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Manuel says Buffalo’s offense is easier than Florida State’s

Buffalo Bills Rookie Camp Getty Images

If Bills quarterback EJ Manuel isn’t ready to start as of Week One, it won’t be because he doesn’t understand the offense.

Manuel told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Saturday that he has figured out the system used by coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

“The funny thing is it’s easier to learn than the offense I had at Florida State,” the 16th overall pick in the draft said, via ESPN.com.  “It’s a true West Coast-type progression offense.  That’s really what I wanted when I was coming through the pre-draft process.  I wanted something that I could just go in and say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, check it down and run it.  That’s it, it’s that simple.  I love it. . . .

“The learning curve for me is a lot shorter simply because of what I had at Florida State.  [The Seminoles’ offense is] more complex and a little bit harder to catch on and learn.  This offense is very simple.  I’ve done a great job with it.”

There’s a certain irony in Nathaniel Hackett running a simple offense, because his father, Paul, was notorious for using complex and convoluted playbooks and systems.

While the Bills don’t seem ready to thrust Manuel into the starting role, it’s hard to justify using a first-round pick on a quarterback and not using him right out of the gates.  It will be even harder with Manuel making clear that he has mastered the playbook.

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85 Responses to “Manuel says Buffalo’s offense is easier than Florida State’s”
  1. elwaysagenius says: May 19, 2013 11:26 PM

    Well I guess there is no excuse for his inevitable failure

  2. stevenwilliams2013 says: May 19, 2013 11:27 PM

    Wait till you are up in New England playing the Patriots in October,..let’s see how easy it is going to be then.

  3. gripless says: May 19, 2013 11:30 PM

    Sounds pretty stupid for being so smart.

    He’ll probably find out that the pro game is slower and has less strategy also!!

    What a dumb ass. Even if you think the system is easier, keep your mouth shut and benefit from that.

  4. canetic says: May 19, 2013 11:31 PM

    I think he’s doing it wrong.

  5. hawkstradamus says: May 19, 2013 11:32 PM

    Look how well prepped former Florida st and recent first round draft pick Christian Ponder was. He was basically able to jump right in as a below average QB from day one.

  6. damrvrhunter says: May 19, 2013 11:34 PM

    Young grasshopper needs to show respect for NFL defenses. He will never play against Savannah State again.

  7. kd75 says: May 19, 2013 11:35 PM

    That says a whole lot about the Buffalo offense. Someone from Florida State figured it out in one month…

  8. johnnyb216 says: May 19, 2013 11:36 PM

    Wow! I guess we know why the Bills have been so unsuccessful for the last decade and a half…

  9. tfbuckfutter says: May 19, 2013 11:40 PM

    If there is one thing you want from your quarterback, the most cerebral position on the field, it is that he recognizes and appreciates how easy the offense is to comprehend, and how little thought and effort he has to put in.

    Nobody likes a nerd who wants complex schemes. K.I.S.S. is how you win championships…..if you have an all-time great defense, anyway.

  10. longsufferingbillsfan says: May 19, 2013 11:40 PM

    It’s not that the offense is actually that simple, it’s that this kid might actually be that smart.

  11. buccaboo says: May 19, 2013 11:45 PM

    Hmmm. Maybe other teams see it that way to and that’s why the Bills don’t win?

  12. lightcleric says: May 19, 2013 11:49 PM

    Unfortunately, it lacks the one redeeming quality of Chan Gailey’s offense: requiring the quarterback to look like a lumberjack.

  13. smcgaels1997 says: May 19, 2013 11:53 PM

    So a college trams offense is more complex than an NFL teams? Oh boy, Bills fans ought to be thrilled

  14. logicalvoicesisnotlogical says: May 19, 2013 11:53 PM

    Says a lot about the offense if its able be grasped in one month by a rookie.

  15. vegasbillzfan42 says: May 19, 2013 11:53 PM

    It shouldn’t be that hard of an offence……….hand the ball to CJ and Freddie J.

  16. wisewoo says: May 20, 2013 12:02 AM

    That’s all Ryan Fitzpatrick was trying to say last year.

    Except then it seemed alot worse because it was simpler than Harvard’s offense.

