Manuel excited to work with new QBs coach Downing

Posted Jan 30, 2014

EJ Manuel knows the benefits of having a designated position coach, but to have one with whom he has a prior working relationship has him eager to prepare for the 2014 season.

The plan in 2013 was even if EJ Manuel was the starting quarterback as a rookie he would have a veteran quarterback in the meeting rooms with him to show him the ropes and give him some of the film room lessons that inexperienced pro quarterbacks simply do not have stored in their mental file cabinet yet. When Kevin Kolb was lost for the season with a concussion those plans were compromised and played a part in the Bills hiring quarterbacks coach Todd Downing last week. Manuel couldn’t be happier having a prior working relationship with the Bills new assistant.

“I’m very excited to work with coach Downing,” Manuel told “I have a previous history with him last year at the Senior Bowl.”

Last January Downing was the quarterbacks coach for the Detroit Lions and that staff coached the South Team at the Senior Bowl. Downing and Manuel spent the entire week together in practice, going over play calls and reviewing practice tape in preparation for the game. Manuel appreciated Downing’s guidance that week and it apparently helped a great deal as Buffalo’s eventual first-round draft choice won Senior Bowl MVP honors in the South Team victory.

Manuel said when coach Marrone and coach Hackett asked him for his thoughts on coach Downing he was quick to give them a positive review.

“I think he has a ton of talent and a lot of new edge to him as a coach,” said Manuel. “He’s a young guy as well, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Perhaps what Manuel appreciated most about Downing was how the former Lions quarterbacks coach maintained a correspondence with him long after Senior Bowl week had concluded.

“He kept in touch with me throughout the whole thing beyond the Senior Bowl,” said Manuel. “He checked in with me when I was going through the pre-draft process. When I saw him in the preseason last summer when we played Detroit we talked again and I’m excited he’s on our staff.”

Manuel sees the obvious benefit of having a designated position coach going into the 2014 season. He naturally intends to maintain a close working relationship with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, but he feels having coach Downing on board will enhance his chances to succeed on the field.

“I didn’t have a veteran guy to really watch and learn from last year so coach Downing will be that guy for me,” he said. “He’ll be an extension of coach Hackett. Obviously coach Hackett is still going to be my coach, but having coach Downing on the staff is going to help me out a lot.”