Inside The Bills

Roman dismisses speculation on EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2015 – 2:59 pm

Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman has heard the widespread speculation, which was soon taken as fact in cyberspace Monday, that EJ Manuel isn’t long for Buffalo’s roster if he doesn’t show marked improvement this season. Roman dismissed the contention as just that, speculation.

“Speculation is the key word there. I don’t ever remember saying that,” said Roman. “And that’s the furthest thing from the truth. He’s busting his hump every day and doing a very good job. There’s a lot of clay to mold there. Whatever people are talking about, I don’t know where that’s coming from.  The answer is no. He’s doing a good job.”

Roman maintained that the quarterback competition will be a three-man race between Manuel, Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor.


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How QB competition is progressing

Posted by Chris Brown on May 19, 2015 – 9:43 am

The Bills have a quarterback competition that has already begun in earnest even though the team’s first set of OTA practices is still more than a week away. Here’s how things have been working in their sessions on the field knowing that the offense cannot have any opposition working against them.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan explained how they’re running two offenses at the same time at opposite ends of the field and how Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor are all rotating through with the first team offense.

“How we run things, we have a two spot drill going on at all times, so we’ve got two offenses going,” said Ryan. “What we do, because in this phase two you can’t have any type of opposition, we actually put lines on the field, like a big ‘V’ showing the defensive line and the linebackers and all that. And we get our plays in and we move it from the hash to the middle, left hash, right hash, all the way down the field. It is sharp with guys communicating and things like that. So there you can definitely get a feel for who these guys are and I’ve been impressed by all the quarterbacks. As far as the true evaluating that’s going to come in training camp and snapping the ball for real.”

With respect to the competition, Ryan insists it’s a legitimate three-way battle.

“Three guys for sure will be getting shots with the ones,” he said. “We’ve been doing it each day. Let’s say the first offense is running out there and it’s Matt Cassel the first day, then it’s EJ, then it’s Tyrod. All three are getting opportunities to lead and to be with that first group. It’s not like we’re going to just throw Matt Cassel in there every day or EJ every day. Tyrod is getting as many shots with the ones as the other two.”


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Jim Kelly talks Bills QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2015 – 9:38 pm

In an appearance on NFL Network Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly was asked about EJ Manuel’s future and the quarterback situation heading into OTAs. 

When asked specifically about Manuel’s future he’s optimistic for Manuel, but knows it’s put up time

“I think that with the new offensive system Greg Roman brings from San Francisco, I think it might be something that EJ needs,” said Kelly. “He’s a good kid. I’ve heard him talk to the players, I’ve heard what type of leader he is. He has it all. But he knows he has to get it done on the field. 


“Now he has competition with Matt Cassel coming in who has a very, very strong arm. It’s a new system for both of them, it’s a learning experience for both of them. We’ll see what happens. But that is one key position. I don’t care if you’re Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, whoever it may be, if you don’t have a guy under center that can get the job done week in and week out, you’re not going anywhere. So I wish one of those two step up and rise and be the quarterback we need them to be.”


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Manuel calls Bills offense “sweet”

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2015 – 9:38 am

It’s understandable when a quarterback openly accepts a new offensive scheme that comes in the door with a new coaching staff, but in an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, you could hear EJ Manuel’s enthusiasm for offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s scheme.

“I just think the dynamics that we have and the personnel that we have, you look at the receivers, running backs and the tight ends we have at the skill positions and the O-linemen getting better, getting stronger, getting nastier,” said Manuel. “But with the shifts and motions and the things we’ll do to mix it up for a defense is going to be really good. Instead of just being vanilla we’ll have a whole lot of different looks for opponents to prepare for.”

Manuel did not elaborate as to whether his vanilla comment was in reference to the team’s previous offensive system, but Roman’s is known to be diametrically opposed to the offensive system the team ran in the past. That plus the big play weapons that litter Buffalo’s offensive roster have Manuel encouraged about the possibilities this season.

“I think all these guys add big play ability,” Manuel said of the skill position personnel. “Charles (Clay) is one of the guys who every time we played the Dolphins he was making big plays. Shady McCoy is if not the best running back in the league he adds a great dimension running the ball and we’ve still got Fred (Jackson) and Boobie (Dixon) and you add Karlos Williams to the mix and then Bryce. The receiver room just looks crazy. Those guys as far as the speed we have on the outside, the reverse game, the vertical game is going to be great.”

Of course Manuel has to win the starting QB job this offseason if he is to be a weekly part of the Bills seemingly high-powered attack.

