Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel struggled early coming out of the gates of the Buffalo Bills‘ intrasquad scrimmage Monday night at St. John Fisher College’s Growney Stadium but finished on a high note with two touchdown passes. Should fans start to worry already about major growing pains for the young quarterback?
The Bills cranked up the intensity on Monday night’s practice in which they put Manuel and the offense in several different game like situations that included live hitting. Manuel struggled early in the scrimmage with a pair of interceptions and failed to lead the offense to any points or first downs in his first eight possessions. Manuel looked like a typical rookie in his first simulated game. He hesitated at times and was late with several of his throws. You can get away with mistakes like that in college, but NFL defenses will tear the QB apart if he doesn’t start making quicker decisions.
Manuel looked a lot better in red zone and two minute drill play, though. Manuel’s first touchdown came when T.J. Graham beat Stephon Gilmore and the quarterback lofted the ball in from 30 yards out. Throughout camp Manuel has shown great touch on his passes which is why he has a clear cut as the starting quarterback over Kevin Kolb, who has yet to show any reason to receive the starting job.
Manuel also did well in showing the 6,000 fans his accuracy along with his good speed and size along the goal line too. The rookie passer scored on a read option run along the goal line and a 10-yard touchdown pass to fullback Drew Smith. The typical quarterback is changing in today’s NFL from a stand up pocket passer to a scrambling quarterback with speed that can throw on the run, such as Robert Griffin lll, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Michael Vick, and Colin Kaepernick. Nobody knows if Manuel is going to be as skilled as these quarterback in his first year, but he does have the potential to eventually be there.