For offensive coordinators that have rookie quarterbacks that were top draft choices, like Nathaniel Hackett with EJ Manuel, the temptation for a coach is to walk the rookie through everything and provide answers for them. Hackett, as hard as it might be, has instead chosen to let Manuel figure things out on his own.
During practice he will rarely interrupt plays to tutor or advise Manuel on anything regarding the defensive look that’s sitting in front of him.
“In practice our play calls aren’t always the best calls, but that’s good for EJ because that’s how he’ll learn,” Hackett told Buffalobills.com. “The great thing is I have the tape to show what he did right and what he did wrong and how he could be better. That’s better than me going up to him and saying this is what you should do.
“I want to help him. I’m dying back there (watching). But it’s good for him to feel those plays or bad plays because I’m not always going to be there.”
What Hackett means is he’ll be up in the coach’s booth on game days and when the speaker in Manuel’s helmet shuts off with 15 seconds left on the play clock, it’s all on Manuel anyway. By staying out of the way during team segments Hackett allows Manuel to think for himself and come up with his own solutions to what he’s seeing out on the field.
“I can help with the play that’s called and with his adjustments, but he needs to go through those pains of, ‘Oh crap what am I looking at?’
“When he gets a feel for that then it will become normal. It’s just like when Army guys beat the (stuff) out of each other so they know how it feels and know how to survive. It’s the same thing for us. We have to mess him up as much as we can so when it happens in the game he’s cool and it doesn’t bother him. That’s why I want Coach (Pettine) to give me everything in practice with his defensive calls and do everything he can to see how it all works.”
Tags: EJ Manuel, Mike Pettine, Nathaniel Hackett
Posted in Inside the Bills