Lost in the news about ACL knee injuries for Chris Gragg and Jonathan Dowling, and Rex Ryan’s decision to sit a lot of his starters in what is typically the last dress rehearsal for a team’s first unit on both sides of the ball, was another solid outing by EJ Manuel.
Manuel’s numbers don’t look great in the end, but he was the victim of spotty pass protection and some dropped passes as he played almost the entire game Friday against Washington.
He finished the game 21-39 passing for 221 yards with an interception on the last play of the game that was forced into coverage to try to get a game-winning touchdown pass to Walt Powell.
Overall Ryan has been impressed with the growth he’s witnessed in his backup quarterback.
“I thought he played really well and if we can protect him we would be in business,” said Ryan of Manuel’s performance. “That’s unfortunate. We’ve got to do a better job in protection. But I thought he played really well and he’s done that. I told you guys I feel really good about our quarterback situation including EJ.”
Manuel’s ball location on the whole was good, despite being under duress much of the game. He was also decisive when it came to where he was going with the football and though he was sacked twice his internal clock seemed to be in sync with Washington’s pass rush.
“I think every time we put him out there he’s done a great job. He threw the touchdown at the end, but sure enough, it’s OPI (offensive pass interference) so the touchdown is called back.”
Ryan was referring to Manuel’s touchdown pass to Powell two plays prior to Manuel’s final throw that was picked off. Powell was flagged for offensive pass interference.
“But I really liked the way he played. I love the way he competes. He’s got a great look in his face. He loves competing. You know what? Sometimes quarterbacks take a little longer to develop. I think this is the best EJ Manuel I’ve seen.”
Tags: EJ Manuel, Rex Ryan
Posted in Inside the Bills