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EJ Manuel: "I'm not used to losing"

Posted Sep 11, 2013

The Bills quarterback talks about comparisons to Cam Newton, facing the Panthers this week, and what he took from his first NFL start.

QB EJ Manuel

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Q: Do you have any sense at all at maybe when you look at your game and Cam Newton, that you guys sort of represent a new breed of quarterback in the league? Kind of a dual-threat passing, running. Do you feel that at all do you think it’s an accurate comparison?

A: Yeah, definitely. We’re both big, athletic quarterbacks. Guys that can throw the ball down the field and also take off and get yardage by running.

Q: Have you watched much of Cam Newton over the years? do you admire the way he plays?

A: Yeah, definitely. When I was in college I watched him when he was a rookie. I saw his success. I obviously watched him when he was at Auburn and saw him tear up the SEC at the college level, so I’m definitely a fan of Cam (Newton).

Q: Are you looking forward to the offense opening up a little bit more and stretch the field a little bit more?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did you feel that the offensive play was conservative for the opener just to get you feeling it? Do you feel that way and do you hope that will change?

A: No, I don’t feel that way. That was our game plan going into it based off what we saw and all the film that we studied. That was the game plan Coach (Nathaniel) Hackett installed. 

Q: EJ, just out of fairness to you and to Cam Newton, what are some things that people shouldn’t try to compare between you two guys? What are some things that you with your knowledge of Cam Newton’s game say, “That’s not what I do and he doesn’t do this?”

A: Well I don’t know. As a quarterback you want to just be remembered as a winner. I know they haven’t had tremendous seasons but I think Cam’s had an outstanding career thus far. He did great as a rookie and had a good season last year. Whatever your affect is: RG III is a guy who can run down the field, Andrew Luck all those kind of guys, they can still make plays with their feet, so I don’t think it’s necessarily that me, Cam, RG III, Russell Wilson, all the guys that can run. There are a lot of other quarterbacks that can make plays with their feet.

Q: What’s the difference in the skill sets? Are there any specifics when you look at Cam and yourself?

A: Honestly, I don’t really study Cam like that, so I can’t really say what the specific differences are but I think were both good quarterbacks.

Q: Did you see the Eagles game on Monday night? Did you get a feeling of maybe what an up-tempo offense can do with a mobile quarterback can do in this league? Did that maybe reassure to know that stuff like that and players are capable of doing that?

A: Yes, definitely. Just seeing those guys get those big chunk plays as far as the runs, LeSean McCoy, getting 15 yards here, 12 yards there, that helps out your offense tremendously. And then obviously when you’re running the ball great, that pretty much opens up all the passing lanes, the seams and things like that, that Mike (Vick) was hitting. I mean, those guys are great and I think they jumped down the Redskins very early and I think that’s what kind of tied their defense out.

Q:  How much does that open up your eyes into knowing what an up-tempo, real quick up-tempo offense can do?

A: I think we have a very quick up-tempo offense as well, so we just have to move on to this week. I guess if you guys feel like we were slow I guess we have to speed it up. I mean, I don’t really see, I think it’s very comparable, I think both offense’s do the zone-read, do the vertical routes and things like that. We just had a separate game plan for New England and this week I think we will be out there using some speed.

Q: I don’t think you guys were accused of being slow, I think it was the lack of sustaining drives. I think that seemed to be the difference to what happened Monday night and what happened here.

A: Right, well I mean also, the Redskins might have been doing something differently on defense than New England was doing. I can’t really say it was something that we did versus what the Eagles did to allow them to have extended drives like that. Personally, I don’t do a lot of comparing like that.

Q: Why weren’t the chunk plays there on Sunday?

A: I think that sometimes we might have missed a hole here, missed a hole there. As far as throwing the ball, might have missed a read, something like that. There’s always something very small and minute that kind of not necessary costs you the game, but those long drives that you want to get, those 3rd-andtwos, that we may not have converted, those 3rd-and-six that we didn’t convert. There’s always something very minute that we may not have gotten.

Q: I know the little things can be frustrating, but to what degree are the little things? The things that keep you super anxious to get back out there for the next game?

A: Yeah, well the little things once you see them on film, you want to clean them up and then obviously see it on film. It’s a lot easier when you watch it on film; you have the clicker in your hand. There’s no pressure on you like, ‘oh I should have did this,’ but in the flow of the game it doesn’t always happen. That’s what you have practice for and we fixed those things yesterday, pretty much in our off day. But today I thought we had a great practice and have moved forward for Carolina.