 

 


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Bills will provide single voice for EJ

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2015 – 9:15 am

It was widely believed that last season there were too many coaches in EJ Manuel’s ear giving instructions and coaching points that were not consistent leading to mixed messages. It proved to play a factor in Manuel’s performance last season, though Manuel himself has faulted his throwing motion for accuracy problems last season. Accuracy problems he has since corrected through offseason work with Steve DeBerg. The good news is Buffalo’s new coaching staff sounds committed to providing Manuel with a singular voice from the coaches.

In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Manuel said Rex Ryan’s offensive staff will not subscribe to group instruction when it comes to the quarterback position.

“I know (offensive coordinator) (Greg) Roman allows (quarterbacks) coach (David) Lee to coach,” said Manuel. “That’s the cool part about ‘G-Ro’ is he is going to let his position coaches coach. I’ve even heard him say that. We were critiquing a thing with the receivers where we were wondering, ‘Hey, maybe the receiver should’ve broken that route here.’ And he said, ‘No, don’t worry about that, (receivers coach) Sanjay (Lal) will take care of that.’

“It’s obviously communication, but that’s something I’ve noticed about coach Roman. He’ll let his position guys coach.”

When Manuel was asked if his conservative play last season was a byproduct of the wishes of the former coaching staff, Buffalo’s third-year QB indicated that was indeed the case.

“I think I was doing what I was coached to do,” said Manuel. “Obviously decision making is something that’s extremely important. The main thing is you don’t want to turn the ball over, but now I’m more willing to take chances just because of the confidence I have in my throwing motion and my arm. So more of those vertical passes will definitely be shown.”


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EJ: Mastering QB an obsession now

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2015 – 9:05 am

Bills QB EJ Manuel has always been a diligent worker when it’s come to being an NFL quarterback, but he reached a different level of commitment this offseason.

In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Manuel said his commitment to the quarterback position has reached a point of singular fixation, and attributes it to the adversity he faced last season when he was benched after just four starts.

“I think what I went through that’s just what made me grow up. That was true adversity in my playing career,” Manuel said. “As far as the competitive edge I have now, it’s crazy. It’s almost an obsession now as far as mastering this position and mastering this offense and mainly the fundamentals and mechanics of the game. Why not spend all my time doing that? There’s really nothing else to do right now. The main thing is just being all in and investing in yourself.”

Manuel insists his throwing accuracy is much improved after working for four months this offseason with former NFL QB Steve DeBerg. He credits DeBerg with eliminating the wind up in his throwing motion that compromised his accuracy. His throwing motion is much more compact now and he feels his accuracy is much improved.


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EJ on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2015 – 5:28 pm

Here’s where you can find Bills players on the local radio airwaves Wednesday morning.

Featured on the Bills Radio Network will be EJ Manuel.

7:15 am – Kiss 98.5, Janet and Nick
–          EJ Manuel

7:30 am – WGR 550, Howard Simon and Jeremy White
–          EJ Manuel

 


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EJ & Cassel have crossed paths before

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2015 – 3:30 pm

Even though there’s a seven-year age difference the paths of quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel crossed prior to the two signal callers becoming teammates in Buffalo.

The two first met at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in California back in 2011.

“I was one of the counselors there and EJ was there as one of the highly recruited guys at Florida State,” said Cassel. “He impressed me then and continues to impress me. He’s got great maturity. He works hard and studies. So I think the ceiling is super high for him.”

“He was one of the NFL guys who came and talked to us, but we’ve been good. We actually had the same flight out to California once we got our little break (recently),” said Manuel. “We were able to talk and have lunch in between flights and stuff. He’s a good guy. Obviously we’re competing and stuff, but he’s still a great guy.”

As a 10-year vet, Cassel knows while he’s part of a competition he also is here to help Manuel along in his development as a quarterback in the NFL.

“You go out and you compete when you’re on this field and do the best you can do and go out and win the job,” Cassel said. “At the same time when you’re in the locker room and someone has a question and he’s a teammate you’re going to help him out because that’s how I was raised. When I went into New England Tom (Brady) didn’t have to help me at all, but he was a great mentor to me and helped me along the way. And I think it’s my duty now with some of the young guys to do the same thing as I move on in my career.”


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Gruden on Bills QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 10:28 am

ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden weighed in on the impending Bills quarterback competition that will ensue next week during the team’s voluntary veteran minicamp.

