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EJ Manuel: "I'm a no-excuses kind of guy"

Posted Sep 25, 2013

The Bills quarterback talks about what he learned from facing the Jets defense, the importance of getting the running game going, and developing patience as a quarterback.

QB EJ Manuel

September 25, 2013

Q: After watching film, considering what happened on Sunday, how much more better do you think you are prepared to deal with that kind of pass rush and the pressure that other teams might be giving you?

A: Yeah, I learned a lot from that game and the mistakes I made. Obviously throwing the ball out of bounds when the pressure was coming, those are things you can’t do. I learned from it, worked on it yesterday on my own and tried to simulate it as best I could. Just move forward from it.

Q: It must be exciting and also a daunting challenge to try to wrap your head around an NFL pass rush like that.

A: Yeah, definitely when they’re bringing the house at you, it’s definitely a tough thing to deal with, but none the less you have to deal with it and I think it’s just a part of maturing in the position and understanding that that’s what the Jets are going to do every time we play them, and I’m sure a lot more teams are going to try to amp it up a little bit too. I think the biggest thing to do is showing them that you can handle it and that’s when they will stop doing the blitzes.

Q:  You guys have been pretty inconsistent in the running game, you’ve busted a couple big ones, but really by large it has been pretty inconsistent. How important is it going to be that you guys start finding some consistency?

A: Yeah, we continue to stress that in our offensive meetings and just saying, ‘Hey we have to get this running game rolling and make it more consistent.’ Like you mentioned saying its inconsistent. I think once that gets on ball with everything else we will start to roll more as an offense, start to get more of those third-down plays. Instead of being third and eight and third and nine, it will be third and two, which is a lot more manageable, so if we can get those early down runs, get four or five yards a pop that will really help us.

Q: EJ, when you said you worked on that on your own, what did you come in here and throw?

A: Right. Jeff (Tuek) and I came in yesterday, lifted weights and that kind of stuff and then after that we watched film, but yeah we worked on throwing the deep ball. Not necessary a deep ball, but if you’re getting blitzed like crazy and just throwing the ball up, not necessarily out of bounds but just giving a guy an opportunity to catch it.

Q: Did you have a 250 pound linebacker coming at you?

A: No, we didn’t have that, we couldn’t simulate that one, but like I said the best we could. I felt like today we handled it, we had some type of blitzes that Baltimore will throw at us and we handled it well today in practice.

Q: Coach said you had really high expectations of yourself in practice today, but do you sometimes have to be patient like everyone else is being told?

A: Yeah, definitely I think that’s something I battle with myself, obviously having high expectations and high goals for myself. One, I don’t like to lose. I think our whole team, you know everybody doesn’t like to lose but I felt like the big thing for me was I felt like I should have been more composed, like you said I am hard on myself and sometimes it’s unfair and sometimes it’s not. I think it’s really more so trying to get better and understand there’s stuff to learn, your still three-games-old like Coach Hackett said, and not that were making a pass for not playing well or anything like that, but it’s the truth and I will continue to get better with each game.

Q: Even Ravens QB Joe Flacco has five years in-between coming into the league and the Super Bowl, and even people still are saying ‘Can he really do it?’

A: Yea, I mean you’re always going to have questions, unless you’re wining every single game and completing every single pass. Nobody’s perfect in this game, especially thing game, so like I said for myself just continue to get better each game.

Q: Is it a matter of learning the nuance between accepting and excuses?

A: Yeah, I mean I’m a no-excuses kind of guy. From the way I was raised, not just in football but in life, so I think that’s a big part of me being hard on myself not trying to make excuses and not letting anyone make excuses for you, nobody’s going to feel bad for you. If you lose a game, you lost it, and you have to move on to the next week. We have 13 more games to play, and hopefully the playoffs ahead of us, we just have to move past it.

Q: In a weird way do you think last week was good for your maturation process?

A: I guess, you have to take something good from losing, but definitely I think seeing the looks, understanding that, like I said that’s what the Jets are going to do, other teams are going to do it, understanding you have to handle it, still giving the receiver opportunity to catch the ball, and that’s very easily said but it’s another thing you have to continue to work on and try to perfect it the best you can.

Q: Are you trying to duck around within the pocket, do you think you need to get yourself out on the edge more often and give yourself a clearer lane to throw as oppose to dancing in the pocket to find the lane?

A: I think it’s just a matter of how the rush is coming at you, the only reason I do is to get to an open receiver, so it’s not like I’m dancing around to dance. I think the biggest thing is trying to find an open lane, and if that doesn’t show up, obviously take off or try to run to the sidelines so you can get out of the pocket and throw the ball away. 

Q: What have you seen from film at the edge of pressure that Baltimore is going to generate?

A:  Yeah, they do a great job at getting pressure not just at the edges but upfront with the big guys they have in the middle, as well as (Terrell) Suggs, I’m sure will be a hall-of-famer one day as well. I think that will be a great test for us, knowing that they are the defending world champions and I think it will be a good bar to see where we are going against some of the best teams in the league.

Q: EJ, how do you think your team is doing with injuries early on? Injuries are a part of football, but you guys have been hit here and there with some.

A: Yeah, injuries are going to happen but the biggest thing is you try to get back from as soon as you can. I know Coach, he mentions, you know, next guys up. Can’t necessarily sit and dwell on who’s hurt and try and wait for guys to mature, if it’s your time to go you have to come in and help our team.

Q: You talk about learning from mistakes, but at the same time are you and the rest of the team angry a little bit at how things went down against the Jets last week?

A: Yeah, I mean we were angry, I know I was angry yesterday and the day before. It wasn’t a fun plane ride home, definitely the night after and then watching the film wasn’t a great feeling but like you said we’re definitely angry but we have another game to play this week, the Jets game is over with and we have to get ready for Baltimore now.

Q: How was the communication?

A: Yeah, I thought we did a good job communicating the protections and things like that, the best we could. Obviously it was a little louder considering we were playing away, but I thought we did a good job communicating.

Q: You all stress the third-down conversions, how do you improve that?

A: You improve on first and second down first, I think that’s the best way to do it, as I already said, the running game if we can get that amped up, try to get four or six yards per carry that will definitely help us, and those early downs, but don’t try to necessarily do too much, don’t take negative yardage, sacks, and penalties, that’s what hurts you especially in those early downs, if you can get four to six yards in those first two plays or first two downs it will really help you in the third down efficiency.

Q: EJ what do you see from the Ravens secondary as far as zone looks versus man to man and just how much they change things up?

A: I would say it is 50/50. They have great guys that can run, track down other receivers and things like that, they’re a great defense. They have always been known to have a great defense and I think it will be a good test for us.

Q: Do you worry at all about putting the defense out there too much?

A: Definitely, I think it’s two-fold because, one, our offense we move very fast but it’s a tough part because if you don’t get the first downs and your going three-and-out, that definitely hurts the defense. You don’t want those guys out there. You don’t want teams getting a ton of possession to win that battle by eight or ten minutes in the game. I think that’s just something we have to work on, especially this week.