  17. baileytheskydiver says: May 20, 2013 12:03 AM

    I have always loved EJ Manuel and im not even a florida st. fan.. this dude is gonna be good in the NFL. All you doubters will be proven wrong.

  18. rr2000k says: May 20, 2013 12:05 AM

    Guess that’s why the Bills suck?

  19. urmomsmyho says: May 20, 2013 12:09 AM

    If Geno Smith said this everyone would be going nuts but I guess Manuel gets a pass bc he’s likeable and didn’t fire his agent.

  20. thesteelers says: May 20, 2013 12:11 AM

    Don’t become like Geno now!

  21. j4man1 says: May 20, 2013 12:14 AM

    Well if a rookie says their offense is so simple to learn that would explain their lack-luster performance the last 20 years.

  22. raiderinva says: May 20, 2013 12:17 AM

    This is a pretty good self assessment for someone who has not even participated in an 11 -11 drill yet.

    I wonder what Mario Williams has to say about this?

  23. judalation says: May 20, 2013 12:20 AM

    That explains Fitzpatrick loosing record…

  24. lostsok says: May 20, 2013 12:21 AM

    So Buffalo has the offense of a Junior College, EJ, is that what you’re saying?

    Now exactly a news flash.

  25. reppster says: May 20, 2013 12:28 AM

    I like the confidence from young players, but I think he’s a bit ahead of himself right now. Lets see if the NFL speed is a easier learning curve as well.

  26. alohapatriots says: May 20, 2013 12:31 AM

    He wont be saying that when he sees Vince Wilfork and Brandon Spikes frothing at the mouth for a sack.

  27. floridaslonechargersfan says: May 20, 2013 12:31 AM

    Good for Manuel that he is easily learning the offense in Buffalo. I hope he succeeds and continues to get better.

  28. robkeezy says: May 20, 2013 12:36 AM

    Being an FSU fan, I was sad to see EJ go. He’s a great guy; I met him at my job once (EA Sports). Being a Jets fan, it pains me even more that I’ll have to root against him. The Bills got a great pick.

  29. dhn66 says: May 20, 2013 12:45 AM

    I don’t understand some of these responses. He didn’t say that he’d be All Pro day one and that the Patriots better watch their backs.

    He’s just saying that the Bills offense has been easier to learn than the one he ran at FSU.

    Last time I checked, RG3 and Russell Wilson ran simplified offenses during their rookie seasons as well. It’s like, good coaching or something. What a concept.

  30. catquick says: May 20, 2013 12:47 AM

    The Bills under Jim Kelly and the K gun had an 8 play offense. Variants off it, but only 8 plays. It relied on execution. You simpletons who are saying that’s why the Bills suck are airheads. It’s never been in this town before anyway. Quit commenting and go watch Spongebob.

  31. stealthjunk says: May 20, 2013 1:15 AM

    Great, this should be a piece of cake then. Just wait until you throw an NFL defense in there.

  32. UPYRS says: May 20, 2013 1:20 AM

    Prolly explains haven’t won in years. An offense that a cave man could run

  33. garyhd01 says: May 20, 2013 1:57 AM

    wonder if he noticed the footnote at the bottom of the page…. next week chapter 2 of 25.

  34. joe400e says: May 20, 2013 2:18 AM

    IMO Manuel kind of painted himself into a corner by making that statement. He certainly doesn’t have the excuse of not knowing the offense.

  35. eagleeye69 says: May 20, 2013 2:22 AM

    I would justify waiting until he’s ready. It’s not always the system or playbook. It’s trying to execute at a much faster rate with smaller windows against better athletes.

  36. Corey Jeppesen says: May 20, 2013 2:34 AM

    All of you people saying “that’s why Buffalo has sucked all these years blah blee blah blabity blah” need to grow a brain. This is the first year of this staff and its a brand new system. Also you all read this and assume some chauvinistic tone. He’s not at all making light of it. He’s saying he’s happy it’s not complex. If you bothered to think past your initial shallow thoughts, you’d know that no coach wants his players to struggle with the system rather use the system to empower him to use his skills and improve on them. It’s a good thing EJ has this down at this point…now he can literally practice it and get better.

