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January 29, 2013 @ 1:29 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

Manuel And Freeman Share Similarities

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Senior Bowl MVP E.J. Manuel and Bucs QB Josh Freeman are a lot alike. Both are physically-gifted athletes, but both have inconsistent streaks that make their fans pull their hair out at times. Manuel played well in last Saturday's Senior Bowl, and may have boosted his stock during his week in Mobile.
Former Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel and Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman share a lot of the same traits.

Manuel (6-5, 237 pounds) and Freeman (6-6, 240 pounds) are similar in size, both are athletic and strong, each have cannons for arms and both drive their fans crazy occasionally with inconsistent play, despite setting college and franchise records.

Last week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, PewterReport.com had an opportunity to visit with Manuel and talk about some of the things he – like Freeman – can improve on.

“I think just overall being consistent,” Manuel said. “When you watch Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning – granted those are the best players in the NFL – I am not saying I am like them, but those guys are consistent. They go out there and make the same throws, the same plays and great decisions. I think if I can do that then I can a great quarterback in the NFL.”

The inconsistencies cause some frustrated Noles fans to sometimes overlook Manuel’s career accomplishments during his tenure under center in Tallahassee. As Florida State’s signal-caller Manuel went 25-6 as a starter, won the first BCS bowl for Florida State since 2000, won five-out-of-six games against state rivals Miami and Florida and became just the second player in college football history to win four bowl games. The 2012 Seminoles also set a school record for total yards (6,591) bettering the 1999 undefeated Chris Weinke-led national championship team.

The Virginia native talked about some of things that make a quarterback become more consistent.

“I think it is mainly being comfortable with the offense,” Manuel said. “And also just having great technique – being technique sound. When football is the only thing you are doing – you are not going to class – you are just working on football everyday. That is when you have the opportunity to go over your fundamentals all day. That is one reason I have really enjoyed the past two weeks (training in Boca Raton) for this opportunity.”

Manuel had a so-so week of practice leading up to the actual Senior Bowl game, but said the ability to quickly comprehend the game plan with limited practices helped him earn Senior Bowl MVP honors.

“It is funny, that is what coach (Jimbo) Fisher would do,” Manuel said. “(When we would) Install in the summertime. He would pretty much give us the whole playbook the first two days. It was really up to us to memorize everything then review it as the week went on. Everything I am seeing (at the Senior Bowl) is what I saw in college. It has been really good for me.”

Manuel talked about the evolving quarterback position in the NFL, with players like Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick having success with a read-option style offense.

“I think it could be the future,” Manuel said. “Teams have tried it but it has been battle proven now. Colin Kaepernick might win the Super Bowl. He is throwing the ball great, actually outstanding. Some of the throws he made the other night were incredible. I don’t think it is a fad, I just think it is the style of quarterback you are seeing in the NFL now.

“It kind of puts the defense on their toes, they can’t just drop seven and rush four. The guy sees an open lane and can run for 15 yards or maybe 40 yards. It kind of bends, then breaks the backs of the defense.”

Manuel capped off Senior Bowl week earning the MVP trophy after leading the South to 21-16 win in Mobile. Manuel finished the game completing seven of his 10 passes for 76 yards, a touchdown and one interception on a tipped ball. Manuel added 10 yards on four carries and a touchdown.

After Saturday’s game Manuel talked about his hero, his mother Jackie Manuel, who has been battling breast cancer since just prior to the start of his senior season last summer.

That's kind of been my motivation,'' Manuel said. ''I call my mom every single day and tell her I love her. I never miss a day. ''They'll be sending that award home to her. I won that award for her. I went out there and played well for her. I'm happy I was able to do it.''

Potential Landing Spot
Through Thursday of last week Manuel had not spoken to the Buccaneers however that isn’t to say a meeting won’t be scheduled at some point. Manuel did reportedly have a great visit with the Eagles and new head coach Chip Kelly who heavily recruited him to come to Oregon out of high school. Most scouts feel with his game last Saturday the former Nole may have improved himself to a second day (Rd. 2-3) selection and can solidify it with a good NFL Combine performance next month.


