Image Credit: ESPN
The Buffalo Bills offseason mini-camp has come to a close and the quarterback competition has tightened up with the release of Tavaris Jackson. Many analysts believe that Kevin Kolb is going to be the starter in week 1, but I am here to show why Coach Marrone should go with EJ Manuel against the Patriots on September 8.
EJ was the most outstanding player in this year’s senior bowl, going 7-10 for 76 yards with one touchdown and one interception while running for 10 yards and another touchdown. Sport Science on ESPN tested Manuel on over 20 different tests and he came out with a score in the 89th percentile, which is third of all QB’s to participate in these tests. He had the fastest release of this year’s draft prospects and his deep ball accuracy compares to Andrew Luck’s. These statistics are impressive but to really see how productive and competitive EJ is, watch the clip below of the Discover Orange Bowl game against Northern Illinois.
This clip shows why Doug Marrone and his OC Nathaniel Hackett drafted EJ Manuel with their number 1 overall draft pick. They ran a fast pace shotgun based offense at Syracuse and EJ is the perfect fit for this type of scheme. He was 26 for 38 with 291 yards plus a touchdown passing and ran 6 times for 26 yards with another touchdown. He shows that he can make all the NFL throws while at the same time being able to use his athletic ability to extend plays. The one problem you see is his footwork, but Marrone has already stated that his first goal is improving those problems. The only other issue I can spot is that he can hold on to the ball too long sometimes, but these issues can be corrected.
The only way that Manuel will not be the starter come week 1 is if Kolb can really impress the Buffalo coaches. He has shown slivers of what he can do in his time in Philadelphia and Arizona but hasn’t been able to pull it together to show he’s a true number one QB. That being his track record, I can only seeing him starting a few games before EJ steps in. We will all see how things shape out during training camp at St. John Fisher College.