Bills Coach: EJ Manuel is Best Rookie I’ve Ever Coached

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Many questioned the Buffalo Bills‘ first round selection of Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. Even though he was the first quarterback chosen, he was not the highest rated QB on most draft boards. However, those same doubters might want to reconsider their position on Manuel after hearing what Bills coach Doug Marrone had to say about his young thrower.

After watching Manuel perform in training camp this spring, Marrone couldn’t help but sing Manuel’s praises, calling him the best rookie player he’s ever coached.

“From my standpoint … EJ Manuel has done better [as a rookie] than any of the other organizations I’ve been a part of,” Marrone said after Friday’s practice, via the team’s official website.

That says a lot coming from Marrone, who has spent seven years as an assistant with the New York Jets and the New Orleans Saints.

And it’s certainly good news for Bills fan to hear, considering they have endured a long stretch of losing seasons. They are hoping Manuel could be the answer to the Bills’ woes and after seeing three rookie QBs turn losing teams into playoff teams in just one season (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson), Manuel turning Buffalo around doesn’t seem that far fetched.

Of course, just because some players last year did it, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Manuel may be looking good in camp, but he hasn’t had to perform in an actual game at full speed yet – not even a preseason game. And it wasn’t until the preseason, when Seahawks fans and coaches realized that Wilson was the best quarterback on the team.

Manuel is in the same situation Wilson was in last year, except that Manuel was a first round pick and may be shouldered with slightly higher expectations than the third-rounder Wilson was at this same time a year ago. He’ll still have to earn his spot against Kevin Kolb and Tavaris Jackson, who have both proven to be capable NFL starters at points in their careers.

Then even if Manuel is able to win the job, can he really turn the Bills around in the AFC East against the likes of perennial division champ – the New England Patriots? Of course, there are wild card spots up for grabs, but looking at things more closely, it does still seem like a tall order.

To sum things up, Bills fans should be thrilled that Manuel is doing well and that he has the approval of Marrone, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up too much – at least for 2013. The Bills are currently listed at 125/1 to win the Super Bowl, according to Bovada.lv, but if Manuel proves to be the breakout star of 2013, maybe Buffalo will be this year’s dark horse. But AFC East champs? Let’s not push it.

 

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