you can’t go over it enough. Those are things that I’ve been doing to help our team win. I think those are all building blocks, and it’s just a part of the process as an offense for us to continue to grow.”

On what the loss of LB Kiko Alonso means to him:

Manuel: “It was a huge blow. Not only because Kiko’s a great player, but he’s also a fellow rookie. We came in at the same time. I know how it is to deal with a knee injury. It’s not fun. He’ll be back strong. Obviously, we’re all wishing him well and a speedy recovery but we know Kiko will come back strong and we know he’ll still be there as a leader for our defense and our offense.”

On practicing in the Buffalo weather:

Manuel: “Coach [Doug] Marrone likes us to practice outside so when we did have our cold games last year, we still practiced outdoors. I thought it was a good thing because one, you get used to obviously the cold. But another thing is we have that wind effect in our stadium coming off the lake. Being able to practice in it during the week when Sunday comes, its second nature.”


Posted in Inside the Bills