  37. Corey Jeppesen says: May 20, 2013 2:41 AM

    Russell Wilson also felt the Wisconsin & Seahawks Playbook came easy to him and he obviously didn’t do well….it couldn’t be because some of these rookies are actually smart and level headed could it? You’ll see haters, EJ got all the goods to succeed in the NFL. You want your QB to be comfortable with your Playbook. It’s actually a bad sign that he would struggle learning it.

    In fact all the haters would be damning him and the Bills either way. If the article was saying he was struggling, you call him out for being dumb and the Bills being dumb for over complicating the Playbook. So many of you will always just find the negative in anything.

  38. ballboy48 says: May 20, 2013 2:45 AM

    That also means defenses will figure it out pretty quick, as well.

  39. truths4all says: May 20, 2013 2:48 AM

    Based on Manuel’s comments plus the Bill’s consistent and long losing streak, it is easy to conclude that all of the other defensive units in the NFL also completely understand the Bill’s offense as well.

  40. stubbyjones says: May 20, 2013 2:55 AM

    he didnt say its easier than FSUs, he said its “easier to learn”. There’s a difference

  41. gadzod says: May 20, 2013 5:51 AM

    As for the easy playbook comments, the 90’s Bills and Cowboys seemed to do well with a simple playbook….

  42. mr305dale says: May 20, 2013 6:12 AM

    Sorry, but as a huge Florida State fan this guy couldn’t do anything with superior talent around him at a school located in a state thats a hotbed for football talent. He had the number one rated defense and still couldn’t put enough points on the board to beat good teams (Florida and Oklahoma). He will suck. He doesn’t know how to harness that arm of his. Intermediate passes will float on him and get picked. He is slow with his decisions. Sorry Buffalo, but you guys reached for a guy you could have gotten in the 2nd or 3rd round.

  43. b3nz0z says: May 20, 2013 6:52 AM

    In my experience whenever something feels easy it means you’re about to get schooled

  44. wvujess20 says: May 20, 2013 7:32 AM

    I just don’t understand how you keep talking about the Bills using a first round pick on the kid, so he has to be the starter. Never in he history of the nfl has a team drafted a quarterback in the first round without intending for him to start immediately… Well, besides Aaron Rogers, drafted 23rd overall and sat on the bench behind Farve for 3 season… What a draft day bust!!!

  45. coseybedaman says: May 20, 2013 7:42 AM

    Just because the basic fundamentals of an offense were easy for a QB to grasp does not mean the offense is simple or predictable. It also doesnt mean EJ is saying that the NFL is easy. Everyone just calm it down a bit.

  46. exboomer says: May 20, 2013 7:47 AM

    I think Manuel is being a bit naive. He hasn’t played a game yet at the pace the NFL plays and it will be a lot different when you’ve got defenses looking to take your head off vs playing against your own teammates.

  47. followme2boston says: May 20, 2013 7:50 AM

    He said it was easier to learn, not easier. Subtle difference but I believe one all the same. Maybe Hackett is a better teacher, But the real reason is that, Hackett only gave him 15 plays at the rookie Mini camp to start with. Once he masters those plays then he will get more to learn.

  48. coachbeck says: May 20, 2013 7:55 AM

    Just a young kid getting twisted around by questions. I am sure the minicamp offense is easier than FSU

  49. sguy2130 says: May 20, 2013 7:56 AM

    For the sake of Bills fans, I hope this just means they’ve just given the guy a neutered playbook, either that or he must be a genius…but if that were the case I think he would have been smart enough to keep his mouth shut in the first place…

    The more I think about it they must have just given him a coloring book. Don’t want to overwelm the kid or anything.

  50. TeamBalco says: May 20, 2013 8:02 AM

    Just be accurate, don’t fumble when sacked, and stay healthy. Everything else will take care of itself.

  51. mullman76 says: May 20, 2013 8:09 AM

    @stevewilliams: You are a perfect example of why patriots fan is so hated. You’re obnoxious. You’re sense of entitlement is in direct proportion to your delusion.

    Tommy and the and the two Bill’s can’t keep that thing together for much longer. It’ll be another 25 years until a HOF QB is take in the 6th rd and I guarantee it won’t be the patriots finding him.