Q: Do you think, in the old days it used to be the run sets up the pass, do you subscribe to the theory now that really the pass sets up the running game?

A: No, I still believe that the run sets up the pass, especially in these shot-gun type offenses. If you can get those big runs, I mentioned that the Eagles were getting great runs by “Shady” (LeSean McCoy), he was making huge plays. And like I said that sets those linebackers up and those DB’s will fall back so that gives you a whole other lane to throw the ball into.

Q: EJ, there’s been a mentality from years of losing that people kind of get into a situation where they are waiting for the roof to cave in, already acknowledge that even some of that’s in the organization. What do you have to do to get over that, get these people over that?

A: Well for me, this is my first year here so I’m not use to losing. As far as what you said, I guess the organizational, people used to losing. In my attitude I think winning is an attitude. I do think we should have closed that game out but we didn’t. We didn’t make the plays to close it out and New England won it. But moving forward you have to have a really good attitude, moving forward if you lose that one week that does not mean you’re going lose the second week.

Q: You had a little taste of it. It was actually at the end of the third, you guys had the lead against New England going into the fourth quarter and it was quiet in there. Did that surprise you? Obviously you had the need to react to that.

A: I wouldn’t say it was quiet in there. We were on offense that might have been why it was quiet.

Q: Well, wait until it gets loud, it gets much louder.

A: Well it was loud. I thought when New England was on offense. Alright, well you can tell me. I don’t know. That was my first home game; I guess you would know better than I would.

Q: How about Carolina’s defense, what do you see?

A: Yeah, very athletic. Guys getting to the ball. They play very hard, but I do see some things we can execute to get the ball down the field.

Q: When do you get your first look at the game plan?

A: Usually Tuesday evenings. I go in on Monday to get the game we just played, watch that out, whether it was a win or loss and then I’ll still go in a watch a few games on Carolina. And then on Tuesday I’ll get the actual game plan from him.

Q: What do you think about C.J. Spiller, to play to his potential to make this thing work?

A: I think C.J.’s (Spiller) done a great job. For me, personally, he’s been a great leader to me in that backfield, but obviously if C.J. has a big game this offense is going to go great. I think It’s one of those things if we all do our part collectively it will go great.

Q: You mentioned an athletic defense for Carolina. What about their linebackers specifically? It seems like their range and ground they can cover is elite, do you see them making plays in terms of being true sideline to sideline players?

A: Yeah, well not necessary just their linebackers, I think their DBs they flow to the ball great. You know if there’s a run over there you’ll see a DB and someone like that hustling down the field to make a tackle, overall they do a great job.

Q: EJ, you stress the running game, with a team like that. How important is to establish downfield and establish the long passes?

A: Yeah, it’s extremely important. You want to stretch the ball, stretch the field and things like that and that’s what we plan on doing.

Q: Didn’t seem much of that against New England. Is the game plan changed at all?

A: Yeah, I think changed a little bit.

Q: Do you worry about getting the receivers involved enough, particularly T.J. Graham?

A: Yeah, we definitely want to get him more touches. But like I said the game plan was different for New England versus this week. I know this week he’ll get a lot more.

Q: After your first full regular season game with the team, how do you think the teams reacting?

A: I think the team’s reacting well. Like I said I’m not use to losing a lot. Obviously I was glad to see people not taking it lightly. I think everyone was upset that we didn’t win the game and that we didn’t close it out. But moving forward, I understand that everybody washed it away. I felt, like I said, we had a great practice today. It wasn’t like we were still sluggish or anything. I think we were able to move forward.

Q: EJ, what do you take as you develop and have a start under your belt? What do you take from that whole experience with the game on the line?

A: Well, you simply have to close out the game. The best thing for us to do in that situation was to score. If we had got a field goal or a touchdown, that obviously would have shut the game out or at least made it harder for New England to have to go out and get two scores in order to win. So anytime, not just Tom Brady, but any quarterback, you don’t want to give him the opportunity or more than one opportunity to continue to get the ball back and score and things like that and really put your defense in a hard position. Like I said, I’ve learned from that and have to move forward from it.

Q: EJ, what’s the recent update with the brace back on?

A: Yeah, it’s a little sore but it’s fine.