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E.J. Manuel: I’m stronger than I was last year

EJ Manuel AP

It’s shaping up to be a big year for Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel.

Injuries kept him from practicing fully leading up to his rookie season and then cost him six games during the season, leaving the Bills unsure whether their 2013 first-round pick could be the long-term starter that they have been looking for in Buffalo. With a new owner coming soon, there’s a chance that the front office and coaching staff could be shaken up so Manuel will have to offer more convincing evidence that he can be that guy during his second season or run the risk that the franchise will start looking in other directions.

Manuel says that he has more confidence in himself as he moves toward the 2014 season and that he’s learned some things about staying healthy that leave him feeling like a stronger player than he was a year ago.

“I think that’s one thing I had to learn to be smart when I take off with the football. Instead of trying to get an extra three yards, either step out-of-bounds or slide. Those are all of the nuisances I had to learn,” Manuel said, via the Bills website. “Obviously, I didn’t want to go down with an injury because I’m a competitive player. I go hard each and every time I step on the field. It just so happened that I had to come down with an injury. I moved past it. Thankfully, I am 100 percent healthy right now. I feel like I’m stronger than I was last year, so I’m looking forward to moving on.”

There were some shaky reports about Manuel’s play during the spring, particularly when it came to accuracy, and Manuel says he’s been working on developing chemistry with new wideouts Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams. The hope is that increased familiarity will help Manuel’s passes find their target more frequently because anything less will leave the Bills with bigger questions to answer next offseason.

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33 Responses to “E.J. Manuel: I’m stronger than I was last year”
  1. andrewluck12 says: Jul 13, 2014 9:17 AM

    If manuel can play to his potential the bills could be sneaky wild card contender

  2. rickastleydancemoves says: Jul 13, 2014 9:20 AM

    No one would ever question how strong he is given his size, he’s a big dude, I question are you accurate with the football and makes smart decisions.

  3. logicalvoicesays says: Jul 13, 2014 9:22 AM

    #RGIIIWannabe

  4. billsbackto81 says: Jul 13, 2014 9:27 AM

    Buffalo doesn’t need you to get stronger EJ, they need you to get smarter. If you can’t make it happen with the amount of talent around you, chances are you’ll be replaced sooner than later.

  5. kgun80 says: Jul 13, 2014 9:32 AM

    He just has to be good not great. As long as he shows growth they will be a better team then most predict. They have a very good D. A great running game and a lot of talent at WR.
    They were a 6 win team with a new coaching staff and an undrafted rookie and a journeymen QB filling in when EJ was hurt. With the infusion of talent on the outside I could see 8-10 wins if we can stay healthy.

  6. llojac1 says: Jul 13, 2014 9:38 AM

    He needs to prove all his doubters wrong. If he improves his accuracy & can stay healthy the Bills have a chance to be a playoff team.

  7. charmcitychampions says: Jul 13, 2014 9:45 AM

    Big frame, looks the part….dumb as a stump and horrible passer.

  8. bassplucker says: Jul 13, 2014 9:49 AM

    If Sammy Watkins is as good as advertised, that alone will make EJ look better this year.

  9. cjnbsc says: Jul 13, 2014 9:56 AM

    I’m a Bills fan. But I am not at all sold on EJ. I have yet to see the good decisions, ability to read a defence and adjust, and most of all throwing an accurate ball.

    I just don’t see the “it”.

    To bad because if the bills had even a descent qb they would push for the playoffs

  10. pftfan says: Jul 13, 2014 9:57 AM

    When you draft a second round QB in the first round, you have a lot of fans who assume that there’s more potential there than really is.

    His ceiling is really that of a below-league average QB. Accuracy issues don’t magically go away in your second season.

  11. cpitch12 says: Jul 13, 2014 10:03 AM

    Bewtween Manuel , Geno and Tannehill……..Revis, Browner and McCourty are drooling………..

  12. realdealsteel says: Jul 13, 2014 10:08 AM

    Funny thing about Manuel,

    He was supposedly the most accurate passer when he came out of college. Now, he can’t hit the broad side of a barn? That’s called regression in my book. I don’t care what comes out his mouth; his play says different.

  13. yooperman says: Jul 13, 2014 10:12 AM

    someone says “they could go 8-10″. Please tell me how?

  14. ariani1985 says: Jul 13, 2014 10:16 AM

    Damm a good high school team could win the afc east!

  15. ttommytom says: Jul 13, 2014 10:25 AM

    Every athlete from the beginning of time knows you keep getting stronger until you peak at 27.

    So, thanks for sharing…

  16. 5decadesnfl says: Jul 13, 2014 10:57 AM

    It’s incredible that the “experts” are already questioning EJ after just 10 NFL starts. At least give the guy a full season before you bury him.

