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E.J. Manuel makes plays with legs, arm in preseason debut

EJ Manuel AP

E.J. Manuel’s first taste of game action in the NFL didn’t result in a performance good enough to call for an immediate end to the quarterback competition in Buffalo, but it didn’t do much to hurt his chances either.

Manuel ran the offense for six series and led the Bills to a pair of field goals before exiting the game with a touchdown to close the half. The Bills offense played at the faster pace that’s been anticipated since Doug Marrone became the head coach, but they didn’t ask Manuel to take too many chances down the field. They fed C.J. Spiller the ball early and often, which was another expected development even if Spiller’s fumble wasn’t particularly appreciated, and Manuel threw almost only short passes during his stint.

Manuel’s biggest play of the day came on the ground.  He flashed his running ability on a play where the Colts got some quick pressure and turned a potential loss into a 24-yard gain. His passing wasn’t quite as impressive, outside of a two-minute drill at the end of the first half against Colts backups that saw Manuel complete all nine passes culminating with an 17-yard touchdown pass to Dorin Dickerson.

He wound up 16-for-21 for 107 yards with a couple of poor throws keeping the completion percentage from being even higher. One incompletion came on a play when Manuel rolled out and threw the ball out the back of the end zone when he couldn’t find an open receiver. While that’s not the ideal result, it’s better than the pick that can come when a quarterback doesn’t realize that the best choice is to settle for the field goal.

Kevin Kolb won’t get a chance to answer in Sunday’s game since he didn’t dress after missing practice time after slipping on a rubber mat early last week and then leaving camp to deal with a death in the family. When he does play, he’ll have an idea of the bar he’ll need to clear to jump ahead of Manuel in the pecking order. It’s not particularly high, but it may have been enough of a jumping off point, especially with Manuel’s play improving as the game went along, to make it difficult for Kolb to win the job.

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55 Responses to “E.J. Manuel makes plays with legs, arm in preseason debut”
  1. lennydpocketqb says: Aug 11, 2013 3:28 PM

    That way more promise than the last 5 Bills QB’s. I hope he does well… That city needs some good karma.

  2. Remixed says: Aug 11, 2013 3:29 PM

    I was impressed how EJ Manuel improved over time. He made some great choices and that last drive that was completed in 1:36 was great. I’m not saying he is going to be our savior, but he definitely didn’t disappoint.

  3. sketchydave says: Aug 11, 2013 3:30 PM

    Jeff tuel.

    Ej has potential but ball placement is off.

    Jeff’s eyes are always down field. Makes completions. Placement is on. What I hope is the best guy gets the start. Wish the best for both cut kolb.

    Go bills.

  4. youarejealousof6rings says: Aug 11, 2013 3:32 PM

    Meanwhile, the Steelers are only building upon decades of dominance. Must suck to be a Bills fan.

  5. jlmd17 says: Aug 11, 2013 3:35 PM

    Buffalo is turning into a cesspool of crime. Didn’t used to be that way…what happened?

  6. Stiller43 says: Aug 11, 2013 3:37 PM

    16 completions for 107 yards? Sounds like he’s checking it down even more than alex smith

  7. stillabillsfan says: Aug 11, 2013 3:38 PM

    I’m happy with the fact that Buffalo dictated the pace of the first half, and that’s continuing so far in the second half. An early win will provide an immensely critical boost of confidence in the system. That is so critically overlooked with a young team, especially one that hasn’t played together. Tomorrow is going to be a fun day at training camp.

  8. radioactivechimp says: Aug 11, 2013 3:40 PM

    He certainly didn’t seem overwhelmed in his first game. He made smart decisions with the ball and he had a couple nice runs when he saw good man-coverage downfield. I would have liked to see a couple deeper throws, but I still liked what I saw from Manuel today.

