Nathaniel Hackett: E.J. Manuel has to work on everything


In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio last weekend, Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel said that he found the Bills offense was easier to learn than the one he was in at Florida State and he’s picking it up quickly as a result.

If that’s the case, it’s the one thing Manuel can rest easy about when it comes to his transition to the NFL. Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t address that claim directly on Tuesday when he spoke to reporters, but he did make it clear that he thinks Manuel has plenty of work to do in order to get himself ready to play at the professional level.

“Everything,” Hackett said, via the team’s website. “He’s a young man that’s got to work on a lot of things from footwork to progressions to plays to formations, everything. Defenses in the NFL are obviously a little different. He’s got to work on that too. He’s got to work on everything.”

There’s no great reason for concern about Hackett’s assessment of the first-round pick nor are Hackett’s thoughts reason to suspect Manuel won’t be the starter this year. You wouldn’t expect any player to come from the college ranks as a finished product, especially not a quarterback who is going to be dealing with faster defenses capable of showing more looks than he was exposed to before coming to the NFL. You’d expect even less to hear one of his coaches say that all was well before a significant time has been spent working with the rookie.

If Hackett’s saying the same things about Manuel in August, there will be more of an impact but, for now, it sounds like Manuel’s pretty much where he’s supposed to be in his progression to the NFL game.

18 responses to “Nathaniel Hackett: E.J. Manuel has to work on everything

  1. Don’t get me wrong Bills fans I like Manuel’s talent but he has bad passing mechanics which make repetitive accuracy something he will struggle with for awhile if not his entire career.

  2. are florida state coaches that bad? they never worked on his footwork or mechanics?? surprised college coaches even help nfl teams as many times as they rip on kids not being coached right

  3. Sounds like he should come right in and tear it up. Way to put more pressure on yourself. Smart move there Einstein.

  4. Still shocked they took him…I know they needed a QB but I’m an FSU fan…I didn’t think Manuel was all that much better than Ponder…truth be told. He is a little better and I could see him being decent, maybe a solid QB but I’m just not sure if he will become a franchise QB. For the sake of the Bills, I hope so. Would be nice to see them, the Browns, Raiders and Dolphins be competitive again; plus Bills and Dolphins being competitive again means someone can finally give the Patriots a fight for the AFC East Crown–which would be nice to see IMO.

  5. Every FSU fan I know agree with the ones posting in these comments – sheer disbelief that Manuel and Ponder were drafted so high.

  6. I liked Manuel as the best QB in this draft. Loved the pick by the Bills. As for the guy ripping Ponder and comparing Manuel to him, did you watch that week 17 game against the Pack? Ponder slaughtered them. Won 4 straight against teams with winning records, two on the road (knocked HOU and GB out of the 2 seed). Oh yeah, that was his first year as a starter, and I couldn’t even name his WRs. Only ignorant boxscore football fans think Ponder is bad and he has no chance of improvement. There were games where the Vikings got up by 21 early (against CHI), what are you supposed to do throw it 45 times at that point with a 1st year starter, or hand it off to the best RB in football? Of course Ponder only had 100 yards passing! You don’t come back on AD with a 21 point lead! You can’t always tell football by reading a boxscore. It’s gonna be the same here in BUF. If the run game is working, why not lean on it? It’s the strength of the team. Manuel has a good run game, he’s mobile, and he’s got a solid, true #1 WR with a promising WR2 rookie coming in. Bills fans shouldn’t get down on him if he has a rough year though. Franchise Qbs take time. Not everone is Luck. (Who “crappy” Ponder had a better QB rating than last year FYI). Guarantee if Luck had AD, he would have had over 1,000 less passing yards. Don’t be an ignorant boxscore fan.

  7. @officialgame Lets give it some time. To say a guy is going to struggle with his passing mechanics for his entire career is laughable. He is very hard working and I’m sure he will get better over time because of his work ethic. These young athletes are still learning and fine tuning their craft. Only a few prospects a year are close to being a finished product. Remember what they said about other qb’s when they were coming out.