  17. largent80100 says: Jul 13, 2014 11:09 AM

    He better hope that Watkins is a star from day one, because he played poorly during last season.

    Small sample size is excusable for a first season but not anymore, neither will be his injuries.

  18. 5decadesnfl says: Jul 13, 2014 11:17 AM

    He didn’t seem to have any accuracy problems when he hit Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson in the #’s at the end of regulation and overtime to beat Atlanta. Oh yeah, they both dropped the ball.

  19. 5decadesnfl says: Jul 13, 2014 11:20 AM

    Speaking of accuracy, he hit on 58.8 percent of his passes as a rookie in only 10 starts, while battling injuries. Compare that to other rookie qb’s and it’s not that bad. Look , I’m not saying he will develop into a pro bowl qb, just that it’s crazy to tag a guy after such a small sample.

  20. pascalswager42 says: Jul 13, 2014 11:29 AM

    I would agree EJ was over drafted, but he still has room to grow his QB IQ and passing skills. Not time to fret.

    I wish Manuel and Buffalo well, but as a Browns fine I’m perfectly fine with that 1st round pick from the Watkins deal being top 5.

  21. Billsweregreatonce says: Jul 13, 2014 11:56 AM

    Give the kid a chance to show what he can do with all the tools the Bills have given him to work with. GO BILLS!!!!!

  22. thebandit27 says: Jul 13, 2014 12:07 PM

    Compare his rookie passing stat line with Andrew Luck’s.

    Seriously, go do it, now.

    Then come back and tell me what you’ve found.

  23. ccc23454 says: Jul 13, 2014 12:12 PM

    I loved the EJ pick last year! They could pick any QB since they were all on the board still and they choose him, so they truly got their guy. If he CAN STAY HEALTHY and with a full offseason working with offense I like the Bills chances and think if he stays on the field we will compete for division title

  24. thegreatgabbert says: Jul 13, 2014 12:12 PM

    E.J. feels like he got stronger and smarter over the last year. But not older.

  25. pammy6 says: Jul 13, 2014 12:48 PM

    Let’s look at Manuel WRs last season. Stevie has played well but he no real number 1 and was the only experienced guy the Bills had on the roster last season. Woods and Goodwin were rookies, Hogan has bounced around practice squads and Easily has made the team for ST purposes only the past few years. What did you expect out of a rookie QB who missed a fair amount of TC with a inexperienced WR group, a weak offensive line and a first time NFL offensive coordinator? Considering his situation Manuel did more then what I expected of him last season. Thinking every QB is gonna come in and be an instant impact day 1 is ridiculous.

  26. kingcasper says: Jul 13, 2014 3:52 PM

    Strong doesn’t make a difference. You need to have a killer instinct and Manuel doesn’t have it. 5-11 2014 Bills.

  27. kgunforhire says: Jul 13, 2014 3:56 PM

    Chemistry with his WRs will mean little when he short hops a 15 yard curl or sails a throw 5 yards out of bounds to Goodwin down the sideline. The success of this team depends on whether or not he has improved his mechanics as much as his progression with the offense and familiarity with the WRs. Watkins, Woods, Goodwin and Williams need the ball to reach them in order for this “chemistry” to mean anything. Please prove me wrong EJ.

  28. ryann252013 says: Jul 13, 2014 4:14 PM

    @bandit27

    Ej Manuel also played fewer games than Andrew Luck did. If you’re trying to say that he is better than luck then man..idk what to say to you.

  29. tahnoonzee says: Jul 13, 2014 6:38 PM

    they will give Patriots some problems and it could get interesting if he can stay healthy.

  30. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jul 13, 2014 6:53 PM

    I like Manuel and think he will be a solid QB. Getting Sammy Watkins is huge. He’s a major playmaker.

    I see 7-9 for the Bills this year

  31. iamdinguskhan says: Jul 13, 2014 9:17 PM

    This team has been slowly improving in all areas…if Manuel is and stays healthy they could do some damage in the AFC and sneak into the playoffs.
    Do not overlook this team

  32. coachbeck says: Jul 14, 2014 4:24 AM

    Count me as anxious to see how this bills offense does this year. I really like what Marrone is doing and will be interesting how he progresses Manual.

  33. iloveagoodnap says: Jul 14, 2014 8:10 AM

    People are so ignorant it’s hilarious. Listen, please, don’t post if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    To the guy saying he doesn’t have the instinct- his ability to turn it on and buckle down in clutch situations was his best strength last year. As terrible as he might have been at times, he had more than one occasion during which he (not necessarily his teammates but HE) did what he needed to help his team win. Look no further than in his 2nd career start he drove his team 80 yards for a winning TD with no timeouts in 1:45 against the Panthers. Yeah, the 12-4 Panthers with the great d- that same one.

    I’m among the first to criticize EJ for a lot of things, but please, at least criticize for the correct things.

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