Bills QB E.J. Manuel spent a few minutes on a conference call with the Tampa Bay media earlier this week and
discussed a number of subjects, including his first year in the league,
friend Mike Glennon and the problems the Bucs defense causes for
Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel was a two-year starter for the Florida State Seminoles and turned a solid season and excellent Senior Bowl performance into being the first quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. The former Nole spent a few minutes on a conference call with the Tampa Bay media Wednesday, and discussed a number of subjects, including his first year in the league, friend Mike Glennon and the problems the Bucs defense causes for opposing offenses.
How has the year been going for you so far?
"My thought has been to just get better each game. Obviously we’ve lost a lot more games than we’ve won, so that’s always disappointing, but for me it’s always just get better each game."You have an interesting match-up this week against Mike Glennon who you’ve gone against before in the past?
"Yeah, I’m looking forward to getting down there and playing against Mike, he’s been doing well so I look forward to going out and have a good game."
Did he deal you one of your more depressing blows when NC State beat you guys a year ago?
"Yeah that was a tough one. Obviously we didn’t win that game versus NC State and definitely took a lot from it to learn from."Talk about the differences between your game and his. What makes you guys different?
"I don’t know, I think we have a lot more similarities than people think. We both throw the ball well and try to stretch it vertically and do different things like that."You’re going to potentially be facing a former Florida State teammate in Dekoda Watson. What did you gain from being his teammate and what have you seen of him on tape?
"Yeah Dekoda has been doing a great job. When I was a young guy at Florida State, he was one of our team leaders. When I was there he was one of the first guys to go up to the league. Him and Pat Robinson and guys like that. It’s been awesome to see him grow in his career and see him do well. On film he still flys around like he did at Florida State and makes plays in the backfield and does a good job covering the tight ends and slot receivers."
What’s it been like to see Florida State in the race for the National Championship?
"It’s been amazing to watch these guys that were freshman and sophomores when I was there and to see them now being juniors and seniors and heading in to the NFL and having great careers and having a great college career to finish strong with a National Championship win, so it’s been really exciting."
How well did you get to know Jameis Winston while you were there?
"I know him very well. Jameis and I are very close and we still talk two to three times a week even while I’m here in Buffalo and he’s down at FSU. We keep in close contact and obviously in his situation it just has to let it pan itself out. As far as the football field, he’s been doing a great job just leading the team and has been lights out every single game."Did you get to know Mike Glennon at all while you prepared for the draft?
"I’ve known Mike since high school, he and I have been to Elite 11 camps together, we’re both from Virginia so I’ve known him for a long time and we’ve had our friendship since way back then."Do you have any stories that stand out about times you guys have been together?
"Can’t really say anything that stands out. Obviously when you go and get recruited by similar schools, you’ll see the same guys over and over and obviously Mike stuck out because he was tall, he was one of the taller guys you would meet when you go on recruiting trips when you’re in high school. Finally at one of the camps we introduced ourselves to each other and we’ve been friends ever since."
Is this game any more exciting because you’re facing him?
"It’s just another game, another building block for our team. I’m not going to make it bigger than what it is; it’s a huge game because it’s the next game. It’s something that we really have to get done. We need this win to try and finish this season strong."
I heard that Coach Hackett showed you video of Tom Brady and Drew Brees after the first Jets game to show some more of what you should be doing. How has that helped you so far?
"It’s helped a lot. Just seeing how those guys react to pressure and when they do things good or bad. It’s been a good thing for me to see those guys have their mistakes and then come back from it and still do well. Anytime you see those guys having trouble and battling through it and still having success it’s very good for me."How do you feel you’re performing in comparison to how you thought you would be?
"I think it’s going well. Obviously there’s some games I wish I could have back, but considering the injuries and the time away that I’ve missed from the team when I’ve had the injuries, you just have to battle through it. The season isn’t where we wanted it to be and for me it’s just continuing to learn and get as much experience."There were some coaches saying you need to let it loose some more. Is there a balance of not trying to do too much and just letting your talent show?
"I think it is a balance, you don’t want to go out there and try to be a hero because then you start forcing plays and start making bonehead mistakes. Really you just have to allow the game to come to you."How do you think Coach Marrone has done in his first year getting you guys ready to play?
"I think Coach Marrone has done an awesome job. He communicates everything we do as a team to all of us. Having an open flow of communication between the players and the coaches is really important. For me, just like I said, just continue to grow in the offense and with that comes the vocal leadership with the team to get guys playing up on a high level every single time. I think with that comes consistency as well."Talk about the Bucs defense and some of the playmakers on that side of the ball?
"They do a great job. They have a great front four that can stop the run and also add some pressure on the quarterback. You have to get the ball out of your hands fast and obviously Darrelle Revis is one of the premier corners in the NFL right now. He’s a guy that you always have to know what side of the field he’s on. (Johnthan) Banks has been doing a good job as a rookie and Mark Barron I’ve been watching him for a long time, when he was in college and then now that he’s in the pros I think this is his second year. They have some great players. Even at the linebacker spot, I know Lavonte David does an awesome job running guys down making tackles behind the line if you get the chance. It’s going to be a great challenge for us."
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