  9. buffalobills716 says: Aug 11, 2013 3:41 PM

    EJ Manuel,is the future and him will be a good QB 4 us,and he would wins super bowls and take us 2 the post season…. #Hoodie is watching tape on how to cheap him cause I won’t call it how to stop him. #gobills

  10. stolendog23 says: Aug 11, 2013 3:42 PM

    They babied him a little with the play calling but he looked very poised for a rookie. There are going to be some ups and downs with this kid but today showed some real promise. I like the youth movement at WR, Goodwin is a burner and Woods looks polished. I’m crossing my fingers.

  11. westtupper88 says: Aug 11, 2013 3:45 PM

    Bills fan here. Watched all of EJ today. I was not that impressed. A lot of his throws were flat and I was waiting to see some of this big arm they speak of. I understand its the preseason but the offense still had a Chan Gailey feel. Many short throws for little yards often facing 3rd down with not many conversions. The secondary looks like it needs a lot of help as well. Hopefully Byrd gets back soon.

  12. kgun80 says: Aug 11, 2013 3:45 PM

    Looked like they kept it pretty vanilla. Gave the kid some opportunities to make quick throws and get some experience and confidence. Woods played pretty well too taking the #1 spot with Stevie out. It’s only preseason but nice to see some growth.

  13. skoobyfl says: Aug 11, 2013 3:48 PM

    Bills are playing to win.

  14. ryann252013 says: Aug 11, 2013 3:49 PM

    I hope Geno shows some flash Saturday vs the jags as well. Can’t wait for some Bills vs Jets and Geno vs EJ in the future!

  15. beckzhere says: Aug 11, 2013 3:54 PM

    How is Kolb still even being considered for a starting job?

  16. deebl0ck says: Aug 11, 2013 3:59 PM

    Jeff tuel actually looked better than ej Manuel

  17. swaggyy says: Aug 11, 2013 4:01 PM

    Really? I thought he was going to make plays with his nose

  18. wizwix says: Aug 11, 2013 4:09 PM

    For the first time in a long time (in the preseason), the Bills looked really good… And not just because they finally got rid of those horrible looking “fake polo-shirt” collars!

  19. mackcarrington says: Aug 11, 2013 4:12 PM

    Rookie Jeff Tuel already looks better than Kolb. Marcus Easly may emerge as the no, 2 receiver.

  20. bux1022 says: Aug 11, 2013 4:15 PM

    Kolb is a bum! Manuel’s job to lose..

  21. ecnc30 says: Aug 11, 2013 4:19 PM

    Wasn’t impressed…Tuel looks better, but still with the stupid penalties;defense thinks they are impressive????
    Still have to compete in AFC East …and they can’t, never have and never will.

  22. ecnc30 says: Aug 11, 2013 4:20 PM

    Forgot this…. The coach can sure chew that gum. this is Syracuse west … Perhaps they will make the Pinstripe Bowl!!

  23. billsfan1 says: Aug 11, 2013 4:25 PM

    If luck or kaep had those stats you would have talked about how they are adjusting nicely to the nfl but because manual was drafted higher than most think he should have been, you knock his 5 incomplete passes?

    He had a nice first pro game and leave it at that

  24. callingaudibles says: Aug 11, 2013 4:48 PM

    Agreed! ^

  25. sourdoughsam says: Aug 11, 2013 4:51 PM

    There’s nothing wrong with short passes, Josh Alper.

  26. allnflfan says: Aug 11, 2013 4:51 PM

    Jeff Tuel made Kolb irrelevant today

  27. keepyerstickontheice says: Aug 11, 2013 4:57 PM

    After watching “Tuel Time”, I think Kolb’s battling for third on the depth chart against nobody.

  28. mackcarrington says: Aug 11, 2013 5:12 PM

    The offense looks “vanilla” because coaches don’t like to put a lot on tape in the pre-season. No one ever opens up their entire playbook in the pre-season.

  29. henryjones20 says: Aug 11, 2013 5:13 PM

    some so called bills fans won’t be happy with EJ no matter how he plays.same ones cried about jim kelly and bruce smith.