    Cam Newton couldn’t read a defense. Roethlisberger had bad footwork, played in a bad conference and had terrible footwork. Josh Freeman had questionable accuracy, losy anticipation and couldn’t feel backside pressure. Wilson and Brees had great college careers but they were too small and would be top end backup qb’s. The scouts questioned Colin Kaepernicks footwork, accuracy, decision making, and release. They questioned his production because he played in a pistol offense.

    Every QB coming out has plenty of questions, unless you’re Luck, Elway, Manning etc. Again let’s give it some time. As a Bills fan I’m very excited to see him throwing 80 yard TD’s during the teams OTA’s. He has looked pretty damn good, but it’s early. Kolb probably starts this year but i think EJ will prove to be a franchise QB.

  8. i like manuel, but the bills will regret picking him over geno. downvote me all you want, but it will all play out soon enough this season.

  9. “Accuracy” problems? He sailed a few, and forced INTs in that brutal UF game. I don’t miss FSU games, not sure where this accuracy issue comes from, that people claim he has.

  10. This is going to be a disaster. Any Bill fans deluding themselves probably still have a JP Lohsman jersey in the closet.

    Name the last college underachiever, which Manuel was (second prospect in his class behind Pryor by most accounts) to suddenly put it all together at the next level?

    Certainly not all his fault because Jimbo Fisher is a terrible HC and mediocre OC if you ask me (just a dynamite recruiter), but that’s exactly why everyone involved in this pick along with the coaching staff will be gone from Buffalo in 3 years tops.

  11. I think E.J. Manual is thinking “Dream Team.”

    Sorry, I just didn’t see it FSU. Best of luck to him though.

  12. Colleges don’t have the practice hours to work on things like footwork and mechanics. They are very limited in the time they spend on the practice field, per NCAA rules. It’s rare to have a college QB who is already NFL polished. Look at some of those “Hard Knocks” training camp shows. ALL of the rookie QB’s they feature have some footwork or mechanical issues. Plus a lot of colleges don’t have dedicated “quarterback coaches” that only focus on the QB. Also, it’s not the colleges coaches job to groom theses guys for the NFL. Their first priority is to win games.

  13. The pick blew me away when it happened. I never saw it coming.

    From what I’ve been able to gather, I think the Bills are envisioning something similar to a Big Ben type of QB. One that is big and mobile enough to extend the play and throw on the run. Stats show EJ is more accurate when on the move and was the most accurate of all the prospects when outside the pocket. Surround a QB like that with tons of speedy targets, which the Bills now seem to have, and who knows?

    Not saying it’s going to work, but I think it’s what they have in mind anyhow.

  14. For once I would like Bills fans would give their QB a chance to develop before writing him off as the next Rob Johnson, JP Losman or Ryan Fitzpatrick. Have the Bills made poor choices at QB wiether through the draft or through Free Agency sure they have. I will Give EJ Manuel three years to develop into a capable Sarting QB. Who knows maybe he can elevate his talent to make him truly worthy of his 1st round selection.

  15. I love the Bills this year and moving forward. Geno is a little baby that displays absalutely no leadership abilities. Buffalo has two great running backs that most teams would love to have. The Defensive line has a new life to it and a proven coordinator pulling the strings. Love the new coaching staff. These guys are going to put allot of wins together and sooner than later they will put up there own banners in the stadium and turn this whole thing around. I can see it in the way they are practicing and I can here it in there voices. Love the fact EJ is rooming with another rookie receiver and he is just working on the play book. Say what you want the young man gets it. Love his work ethic even like the tie to Bruce Smith. If he can put it all together and display that mentality on the field we will be in excellent shape and the sky is the limit. Go Bills.

  16. Well my last post knocking this site was rejected…let’s see what happens here. As usual, the writer here has turned the story around to skew the facts and make the Bills pick of Manuel look even more questionable. According to the article in The Buffalo News AND an on camera session on local sportscasts with Nate Hackett, his exact words were that EJ Manuel has to work on his footwork which is therein tied to the rhythm he has with his receivers and EVERYTHING else in Hackett’s offense. It really amuses me how these things get turned around to make losing teams look worse. Unbelievable.

  17. Of course he needs to work on everything, he is a ROOKIE. Very talented, but I hope they start T-Jack or Kolb this year so he doesn’t get thrown in the fire right away.

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