    It’ll all be over soon enough chowds. I hope you have enjoyed the ride.

  52. joeyashwi says: May 20, 2013 8:15 AM

    Learning the offense isn’t the hard part, reading the defense and making adjustments is. That’s what separates the good QBs from the bad ones. He didn’t say anything wrong.

  53. ninerfan81 says: May 20, 2013 8:16 AM

    If it’s super easy for a rookie QB to pick up imagine what Lebeau and Belichick are thinking, lol. Unfortunately you have to visit both of those teams brother. If I’m a Bills fan I dont get a warm and fuzzy hearing this from my rookie.

  54. rg3andthensome says: May 20, 2013 8:21 AM

    And there in lies the problem….Buffalo is Doomed.

  55. madmax80 says: May 20, 2013 8:27 AM

    He’s probably right. He only needs to remember 3 plays at a time.

    The 4th play is always a punt and I doubt they’ll be using him on the punt team.

  56. tsizzlesucks says: May 20, 2013 8:30 AM

    Hard to imagine that Manuel gave up his Rhodes scholarship to play qb for the Bills. Hell, he’s so smart that he has to use initials only for his name! How did the Jets let this one get away?

  57. johanvil says: May 20, 2013 8:32 AM

    let’s see if he keeps saying it after the first weeks in to the new season.

  58. toybkshr says: May 20, 2013 8:34 AM

    Everything’s simple, easy, & fine til the real games start.

  59. bonerchamp says: May 20, 2013 8:36 AM

    Sounds like Captain Checkdown 2.0

  60. pastorbobs says: May 20, 2013 8:49 AM

    The defenses in the NFL aren’t as easy to figure out as he will soon find out. If the offense is predictable for him, his tendencies will be just as predictable for defenses as well. It may be a little harder to play QB in the NFL than he thinks.

  61. jjthesportsguy says: May 20, 2013 8:55 AM

    Hey EJ,

    They’re not feeding you the whole playbook because you’re a rookie. It will get harder.

    Sincerely yours,
    Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb, Vince Young, Matt Cassel

  62. kingpel says: May 20, 2013 8:57 AM

    Hand off to Spiller. Hand off to Jackson. Throw deep to Johnson. Got that, son?

  63. kobuffalo says: May 20, 2013 8:58 AM

    You forget Buffalo is in the AFC East which means we basically play against Savannah State’s defense twice a year (i.e. Patriots). Also, not sure what the comment about Mario Williams means, as he won’t be playing any games AGAINST Manuel. Keep hating . . . the tides are turning.

  64. heyguru1969 says: May 20, 2013 9:10 AM

    Just don’t pull a triceps in your passing arm trying to pat yourself on the back.

  65. bradkaz96 says: May 20, 2013 9:16 AM

    People need to understand that he is not saying that the offense is simple, hes stating that the offense is easy for him to grasp and pick up on. Perhaps he likes the terminology or has something from in his past from Florida State that has lessened thelearning curve for him.

    For the people comparing the new Bills regime to the one of the past 13 years, stop it. You sound foolish. None of these players, coaches or even front office guys were around then. The Bills in a short period of time have one of the youngest most progressive thinking front office and coaching personel in the league. Lets hope it all pans out.

    Also dont forget alot of Nathaniel Hacketts coaching background comes from when he was an assistant back in the Jim Kelley Era. Guess what folks the K-Gun offense back then was just a bunch of different variations of about 6-8 different plays. When a team is running an up-tempo offense the plays need to be relatively easy to understand to keep everyone on the same page in a noisy enviroment.

  66. etoharin78 says: May 20, 2013 9:44 AM

    Maybe he is just being eased into things, and hasn’t been given the more complex stuff yet, he is a rookie after all.

  67. jpiro says: May 20, 2013 9:47 AM

    Two things:

    1) EJ Manuel is EXTREMELY smart. He’s already got a degree in Communications and is halfway to a Masters in International Affairs. It’s not shocking that he’d be able to quickly grasp an offense.

