Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon was a guest on the Howard Simon Show on WGR550 on Wednesday morning.
Here are his thoughts on quarterback EJ Manuel:
Has Manuel "arrived" yet?
Russ Brandon: He has done an excellent job. Any time you give a guy, two games in, the opportunity to lead you down the field with on timeouts and pull the game out is a tremendous job by him. But EJ will be the first one to tell you -- [and] Coach [Doug] Marrone, Nathaniel [Hackett] -- he has a lot to work on and he'll continue to improve. He's a student of the game. He's a hard, hard worker. What stood out obviously throughout the game and in the New England game is his composure, his poise, his leadership qualities. He certainly has all the tools to continue to progress and we're very excited about him.
Is there anything you've learned since the draft that you did not know about him?
RB: His work ethic, you can hear about it and talk all day long, but to see him in the building, how humble he is. I think his leadership qualities really stand out. Being a young person coming into a locker room with a lot of veterans to be able to put the team on his back, have those guys buy in when you're a rookie is very difficult to do. He just has that sort of natural leadership about him. He's a very calm, very even guy.
Does the game-winning drive give the defense confidence in a rookie quarterback?
RB: I think it's big. When you go through practice, the defensive guys are working on their own craft or their packages for the week. You don't spend a lot of time [with the quarterback]. And when you come off the field [during a game], the defense is over with the coaching staff going through adjustments. That's an opportunity, with 1:38 left, when everybody's standing up, they're on the sideline, they get to watch him take the mantle and lead us down like that. It's huge. It was a game that we made a lot of mistakes in and to be able to pull that out and have some teaching lessons this week, going into a win, is certainly a lot better than the alternative.
What about the next step? How anxious are you to see him in a road division game?
RB: A road division game that has a very salty defense. It will give him a lot of different looks in a hostile environment. It's just another step in the maturation process for him. I have the utmost confidence that he'll approach it in the same manner that he's done everything he's done. Not much fazes this guy, and that's what I think you feel really good about. He's here Monday just like the previous Monday, win or lose, with the same type of attitude and work ethic. That's what you look for out of your quarterback.