  30. youarejealousof6rings says: Aug 11, 2013 5:18 PM

    skoobyfl says:
    Aug 11, 2013 3:48 PM

    Bills are playing to win.
    ___________________________________

    LOL, way to go out on a limb there.

  31. EJ says: Aug 11, 2013 5:19 PM

    deebl0ck says:
    Aug 11, 2013 3:59 PM

    Jeff tuel actually looked better than ej Manuel

    The reason behind that: Tuel was going up against the third/fourth/future cuts and Manuel was going against the Starters and their backups.

  32. youarejealousof6rings says: Aug 11, 2013 5:27 PM

    wizwix says:
    Aug 11, 2013 4:09 PM

    For the first time in a long time (in the preseason), the Bills looked really good
    ___________________________________

    There, fixed it for you.

    Being a Bills fan is miserable, I can feel your pain from our trophy room. Things will look up once you move to Toronto.

  33. fordmandalay says: Aug 11, 2013 5:33 PM

    Kolb just may set the NFL record for getting paid the most, while doing the least in a career. At least the Raiders got a couple of years on the field from JaWalrus.

  34. EJ says: Aug 11, 2013 5:35 PM

    I think Manuel did a fair job today considering this is his first taste of a real NFL game. Short passes or long, he still threw a pretty nice looking ball. As for his legs, the kid has wheels and he knew when to use them. He looks pretty responsive to pressure, with has been an issue with the last few (Fitzpatrick, Edwards) QB’s. The last Quarterback for Buffalo that was good with pressure and running was Losman, but he made bad decision’s too often. I don’t see Manuel having any problems with that.

    Tuel looked sharp, just like he has all throughout Training Camp. Yes, he was running against the third and fourth stringers, but he was also playing with those same third and fourth stringers. I’d like to see him get more of an opportunity against stronger opposition. Maybe Kolb will become a casualty before the season starts and Tuel will end up backing Manuel. Only time will tell.

  35. EJ says: Aug 11, 2013 5:38 PM

    Typo fixed.

    ————————————————-

    He looks pretty responsive to pressure, which has been an issue with the last few (Fitzpatrick, Edwards) QB’s.

  36. rajbais says: Aug 11, 2013 5:46 PM

    I know that it’s the preseason, but why is he not drafted in fantasy football more often?

    Eddie Lacy is in over 85% of leagues according to Yahoo! Sports.

    Get this guy when you can!!!

  37. qdog112 says: Aug 11, 2013 5:52 PM

    Kid gets an “A” for his first day on the job.

  38. docboss says: Aug 11, 2013 5:56 PM

    His performance in 2013 in moot. As long as Brady plays, the other teams in the AFC East are “blood donors”. Think NFC West in the Montana/Young era.

  39. henryjones20 says: Aug 11, 2013 6:17 PM

    bills1: finally someone who makes sense!! oh u also EJ. real bills fans stand up

  40. blackbug99 says: Aug 11, 2013 6:18 PM

    Jeff Tuel actually looked better than ej Manuel
    ……………………………………………………………………………..

    Actually, I was impressed they let both play a half. Kolb has had a few issues lately, but is not out of the mix. I expect to see Kolb get the next start.

  41. wwwmattcom says: Aug 11, 2013 6:30 PM

    I second the nod to Tuel.

  42. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 11, 2013 6:36 PM

    As a rookie, I think EJ played better than anyone could have expected. As he goes, so goes the Bills season it feels like.

  43. billsboy88 says: Aug 11, 2013 7:12 PM

    Im taking this one in stride, but just for fun, could you imagine if undrafted Jeff Tuel somehow ended up being the franchise QB?? It’s more than extremely unlikely, but I did find myself musing about it today. It’d make a pretty great story. “Jeff Tuel”….it sounds like a good name for a QB too.

    lol

  44. rottenbellybutton says: Aug 11, 2013 7:24 PM

    6moldyrings, did the Bills hurt your feelings that bad in the early 90′s. It couldn’t have been of late cause they’ve been irrelevant. I bet you weren’t alive to see their first 4. By the way things are looking, Buffalo will win their 1st before pissburgh gets their 7th. This team did something that will NEVER happen again in going to 4 straight SB’s.