    2) Jimbo Fisher’s offense is known to be EXTREMELY complex. (Perhaps even to a fault.) Player after player has said so. So it’s not surprising that what he’s seeing in Buffalo is “easier to pick up.”

    Now, as an FSU fan I’ll readily admit that there are things he needs to fix if he’s going to be successful going forward as an NFL QB (starting with an AWFUL spin move he goes to when pressured that never works) but anyone grasping at this quote as a reason he won’t succeed is really reaching.

  68. fanfrommontreal says: May 20, 2013 10:06 AM

    Not sure if that is a compliment.

  69. mackcarrington says: May 20, 2013 10:06 AM

    I don’t think Manuel said that he’s “mastered the playbook”, as Mr. Florio asserts. And by the way, would the Bills have installed the entire offense at this point in the year?

  70. 315judman says: May 20, 2013 10:28 AM

    This is just smoke…

  71. musicman495 says: May 20, 2013 10:41 AM

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he is going against the Bills defense.

  72. christophershearin says: May 20, 2013 10:49 AM

    i am really disapointed in you guys, No references to the simplicity of the offense being the reason the bills suck……………

    Its monday so you all get a pass……..

    Dont let it happen again

  73. eatitfanboy says: May 20, 2013 10:53 AM

    My only knock on this kid is that he could use a little more self-confidence. LOL

  74. peanutele24 says: May 20, 2013 10:56 AM

    If I was a Bills fan I would not be comfortable right now.

  75. cobruhhh says: May 20, 2013 10:59 AM

    You simplify an offense for 1 reason. EJ will be week 1 starter…

  76. craigjosh says: May 20, 2013 11:22 AM

    All this tells me is that he is being coached very well right now. I sincerely doubt it’s an easier offense, but I do believe that the new regime in Buffalo will turn things around. Also, everyone calm down, it’s two weeks after the draft, they aren’t going to throw the whole system at him right off the bat and overwhelm him. This offense will be a “read option/ K-gun”(according to the coaches and GM at least), and most certainly a run heavy team. With Spiller and Freddie, there is no reason to complicate things. I love to hear that he is understanding everything so far, hopefully that continues and he is on the field for week 1. Everyone who is knocking the Bills just settle down, we haven’t been to the playoffs in over a decade, so excuse us for being excited. Especially New England Fans, for the love of God, we all know you’ll win the Afc East, so just chill out, if we beat you once the goal posts may come down, that’s where we are as a fan base.

  77. mogogo1 says: May 20, 2013 11:26 AM

    “I’ve done a great job with it.”

    I don’t care how confident you are in your abilities, or how great practices have gone, you simply should not make comments like that prior to actually facing an opponent.

  78. jtchernak says: May 20, 2013 11:27 AM

    Oh you work for ea robkeezy? Fix madden its the worst football game ever made, no exaggeration. Put some damn defense in the game! No way should people be able to score 70 to 60 easily!

  79. cletuswithat says: May 20, 2013 11:31 AM

    alrighty then

  80. billyboy05 says: May 20, 2013 11:34 AM

    I love how all you (obviously brilliant) people just assume these players get out of practice, scour the parking lot for a soap box, and make their prolific declarations to any media in the area that will listen. He’s asked these questions directly, so how should he respond?? “Well guys… uhhh… I’m actually having a really hard time with this playbook thingie… uhhh…”

  81. buffalomafia says: May 20, 2013 12:39 PM

    With no offensive line he & Kolb will get knocked on there asses a lot!!!!

  82. phoowes says: May 20, 2013 2:05 PM

    This seems like a typical case of a quote framed completely out of context. Seems to happen a lot every off season. I would check to whole interview, but I just don’t care enough about the Bills.

  83. phillyphil005 says: May 20, 2013 3:32 PM

    The Bills will rise again, and we’ll be here to let every last one of you fools know it.

    That day is coming in the near future, beware.

  84. hankdatruthtella says: May 20, 2013 3:49 PM

    UPYRS…it’s spelled probably not prolly, if you see a red line under the word that means it’s prolly spelled wrong.

  85. raider1so1penalize1me says: May 21, 2013 12:17 AM

    We’ll see how easy it is if/when he has to execute it through 16 weeks of an NFL campaign. Good luck

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