On a national conference call this week, Gruden believes EJ Manuel could be aided by the addition of offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

“They’ve signed some quarterbacks. They’re going to have a three or four-man battle for the position,” Gruden said. “EJ Manuel is still a young player. I think the offensive coordinator coming over from San Francisco (Greg Roman) has dealt with a mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick so maybe that will stimulate and help EJ.”

Gruden is also a big fan of Ryan as an NFL head coach.

“I’ve always liked Rex Ryan,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time over the years with the Jets coaching staff (when he was there) studying football. I really like his system. Getting Rex Ryan will be exciting for Bills fans and I think players will respond to him.”


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EJ Manuel on John Murphy Show tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 4:20 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel has been working an awful lot on his throwing mechanics this offseason with former NFL QB Steve DeBerg. And he’ll be talking about it tonight on the John Murphy Show at 7:30 pm.

Murph told the John Murphy Show some of the drills he went through with DeBerg this offseason to sharpen his throwing motion and make it consistent.

“Some of the drills we worked instead of looking at the receiver you almost look at the defensive back instead,” Manuel said. “You start to throw away from the D-B. You know the receiver and the timing so you’re not throwing to the receiver, you’re throwing to where he’s supposed to be. One of the main drills we worked was throwing away from the defender and that helps avoid turnovers, interceptions and tipped balls.

“We had some live defenders out there during workouts, but we mainly had targets set up and Steve would have me read off of him and tell him to hit a target.”

Manuel also talked about how he and DeBerg would watch film of some of the top QBs in the league and simply watch their throwing motion.

“To my knowledge throwing motion is just like a jump shot. It almost becomes muscle memory and you have to rep it and rep it and rep it,” said Manuel. “We repped it so much to get it to muscle memory so when I get into the game a pass rush won’t compromise it. I’m not thinking twice about it. I’m just throwing the ball. That’s the good part about it.”

For those who can’t listen to the John Murphy Show the EJ Manuel interview can be found here at about 8 pm Tuesday evening.

 


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Bills QBs impressed in classroom

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2015 – 11:29 am

Last week was first week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program, which features strength and conditioning training and classroom work as the new coaching staff works with the players to install the new offensive and defensive systems. Buffalo’s quarterbacks were all in attendance last week and made a good first impression on offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

In an interview on ESPN’s Inside the Huddle with John Clayton, Roman gave indication of how prepared his signal callers were for the first week of classroom work.

“After just a week of working with these guys I was very happy to find out how dialed in these guys are in their preparation, all four of them really. I couldn’t be more happy from that standpoint,” Roman said. “When we get out on the field we’ll roll the balls out and see what transpires. We’ll let those guys compete and I think we’ll have a great competition at the position. Really, Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel all impressed me in the meetings.”


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QB Cassel on the new parts blending

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2015 – 3:56 pm

Bills QB Matt Cassel was one of the many veteran players participating in the voluntary offseason conditioning program this week. He’s also one of the many new parts on the offensive side of the ball. Having been a new face in a new place before Cassel outlined how he expects the chemistry to develop with the new players on his side of the ball.

“I think you start to build a foundation,” he said. “You build that rapport, you build those relationships and you start to understand what guys do well and what I do well.  As you get closer to the season you start to refine that and get better as you go.  But I think you take huge steps and make huge strides in OTAs and minicamps of doing that.”

Cassel is seen as one of the top two competitors for the starting quarterback job with EJ Manuel.

 


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Do the doubters fuel EJ?

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2015 – 12:58 pm

Bills QB EJ Manuel knows the magnitude of this his third NFL season and is all in when it comes to his efforts to win the starting quarterback job this summer in training camp. Manuel has had his share of doubters since he was made a first-round pick of the Bills back in 2013, but do the doubters fuel him all the more?

That was a question posed by NFL Network’s Kim Jones to Manuel, and though he didn’t directly say they do, he gave indication that was the case.

“I fuel myself as well,” said Manuel indicating doubters do fuel him. “But I think just moving forward and being excited about a new opportunity and obviously having coach [Rex] Ryan come in and give you that confidence as a head coach coming from him means a lot to us as his players. I’m just really excited and happy to be back in Buffalo.”

Manuel is never one to seek out criticism for motivation, which is probably why he didn’t give a direct response. His self-motivation is usually more than enough.


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Some veteran guidance for EJ Manuel

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 7, 2015 – 2:45 pm

As he goes into his third year, Bills QB EJ Manuel has sought advice from a quarterback with one of the longest tenures at the position in recent NFL history.

