With Kevin Kolb away from the team after a death in the family, E.J. Manuel had a big opportunity to make his case for the starting quarterback job at Monday’s Bills scrimmage.
The effort didn’t get off to a great start. Marc Dovi of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that Manuel overthrew some passes, miscommunicated with receivers on others and threw a pair of interceptions in the early stages of the scrimmage while third-stringer Jeff Tuel was driving for three scores in three tries. Manuel’s play perked up as the scrimmage went on, though, and coach Doug Marrone was pleased with how the rookie bounced back.
“What I like about E.J. is he doesn’t make the same mistake twice,” Marrone said. “That’s encouraging and we’re happy to see that. I was pleased how he bounced back from the interception early on and his demeanor in coming back each series. The defense was getting after him and he showed me he can handle it. He looked good in that two-minute drill.”
While he surely would have preferred to have avoided the early struggles, Manuel likely helped himself quite a bit on Monday. Getting all the snaps in a scrimmage is a great learning experience, while the ability to rebound from mistakes is an important trait for a rookie trying to show his coaches that he’ll be able to roll through the inevitable rough spots.
One scrimmage won’t be enough for Manuel to win the job, but it can set some important groundwork that he can build on in the preseason. It sounds like Manuel accomplished that on Monday.