Thursday, February 13, 2014

Downing likes how Manuel responds to mistakes


The Buffalo Bills were fairly conservative with rookie quarterback EJ Manuel last year as they eased him into the professional environment, but he wasn't completely sheltered from error.

Like any first-year signal-caller, Manuel has a lot to look back on and correct, and his new quarterbacks coach thinks he's plenty capable based on what he's seen on tape.

"Watching the film that we’ve been watching of the Bills cut-ups from last year it just reinforces to me that he wants to be great because you can see him frustrated with himself if he makes a mistake," Todd Downing said this week, via
Manuel was mostly careful with the football, throwing just nine interceptions to 11 touchdowns. He fumbled six times, losing three of them. The 23-year-old was fairly accurate, though he showed some indecisiveness at times -- common of a first-year QB -- that led to stalled drives.

"You see him make a mistake and then come back and not repeat it and execute the play properly," Downing said. "Those things all tell me that EJ is on the path that he needs to be on and we’re just going to accentuate all the good things to get him going."

Manuel connected on just 28 passes of 20 yards or more and just four for 40 yards or more, due in large part to the fact that the coaches limited his opportunities to sling it down field.

If they want him to take the next step, they'll need to loosen the reins. To do that, they need to be confident that he can handle the adversity that comes with taking more chances. If Downing's inkling is accurate, the Bills shouldn't have a problem with Manuel in that regard.

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