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  • avatar

    Manuel would be a waist of a draft pick. and I'm an FSU fan.
  • avatar

    Ehinote since you're such a Q.B. expert, tell us what you think of Josh Freeman. After 4 years of observation, does he have it?
  • avatar

    Ah... I've posted about Freeman for 4 years. I didn't like the draft pick from the second we took him. Most of the posts you read on PR about his deficiencies are ones I wrote about 4 years ago. From his elongated throwing motion to his lumbering footwork in the pocket to his hip rotation when throwing outside the hashmarks on his 2nd or 3rd option. He's a great kid, but he doesn't have the QB tools that I would want for my franchise. He will always rely more on his WRs to make plays, because he doesn't antipate the opening windows or have the accuracy to hit guys consistently enough to where they can keep their feet or momentum. Yes, at times he makes a great throw, but at times any guy in the NFL can make a great throw. Being a special QB or someone a franchise wants to tie themselves to long term takes more than doing it on occasion.
  • avatar

    Manuel had an outstanding running game and athletes all over the field. Not to mention one of the better defenses in the nation. If he is an NFL talent he could have led that team to a National Championship. I've been around QB play my whole life and I'll tell you he doesn't have it. Relax, you'll be happy in 5 years to know he is no longer in the league.
  • avatar

    Rodgers never took his team to the National Championship, neither did Brady, neither did Capernick, neither did Russle Wilson, neither did Flacco, neither did Matt Ryan! So much for your theory!
  • avatar

    mlloye - Look at the teams those QBs were on in college. Have any of them won National Titles in the last 30 years? LOL! Manuel had a National Title contending team to work with. He was a major reason why the offense stumbled through huge parts of big games. He has below average vision and accuracy. Sorry... it's nothing personal.
  • avatar

    You are correct about most of them, but, Tom Brady was with Michigan (who was pretty dominate back then) and Russle Wilson was with Wisconsin at a time when they were contenders. Don't get me wrong, Manual has had his ups and downs, but he still has a lot of potential to be great. I honestly believe that a lot of his failures have to do with a poor O-line, some bad play calling by Fisher, and a less than stellar running game. This season is the first in a long time that FSU has had a descent run game and a descent O-line. You can put too much on a young kid. He is definitely a project (not an immediate starter).
  • avatar

    Totally agree. "A project" Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Flacco were not projects coming out of college. They were drafted to hopefully provide playing time in the near future. Manuel is a "project" and qb projects are hopefully not what we're looking for at this time.
  • avatar

    I don't know how people can call him a horrible quarterback, his record says different. If Manuel played for Nick Saban instead of Dumbo Fisher, we wouldn't be having this conversation because he would've won three national titles, and be the number one pick in the draft. You're kidding yourselves if you couch G.M.'s think you know what college kids are going to be good pros, the real G.M.'s can't really say for sure. Relax, the Bucs haven't drafted him, and if they do,how bout give him a chance.
  • avatar

    Greg McElroy was a Seventh round draft pick. Had almost identical stats if not a little better and won the SEC and BCS title and played against waaaay better teams so....
  • avatar

    Manuel had an outstanding running game and athletes all over the field. Not to mention one of the better defenses in the nation. If he could is an NFL talent he could have led that team to a National Championship. I've been around QB play my whole life and I'll tell you he doesn't have it. Relax, you'll be happy in 5 years to know he is no longer in the league.
  • avatar

    Zac Dysert is the only QB I am remotely interested in. I am getting a feeling that PR is campaigning for Manuel and I dont like it. He is a horrible QB. This year offers little in the QB class. I would like to see more articles on players we need.
  • avatar

    I say if we don't get EJ how about the QB from Tenn. I feel that he could be available in Rd-3 or early 4-GO Bucs
  • avatar

    I just want a QB who can read a defense and consistantly hit open receivers. Is that to much to ask? LoL.
  • avatar

    :) Good point STC. Manuel does not have it. People get excited about the athletic ability and glimpses of big plays, but he was one of the more inconsistent QBs I watched this year.
  • avatar

    "The good news for Bucs fans that aren't fans of Florida State QB E.J. Manuel is that Manuel said he did not interview with the Buccaneers in Mobile, Ala. I had the Bucs taking Manuel in the fourth round of Pewter Report's initial mock draft but it's safe to say he won't be in PR's second version, which will be out in February. Manuel was inconsistent and unimpressive during Senior Bowl week practices"..........I think I'm going to ride out with the guy that uttered those words!
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