Manuel revealed this week that he spent a considerable amount of offseason workout time with longtime vet Steve DeBerg. Based in the Tampa, Fla. area, DeBerg spent 21-seasons in the NFL with the Niners, Broncos, Bucs, Chiefs, Dolphins and Falcons. He led the Chiefs to two playoff appearances, and he remains in the top-20 all time in NFL history in passing attempts, completions, and yardage.

Since retiring from playing in 1998, DeBerg has been a quarterback coach with the Falcons and Giants. And he’s participated in a number of quarterback development camps.

EJ Manuel says he’s worked with DeBerg on improving his throwing motion.

“I don’t want to say I’ve changed my throwing motion but I’ve been working with Steve DeBerg pretty much since January,” Manuel said this week. “We’ve studied a bunch of the elite passers in the game. They all throw the ball, not necessarily the same exact way, but certain types of ways. I’ve been working on that since January. I think I have it down now.”

Manuel spent the last few weeks throwing with teammate Chris Hogan at a private facility in New Jersey. And he says Hogan has noticed how well EJ is throwing the ball.

“‘Hoag’  said he saw the difference,” according to Manuel. “Once we start getting out here in minicamps you guys will be able to see it as well. My confidence is extremely high and I want to keep it that way.”

 


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For QB Petty calling play in huddle is new

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2015 – 9:00 am

There will be an awful lot of things that Baylor QB prospect Bryce Petty will need to learn on the fly as he’s drafted to an NFL club this spring. While most everyone knows that he never really operated under center in the Bears’ offense, most may not realize that in Art Briles’ offense he never even called a play in the huddle.

“It was a little different. We were a signal system at Baylor,” said Petty. “I love Baylor. I wouldn’t change it for the world. If I had to go back and do it all again, I’d do it the same exact way. With coach Briles, he’s an outstanding coach. I love him to death. The teams we had were great and really prepared me for what I’m doing now. It’s a learning curve a little bit going from what we were doing at Baylor to where we are now. But it’s all part of the process, so you’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve got to love it, really, and I do love it.”

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has said more than once that making this kind of projection on a college quarterback, going from a spread system to a pro-style is among the toughest for NFL scouts. He also doesn’t see Petty as a potential target for the Bills in round two, in light of the fact that they’re still trying to develop EJ Manuel into a bona fide starter. He doesn’t see why they’d be interested in bringing on another development project.

“The quarterback thing is hard,” Mayock said. “Talking about pick number 50, I believe for Buffalo in the second round. Petty or Brett Hundley, one of those two could be there, if not both of them they’re both projects. You’ve already got a project in Buffalo right now who probably has as much talent as those two kids. So I’m not a big believer in investing in a position just because you think you have a need.”

 


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Rex: QB competition is open

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2015 – 4:00 pm

The Bills have added a pair of quarterbacks over the past few weeks in Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor. When asked where the quarterback position now stands with offseason workouts on the horizon, head coach Rex Ryan said the competition is open.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Ryan explained where things stand at QB for his squad.

“It’s going to be open. It’s a competition and whoever earns the job will be the guy that’s out there,” he said. “We have some talented guys and we’ll see what happens. You bring in a veteran like Matt Cassel. He’s done some pretty good things in this league. He’s got that veteran presence about him. With EJ back there just going into his third year I really believe EJ is going to improve with his fundamentals having (quarterbacks coach) David Lee here. I love the fact that he’s a gym rat and he’s smart. With our offense being multiple we’ll be able to get out of bad plays, so the mental part of it all of the quarterbacks we have should be able to handle that.

“With Taylor that’s going to be a young man, he’s probably the fastest quarterback in the league. He’s explosive running the zone reads, and we’ll see where he’s at. Then Tuel. We’ve got guys there to work with. That’ll be the important thing. There will be competition, but a person has to earn the job. It hasn’t been handed to somebody.”

A lot of outside observers assumed that Cassel would be handed the job, but that’s not how Ryan is running things.

With four quarterbacks on the roster, most think it will be hard for Ryan and his offensive staff to not at least whittle the competition down to just a pair of quarterbacks going into training camp knowing there just aren’t enough reps to go around and get an accurate assessment of each QB.

Ryan however, intends to run practices a bit different than Bills fans have seen in the past with two offensive units and two defensive units going at the same time on two different fields at St. John Fisher.

