E.J. Manuel impressed Bills at bad weather workout


The weather in Western New York has a tendency to be fairly inhospitable during the latter portions of the NFL calendar.

Freezing rain, snow and plain bitter cold can affect the games and especially the quarterbacks trying to throw a rock-hard pigskin with fingers so cold they can’t get a real feel for the ball.

The knowledge of the wintry conditions in Buffalo shaped the way head coach Doug Marrone evaluated possible quarterback prospects leading up to last week’s NFL Draft. When the Bills brass went to Tallahassee to workout E.J. Manuel at Florida State, the weather was nasty. Wind and thunderstorms pounded the Florida panhandle and gave the Bills a look at what Manuel could do in poor weather.

I remember when I first got the job here in Buffalo, and I had been up here and played up here before, and I got out of the car in January and the wind I was like, ‘Wow.’ I never realized how windy it was that time of the year,” Marrone said on SiriusXM radio, via the team’s official website.

“We started talking about the quarterbacks, and we went back and researched all the teams that played in the Northeast in the bad weather and all the success they had with quarterbacks and the common traits that they had. They were big and had big hands and were able to throw the ball in tough weather and that’s what we were looking at.”

It was Manuel’s performance during the workout that helped push Manuel to the top of the Bills draft board and the only quarterback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

48 responses to “E.J. Manuel impressed Bills at bad weather workout

  1. I was pretty skeptical at first about the pick initially and am still, but the more I am hearing about Manuel the more I’m liking him. The only thing I really hate is they definitely could have gotten him in the second and probably in the third or fourth, but if he was their guy, can’t blame them.

  2. E.J Manuel was my favorite QB in the Draft. Excellent accuracy, good speed and runner. I think he will be a very good NFL QB.

  3. EJ, Please be the QB we’ve been waiting for. It been hard being a bills fan all these years since kelly left. If EJ works out, all the haters will be proved wrong once and for all. ps. – hating on the bills is like beating up the slow kid, its just plain stupid. Stop doing it!

  4. Not a buffalo fan by any means, but I hope this kid changes the entire division.
    Sick of patriots walking into the playoffs every season

  5. Mr. Wright 212 says:

    EJ will pay instant dividends.


    Poor EJ. Your joke of a franchise isn’t capable of allowing for dividends.

  6. Take it from Noles fans, it was more Jimbo Schottenheimer’s game management (and refusal to hire an offensive coordinator) than EJ when he looked shaky.

  7. In other words–

    “We were interested in Geno Smith, but we looked at his small hands, lousy performance in bad weather, and decided that with his lousy attitude, we’d better look elsewhere.”

  8. Every pick’s a star in April.

    Pretty valid point. You should probably be commenting in another blog. This is a place for trolls.

    See: the rest of the comments by everyone, all the time.

  9. Psst, hey marrone, its mayock, I’m just lettin you know, I was lying to everyone before the draft, Manuel is the real best QB in the draft, better hurry though, I might change my mind”.
    That’s why and how Buffalo snagged him in the first round.

  10. Bills fans should pay no attention to what people are saying, 99% of the people here have not even watched tape on Ej or seen his Senior Bowl workouts and tape… they just formulate an opinion off of what Mel Kiper projected!

    Probably said the same thing about Kaepernick and Russell Wilson too.

  11. guy has terrible mechanics. Florida State should have won the title last year or at least should have been in the game. They were almost on par with Alabama’s talent.

  12. It makes sense. Some guys who throw those floating arc passes won’t be able to do that on a windy November day in Buffalo.

  13. Weather in Florida and in northern New York during different seasons? Great comparison

  14. As a patriots fan I really truly want the bills to be relevant. There just that team you can’t hate but instead root for. Hopefully EJ is their QB for the next decade plus and helps them establish a respectable super bowl contending team.

  15. I like this kid..too bad he’s going to buffalo he’ll have no chance to succeed. Thats why it’s nice to have a dad like archie and force your way out of these bad situations.

  16. Seems actually like a very intelligent, well thought out plan for the QB position. I hope he works out for them.

  17. Historically, FSU has been a school that’s best at producing defensive talent and some RBs (and the occasional WR; what up Boldin), so it wouldn’t take much for EJ Manuel to become one of, if not the, best NFL QBs from Florida State.

    Especially when you consider their three best NFL graduates at QB are Christian Ponder, Brad Johnson, and Chris Weinke (or Danny McManus if you want to count guys who sat on the bench in the NFL but killed it in the CFL).

  18. So I can be a talent scout for the Bills then, if that all it takes

  19. Due diligence. It’s encouraging to hear about Buffalo execs doing this, rather than just falling for Mel Hair-do’s popularity contests.

  20. It’s refreshing to hear a Bills coach say we evaluated, we discussed etc….. After the coaches we’ve gone through its good to have a coach that’s trying to build an identity for the team and make a roster with a common thread. There actually seems to be a plan as opposed to Gailey who just seemed lost and out of touch with the current style of football played in the NFL.

  21. Here’s an interesting fact Jim Kelly played at U.M. in south Florida. He did pretty good in the cold weather.

  22. Let’s face it, they drafted this guy because he had the biggest hands of all the QB’s at the combine. I hear Hulk Hogan has big hands too. Has anyone told the Bills it takes more than big hands to play QB?

  23. EJ’s surrounding cast will make or break him & after this draft, he’s loaded for bear. Da’Rick shoots from Da’ Hip!

  24. Well, that criteria eliminated Geno Smith from the list. And it’s something Jets should’ve considered before making the pick, as Mayak kept residing all the cold weather games that Smith played awful in.

