Thursday, October 2, 2014

Manuel: Demotion to backup a 'tough pill to swallow'


Despite all that's happened, E.J. Manuel is trying to staying positive.

The former Buffalo Bills starting quarterback made his first public comments Thursday since being downgraded to the backup role this week, as coach Doug Marrone handed Kyle Orton the reins to the offense following the team's 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans.

Manuel told reporters that despite the tough news he was dealt, he's still confident in his abilities and in his future as an NFL quarterback.

"As a competitor it is a tough pill to swallow, but at the same time I’m going to be positive with myself," Manuel said, via "I still believe that I’m a good football player and I know there is tons of room for me to grow and I’ll get there. It’s a matter of me believing in myself and not losing my confidence.

"And I’m still one play away. If something happens I’ll go right back in there and be accountable to do my job and help this team win. Whenever that time comes when I’m back on the field I’ll be ready for it."

Manuel posted a 58 percent completion rate and a quarterback rating of 80 in his four games this season, throwing for five touchdowns and three interceptions. He's been criticized as being too stiff in the pocket and not efficiently going through his reads, while Orton has proven to be -- at times -- a more pure, reliable pocket passer.

The young quarterback does know one thing for sure: When his number is called again, he won't leave anything in the tank.

"I just want to cut it loose, man. Not hold myself back," he said. "Not to say I was, but I think at a certain point in your career and your manhood that you just open up and go out there and let it rip. You don’t worry about the repercussions. If something happens, at least you went down guns loaded or guns fired. Just go out there and let it rip. 

"That’s what I’ve been practicing this past week out there against our defense. Just allowing myself to go out there and make plays naturally."

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily