Sunday, July 13, 2014

Manuel: Chemistry with new WRs won't take long


Step one for Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel was to come into this season healthy. Step two? Strengthen his rapport with a bolstered wide receiving corps.

The team's offensive efficacy is at a critical point this season. Coming into the second season under offensive coordinator Nate Hackett and the sophomore Manuel, the offense is looking to improve on its tenuous, unstable passing attack that had to cycle in two other signal-callers last year to deal with Manuel's injuries.

On top of a slew of young receivers tip-toeing the edge of the roster bubble, a few new faces -- rookie Sammy Watkins, former Bucs wideout Mike Williams and former Giant Ramses Barden -- make up a pretty eclectic group of talent that Manuel and Hackett will attempt to meld into a competitive attack.

The amount of time it takes to build that chemistry will be crucial to the unit's success, a process Manuel doesn't seem too worried about.

"I don’t think it will take long [to get in a groove.]," Manuel told NFL Total Access recently. "Sammy is the main guy that we added — also Mike Williams too. I think they’ll blend in with the guys that we already have too as far as Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, Kevin Elliott – they’re a bunch of guys.

"I think it’s going to be a great year for us offensively. I know that was one thing we wanted to focus on and get better at all the situations – red zones [and] third downs. We’ve been putting the work in and we’re excited to show it."

Those two areas Manuel mentioned were certainly weak points for the Bills offense in 2013. The team finished 29th in both red zone touchdowns and third down conversions. The running game, which finished second in the league, masked the true ineffectiveness of the passing attack, which finished 28th overall.

Manuel believes even just the addition of Watkins will be enough to help push the offense to new heights in 2014.

"Bringing him in for a young quarterback like myself, it’s going to pay dividends," he said. "I’m excited about it. Obviously, Sammy coming in with us and all of the great players we have on offense. Our defense has always been solid anyway, so we’re looking forward to this next year."

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