  45. iceburgskin202 says: Aug 11, 2013 7:32 PM

    He has to improve on his yds per att but otherwise a great first dance for EJ!! #NoleNation

  46. sketchydave says: Aug 11, 2013 7:34 PM

    @billsboy. And @ej

    I was debating with this dude at the bar today for a half hour. He was trying to tell me ej looked better. Ej missed a few dumb throws like to hogan over the middle. Talked about some awesome deep ball at camp. I went to two camps one was the scrimmage. Ej missed a bunch of throws. Three and out. Tuel came in bombing. Jeff’s ball placement is just plain nasty. Made Marcus easily look like Jerry rice. His eyes are down field. I believe in both and believe in the long term ej has a higher ceiling but first stringers or not you can judge ball placement pocket poise and adjustments pre snap reads. Jeff won that today hands down. Last thing we want to see is ej become Trent check down Edwards. That said he made some smart decisions

  47. nonetruerthanblue says: Aug 11, 2013 7:37 PM

    Were we watching the same game?! He did great for his first pro football game.

  48. Herb Deluxe says: Aug 11, 2013 8:38 PM

    @youarejealousof6rings
    You are an absolute zero. We might be jealous of your six rings, but not of your lonely, friendless existence.

  49. tomcous says: Aug 11, 2013 9:14 PM

    I was happy EJ showed maturity in not turning the ball over … however, the Bills are going to have dilemma if they’re going to try and keep Tuel on their practice squad.

    Even if those were backups or camp-bodies Tuel was needling the ball in there and had some really nice deep passes. He also guided his receivers and blockers into position pre-snap. He took charge like a vet!

    Kevin Kolb better take notice because he’s very close to un-employment (IMO)!

  50. goldrush36 says: Aug 11, 2013 10:20 PM

    Not a bills fan but I am an FSU fan and I always knew EJ would be a much better pick than that joke Smith. Im happy for the bills that they made the right pick

  51. swaggyy says: Aug 12, 2013 12:56 AM

    Long story short, EJ Manuel sucks

  52. gettingpwned says: Aug 12, 2013 2:09 AM

    Didn’t see the game. Only saw the highlights. But I know he played the first half… And how many plays were the Colts starters on D in for? I’m betting on not the whole first half.

  53. theryanfitztragics says: Aug 12, 2013 8:48 AM

    Pre-season or not, this was the most refreshing Bills game I’ve watched in a really long time. All the new guys on both sides of the ball looked great… EJ looked like he can manage this offense going forward.

    Other rookies that looked great for Buffalo:
    Kiko Alonso
    Marquise Goodwin
    Da’Rick Rogers
    Robert Woods

    Looking forward to a new season for once! Go Bills!!!!

  54. mikejonesforum says: Aug 12, 2013 9:04 AM

    Bills fans deserve a break.

  55. ranman1 says: Aug 12, 2013 9:53 PM

    ecnc30,

    You’re right…the Bills have NEVER competed in the AFC East. Of course there was that 4 AFC championship thing…and those 4 straight trips to the SB…but why let history get in the way of some good ol’ fashioned BS.

    NEWSFLASH: Manuel doesn’t call the plays, Hackett does. Those weren’t “check downs”, those were the plays being called. Even Marrone said, he called upstairs to inquire about the lack of go routes. As for Tuel being better, you clowns criticize EJ for running a PERFECT 2 min. drive against Indy’s 2nd stringers, and praise Tuel for playing well against 2nd, 3rd stringers, and undrafted’s…Oh ye hypocrites.

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