  25. I’m still waiting for a Bills faithful to explain to me how drafting a quarterback in the first round is going to fix a defense that allowed 435 points last season.
    Secondly, bad weather — freezing rain, snow and just plain bitter temperatures — doesn’t usually strike the northeast until January and into February.
    Finally, Jim Kelly “did pretty good in cold weather” because he was surrounded by exceptionally good players, which happens to be the key ingredients for ANY quarterback’s individual success.
    I’m actually shocked that Bills fans, after watching those great teams of the 1990s, haven’t yet figured out that football is the Ultimate Team Sport…

  26. Can people please stop all of the “they definitely could have gotten him in the second and probably in the third or fourth” comments? Because you just don’t know what other teams would have done “IF” he hadn’t been taken at 16 by the Bills. You have no idea where he was on the Eagles’ draft board, or the Browns’, or the Jets’. The Bills identified their guy and they took him, while also picking up two extra picks (one in the second) and owing him (approx.) $4M less money over the duration of his contract had they simply selected him with the 8th pick. Mission accomplished, and then some. Now, if you simply have a problem with him as a player, that’s fine, there’s nothing to be done about that, just don’t pretend to know how things would have played out if things hadn’t played out the way they did.

  27. Please stop with the reach talk people! Manuel would have been taken by Philly or Oakland a few picks after Buffalo chose him. One of those two teams would have traded back into the first round to grab EJ Manuel, he was very high on Oakland and Philly’s board. Several teams rated him as the best QB in the draft. If Buffalo didn’t pull the trigger when they did, then they would have lost him to another team. The Bills did the right thing and picked up a couple more picks in the process.

  28. EJ isn’t there to fix the defense, he’s there to hopefully fix the quarterback position (which has plagued the Bills since Jim Kelly).

    Fixing the defense started with hiring Mike Pettine and installing his new, attacking scheme, clearing house of older, slower players (Nick Barnett, George Wilson), drafting Kiko Alonso and two quick, athletic safeties, and making changes at corner. It’s not finished, but it’s a start. Now, extending Jarius Byrd, signing Karlos Dansby, picking up another edge rusher, and finding a viable CB solution opposite Stephon Gilmore would be nice additions. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. There will be growing pains, but this is a good start.

    So, that should answer a question above about team sports and the assumption that EJ will fix the defense. He’s a (presumed) fix at quarterback (which is a pretty important position, some say the most important single position in all of professional sports). There have been other steps to improve the defense. That’s how building a sports team works. Different pieces of the same team.

  29. The Bills have been looking for a franchise QB since Jim Kelly. All they had to do was rehire Bill Polian in 2010. He simply would have signed a QB like Kyle Boller to start at QB for the 2010 season causing the Bills to go 0-16 and drafted Andrew Luck in the 2011 draft….oh wait he was too busy doing that with the Colts that year.

  30. Nobody’s asking a QB to fix all of their problems. That assertion is asinine.

    Also, asking how fans can expect Manuel to fix the defense, then pointing out that football is a team sport, is answering your own question in the same wasted breath.

    And, Bullalo?

  31. Bills probably could have traded down again and got him in the mid twenties…but after seeing him on Gruden’s QB camp, I loved the guys intangibles and athleticism. Accuracy seems to be his one flaw, but a good QB coach can help him with that. And running the read-option with Spiller will put defenses on their heels and should help him to play fake from that formation to find open receivers down field. Great addition Bills…you’re gonna love this guy.

  32. Glad the Bills are impressed, I’m not. At least not where the Bills chose to take him. He has potential but more often then not potential gets young coaches fired. He needs a lot of work especially on his throwing mechanics which are nothing short of brutal. The #1 thing you judge QB’s on is the ability to make repetitive accurate throws.

  33. Just remember Mel Kiper was pounding the table for Jimmy Clausen being taken in the top 10 and he’s not good enough to start in the cfl the guy never gets called on the carpet for all the busts this guy picks…if Buffalo does turn out they found a pretty good qb they should do a Mel Kiper Todd Mcshay appreciation day

  34. As somebody who saw every snap FSU played during his career, I’ll warn Bills fans now. He refuses to run because he wants to be known as a pocket passer. He is wildly inconsistent (see Clemson and Florida). People who blame Jimbo fail to consider that Jimbo had to be conservative because he couldn’t trust his qb not to take a sack on 3rd down to knock him out of FG range. Good luck.

  35. So they could tell he could play in cold weather while in Florida because he threw a rock-hard pigskin with fingers so cold they can’t get a real feel for the ball? Oh,Ok! Makes sense.

  36. Bills absolutely made the right move in going for a franchise quarterback. I hope it works out for them because they have some of the best fans in football. There would have been less risk taking him in the second round but then the risk is not getting him.

    They definitely made the right call taking him over Geno Smith.

  37. I’ve liked the pick ever since the Bills drafted him. He gives them something they haven’t had in a while, a QB with a strong arm. Not to mention he is big and fast. Combine his physical skills with CJ Spiller, a new deep threat in Goodwin, and a #1 and #2 WR combo of Johnson and Woods and this could be one offense to watch in 2013. I’m not a true Bills fan, but I live in Buffalo and watch every game… Manuel will be a night and day difference from Fitzpatrick. No more 20 yard floaters… no more under thrown deep passes.

    Could the Bills have traded back more to get Manuel? Yes. But I would say no more than the late 1st. The Bills wanted to make sure they were going to get him so they took him at 16. They traded back and still got a 2nd rounder out of it.

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