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EJ Manuel "chomping at the bit" to make plays

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Bills quarterback EJ Manuel talked to the media after practice Wednesday about the upcoming game in Toronto and finally having all of his offensive weapons healthy.

QB EJ Manuel

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Q: What are your thoughts about going into this game with a fully healthy roster?
A: Yeah, it’s a great feeling. Being out here this last week of practice has been awesome, just preparing for the Falcons. Having Stevie (Johnson) back and all those guys and having (Robert Woods) back with a fresh ankle and he’s moving around like he’s always done. I know those guys are really chomping at the bit to get back out there and make some plays.

Q: Looking back at the Jets game, what did that game do for you?

A: Yeah, it gave me a huge boost in confidence. I think not just myself, but the overall team. I think it was a team victory, it wasn’t just me that made plays. Marquise (Goodwin) and T.J. (Graham) both made huge plays on those touchdowns, and as you can see our defense played a great game as well, so I think it was just an overall team boost for everybody, especially heading into the break and then heading into this game. All I’ve seen from this whole week, just guys are focused. Guys are ready to get back out there and play on Sunday.

Q: Are T.J. and Marquise teasing the other guys that are back from injury, saying that they’re the go-to receivers now?
A: Well the cool thing about those guys is they all try to get some, and they’re all happy for each other. I don’t think anybody is necessarily going to be upset if somebody else makes a play and they don’t, so I think as long as we make a play, it’s a whole team thing for us.

Q: Do you regret that you can’t play in the snow in Buffalo this week?
A: Do I regret that? Yeah, I hate it. I want to go out there and play in the Ralph this Sunday. (Laughs) No, I’m just kidding, but hey, I’m sure it’ll snow again on one of these Sundays, so I’m not worried about that. I’m sure it’ll be there for maybe the Dolphins game when we come back or I’m sure when we play New England they might have some snow, so I’m sure we’ll get one in.

Q: Because the snow is something that’s part of this team’s build.
A: Yeah, definitely. Like I said, I’m sure we’ll get another opportunity to play in the snow.

Q: Do you think playing inside is to Atlanta’s benefit?
A: Well hey, I didn’t draw up the schedule, so there’s not much I can do about it. They’re used to playing indoors, but we’re used to practicing inside and playing, so I don’t think it’ll be a benefit on their behalf.

Q: Have you been to Toronto?

A: Yes

Q: What did you think of Toronto?
A: I’ve been to Toronto. We went to a Blue Jays game last spring, and I thought it was a beautiful city. On the ride in, you see all the beautiful buildings and the high rise condos, and things like that, so it’s a cool place. I think it’s a great city, and I hope we have a great turnout this Sunday.

Q: NFL players sort of set the bar for themselves. Do you feel like that bar is now raised for you?
A: Most definitely. I raise my own bar and I set my own bar, so I definitely want to hold myself to a high standard. I don’t want to revert back to having games where it’s inconsistent or anything like that. I’m not going to put any more pressure on myself, I feel like if I just continue to do what I did that week versus the Jets, continue to study and prepare, we should all go out there and have a good game.

Q: What step forward do you feel like you made in that last game?
A: Just going into the game, I felt comfortable with the game plan, I felt comfortable with everything Coach Hackett was going to call. Having him on the sidelines did a lot, not just for me but for the whole offense because he brings a lot of excitement to us. When he sees guys kind of getting melancholy throughout the game, he’s going to do something to pump us up, and obviously as a quarterback I do that as well, but when you have your offensive coordinator doing it, it really goes and hits home for us, so I think all those factors helped in that game and I think it’s going to continue to help with the rest of the games this season.

Q: Do you feel like you want to keep things going on an upward trend after the Jets game?

A: Every day is a day to continue to get better. It’s still my rookie year. I don’t make that an excuse to say, ‘Hey, I’m only a rookie, so I can’t do this.’ I don’t want to limit myself at all, so I just have to continue to get better. Each and every game is a learning experience, but you can’t really look at it going into the game. You have to look at it going into it to try to win the game.

Q: Can you speak to the challenge of not trying to be too careful with the football, but finally starting to let it go now? Has something changed in your mindset?
A: Not at all. I’m not going to force a ball because there’s no need to. I think within our offense, there’s always somebody who you can get the ball to, and the good thing about me, I can take off and get yards myself with my feet. If all else fails, take off and run, but I don’t think there’s ever a reason to force a football.

Q: When you go into a stadium for the first time, what’s your mindset, and do you think it’s important to get your bearings?
A: Yeah, I do think it’s important. You want to look for the game clock, that’s one thing, every time I go into a stadium I always look for the game clock so I know how to handle that. And also with the lighting, when the ball goes up and down for these receivers, sometimes it’s hard for them to kind of judge where the ball is going to fall. I think that’s the first thing you need to do, is some drills with the receivers, throwing the ball up and down, so they can kind of get a gist of how the ball is going to come from the sky. For me, it’s all the same. The surface is fine, it’s still turf, it’s still a normal football field, so I think it’s more so for the receivers to kind of gage their eyes on the football.

Q: Has anybody told you anything about what to expect as far as crowd noise and how loud it can be?
A: I’ve heard that quite a few times, and like I said, I hope a lot of the people from here in Buffalo don’t mind making the trip. Maybe they’re not sleeping from all the turkey and stuff like that, they can get over to Toronto to check us out. Nonetheless, I think we’re more focused on the game and handling the Falcons first.

Q: Are you kind of frustrated that the game isn’t in Buffalo?
A: It’s my first year in the league. I haven’t played in Toronto yet, I can probably give you a better answer after the game or the following year, but it’s another game. I don’t think we’re necessarily focused on it being in Toronto. It’s still a home game for us, we just want to go out there and focus on winning.