Thursday, August 14, 2014
Manuel rebounds as Bills punch back
By Mike Rodak
LATROBE, Pa. -- It was like watching a different quarterback.
EJ Manuel completed 17 of 22 passes in 11-on-11 drills in Thursday's joint practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers, coming out in a fury after his shaky afternoon Wednesday.
The Steelers' defense, which greeted the Buffalo Bills with physicality a day earlier, looked flat Thursday. The difference for the Bills' offense, meanwhile, was night and day.
"I told EJ, man, to be honest -- my exact words -- it was the best I've ever seen him," receiver Mike Williams said. "I don't think he incompleted a pass. Everything was on time, we got everything we wanted. It was, like, perfect.
"Coming out of our breaks, it was all right there. This was the best I've seen him. If he can keep getting like this, it can be something to play with."
Manuel's performance in Wednesday's practice was a hot topic before practice, when coach Doug Marrone called that day's 11-on-11 reps the best he's seen from Manuel in training camp. Marrone cited a 60 percent completion rate from Manuel in that session.
On Thursday, Manuel topped the charts at 77 percent, so it's safe to say it was by far his sharpest practice since training camp began over three weeks ago. Manuel was more accurate than he was Wednesday, while receivers had fewer drops than they did the day prior.
"I thought I was consistent," Manuel said. "That's something I want to continue to build on. Don't let it be a one-, or two-, or three-day streak. Make it an everyday thing and it's a process.
"I'm very excited about the steps that we're taking and I think we're right on time where we want to be as offense to continue to develop within this preseason."