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EJ Manuel: "This is a huge game for us"

Posted Sep 18, 2013

The Bills quarterback talks about facing his fellow rookie quarterback for the first time, the challenges of his first road game, and if facing the Buffalo defense in practice will benefit him this weekend.

QB EJ MANUEL

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Q: Excited about the matchup with Geno Smith?
A: I’m excited about the next game, so that’s probably the biggest thing I’m focused on. I’m not really focused on facing Geno (Smith). Like you said he’s not on defense, so we’re just looking forward to the next game and trying to get another win.

Q
: Do you know him at all?
A: Yeah, we’re good friends. We keep up with each other every few weeks or so, just text him how you’re doing or something like that. Or if I see him have a great game or vice versa we’ll send each other a text saying good job.

Q: What was the toughest road place you played at while at Florida State?
A: Either Florida, the Swamp, or NC state gets pretty loud on Thursday night as well. Clemson.

Q: Did you hear from Geno after Sunday?
A: Not after Sunday. I think the last time we talked was during the preseason at some time.

Q: What do you see from the Jets defense?
A: A bunch of multiple looks. Fast, long guys. Guys that get to the ball very fast and a lot of veteran leadership on their defense, guys who have been in the league a long time. They have a lot of playmakers on their defense and I think a lot of their turnovers come from just giving you hard looks. You don’t really know who to call out as the MIKE and all that kind of stuff. The good thing is we’ll have a bunch of those looks this week.

Q: How different is it having two games at home then going on the road?
A: I’ve played in stadiums where it’s 95,000 people, a hundred (thousand). I know it’s going to be loud. Everybody is going to be against us except for the Bills fans that are there. I think the biggest thing is early in the game you want to really hush their crowd down. If you can go out there and put points on the board or try to get the momentum on your side because that’s where it matters the most, when you’re away. If you can get the momentum on your side early in the game and try to keep it, I think it’ll be a lot easier as far as the loudness.

Q: That becomes this team’s next test. That’s sometimes one of the hardest things to do in the NFL.

A: Yeah, well it’s a test and we’ll see how we do Sunday.

Q: Is there a benefit playing against the Bills defense all training camp with the similarities?
A: Yeah, I think it’s a huge benefit. Seeing a lot of those multiple looks and guys lining up and walking around before the snap whether it was in OTA’s or training camps, I think it’s really going to help me out personally. I think I can ID that pretty fast and still be able to call the play and still have a high tempo.

Q: Has (Mike) Pettine given you any tips for this week?
A: I’m sure he’s met with Coach Hackett. I’ll probably meet with him later this week as far as some other things, but I’m sure him and coach Hackett talk all the time.

Q: How have you handled this week with an increase in media requests and trying to stay focused?
A: I would say it hasn’t been different. What I did yesterday was scheduled anyway whether we had won or lost I would’ve had to do it. I’m glad we did win so it was a little bit easier. Other than that I wouldn’t say it’s changed at all.

Q: A lot of emotions at the end of the game after the win. How long did you give yourself to celebrate?
A: When I got home, whatever time I got home after the game, I was obviously still excited that we won, but I understand it was going to be Wednesday and we’d be practicing again very soon. I think my Dad was the one still kind of hooting and hollering talking to my Mom on the phone really excited. I understand how it works. I’ve played in college and I’ve had big games like that and we’ve won them and you’ve got to move on. The next week you can come out flat and you don’t want to do that. You want to keep the momentum going.

Q: How do you balance everything you have to do as a quarterback with getting the offense to go even faster?
A: Just always trying to keep that tempo in your mind. Whether it’s getting guys to the line faster or whether it’s trying to get that first, first down. Making that more of an urgent type thing because once you get that first, first down in our offense, that’s when things really start rolling and the defense might start getting a little tired if this is the third or fourth drive of the game. Try to wear those guys out a little bit.

Q: You’ve only taken one sack in the first two weeks. How has your offensive line done for you?
A: They’ve done a great job. Other than that one sack, I may have been touched once or twice since the preseason and the regular season. Eric Wood has done a great job communicating with me and making sure the protections are all ready to go and the rest of the o-line has done a great job.

Q: Is this game bigger because the loser will be 0-2 in the division?
A: Definitely. We know this is a huge game for us. One, it’s on the road and two, like you said it’s a divisional game and it’s definitely a game we need to win. We both lost to the Patriots and early on you don’t want to get behind in the season. It just adds even more urgency to this game.

Q: Do you remember the conversations you guys had in the green room at the Draft?
A: Before we went in the green room, they kind of sit you down in a little waiting room with the players, the guys that are going to get drafted. We didn’t necessarily talk, ‘I think I’m going here, I think I’m going there.’ It was more so the journey whether it was in college or in high school, like I said I met Geno I think I was in 11th, he might have been in 10th grade. Went down to a camp in south Florida and it was more so about that. Obviously we competed against each other, but we still want to see each other have success at the same time.