“When we get to training camp we’ll do a lot of things on two fields,” Ryan said. “It won’t just be the offense going and the defense going, we’re going to be working on two fields. That’s how you develop young quarterbacks. We’re blessed to have guys on our staff who can really develop quarterbacks.  Greg Roman, Chris Palmer and this is how they did it. You switch whoever is running with the twos on one field and then the ones are on another field. That’s how you get better. We’re going to have that.

“We have some young quarterbacks and we want to make sure that everybody gets the right amount of reps. We’ll have the exact same practice that we have on field one as field two so everybody gets the same reps. You just basically double them up.”


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Reed weighs in on Bills QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2015 – 12:03 pm

andre-salute-cp
Bills Hall of Famer Andre Reed appeared as a guest on NFL Network’s NFL AM show Tuesday. He was asked to weigh in on Buffalo’s quarterback situation. Unlike most he’s not assuming that recent acquisition Matt Cassel will be the starting QB come September.

“There’s going to be a quarterback competition,” Reed said. “They’ve got Matt Cassel now and they brought Tyrod Taylor in from the Ravens. There’s going to be three guys competing and Rex won’t make a decision until probably the first game.

“I think EJ (Manuel) is going to get another chance and another crack at this. I’d like to see him do well. He’s a good kid. He has all the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. I think the guys are behind him. He just has to have the right mindset going into camp of not only getting better, but being the leader that this team needs on offense.”


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QB Taylor knows EJ real well

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2015 – 2:24 pm

Bills newest QB Tyrod Taylor is will have a familiar face in the quarterback room come spring practices. That’s because he and EJ Manuel hail from the same area of their native Virginia.

“We went to a couple of camps together growing up,” Taylor told Buffalobills.com. “His parents know my parents. We’re pretty close. We’ve kept up with each other since high school. I’ve talked to him throughout his time being here with the Bills. I’m looking forward to working alongside him. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it as well. We’re going to compete and push each other to be better.”

Taylor, who is a year older than Manuel, grew up in Hampton, Virginia, while Manuel grew up in Virginia Beach. Their two towns are about a half-hour drive away from one another.

Taylor also knows one of Buffalo’s free agent visitors from childhood.

“I know Percy too, so hopefully we can get him in here,” said Taylor.

Percy Harvin grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, another half hour away from Manuel and Taylor.


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Tons of praise for EJ from Spiller

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2015 – 3:11 pm

EJ Manuel, C.J. Spiller
Among the items that C.J. Spiller had on his free agent checklist for a team was a great quarterback. Buffalo’s EJ Manuel is not that yet, but Spiller expressed a belief that the third-year quarterback will get there.

Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio Tuesday, in addition to discussing his free agent options, which include a possible plan to return to Buffalo, Spiller said he believes EJ can be a winning quarterback in the league.

“I believe he will. The thing that I love about EJ the most is his character,” said Spiller. “He was put in a bad situation last year. He was 2-2 and got benched for Kyle Orton. But at the same time that really helped him learn about the quarterback position. He was a young guy and a couple of his receivers came out the same year with him. So I don’t know that he knew how to handle that.

“I think after he watched Kyle Orton orchestrate the offense and demand certain things from guys on the offensive side of the ball he kind of grasped that and took hold of it. Every day he came prepared. He competes at the highest level. He always believed in his ability. I think he’s going to be a great fit and a franchise quarterback that can get a team to the playoffs and have a chance to go and win a Super Bowl. I have nothing but high praises for him. I love the guy. He’s a competitor. I’ll go to bat for that guy any day.”


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Virtue of patience with a young QB

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2015 – 12:54 pm

The Dallas Cowboys were an organization that was very patient with Tony Romo as a young signal caller. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was asked about how important that patience is for an NFL team even though the temptation can be great to pull the plug.

“I would argue that playing quarterback in the National Football League is probably as hard a thing as there is in sports,” said Garrett, a former quarterback himself. “The environment that you create for that quarterback is critical to his success – the system he’s in, the people he has blocking for him, how you’re playing defense, the weapons he has around him, how you call plays – all those things contribute to that. You want to have a guy who wants to be great, you want to have a guy who wants to be in that position.

“It’s a hard job. It really is, to be one of these 32 guys who start for an NFL team. You have to have the right makeup, the right character, and if you try to create that environment for him and he goes about it the right way, you have a chance to be patient for him and have the kind of quarterback that you want.”

Bills GM Doug Whaley has said he continues to believe in what EJ Manuel can be as an NFL quarterback, and though he will likely be part of a quarterback competition this offseason, patience could be rewarded.

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


	
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