David Lee talks up Bills' QBs as spring brings promise to Buffalo


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It's spring in the NFL, a time of the year when hope is high, promise peaks and compliments flow freely.

That effect is even more pronounced in Buffalo, where a new coaching staff has begun its second week working with a fresh group of players.

Reporters had a chance to chat with Bills coordinators and assistant coaches Monday, and their answers to most questions were what one would expect in April.

For established stars, their new coaches had little trouble singing their praises. For players who struggled in previous seasons, the new staff provided a clean slate. In either case, coaches kept their plans close to their vest and were understandably noncommittal on just about any issue.

Obviously, the story will be different for many players come July or August. But for now -- until proven otherwise -- everything is dandy.

With that disclaimer in mind, here is a sampling of what was said Monday:

Quarterbacks coach David Lee on EJ Manuel: "I thought he really looked really good the first two games [last] season. As I watched him, the first 10 games he started his first year, before he got hurt, he looked like a rookie and I've had a couple of them so I know what they look like. He was doing a lot of rookie things. But at times he did some really good things and you could see exactly why they drafted him in the first round. ... I know this, his attitude has been tremendous. There's nothing negative that has ever come out of his mouth about being benched or moved to second team. It's just a great credit to him and how he's been raised. His attitude is super. He's smart, he's sharp, he wants more. He's got five tests he's taking and he wants five more of them. I can't write these tests out as fast as these guys want them."

Lee on Matt Cassel: "I'm glad he's here. We targeted him extremely high in the free-agent market and I'm just thrilled to death that he's here. He can throw outside the numbers. He's got leadership qualities -- I've seen that since he's been here. He's smart. He's really bright. Like I said, he can throw the ball outside the numbers. The best thing is that he's got 10 years of NFL experience. Those are all good ingredients, I think, especially when you're looking at the kind of skill that we've got around him."

Lee on Tyrod Taylor: "Tyrod, we looked at him hard when I was with Rex with the Jets. He's got that uncommon speed, man, at our position. I don't know -- he may be the fastest guy if you timed them all. ... So this guy is exciting to all of us because he has that dimension of, 'Hey, I can't beat you with my legs and not just my arms.' I think he has a beautiful throwing motion and I just have to think we got to see how accurate he is. He is extremely smart. He's right in the middle of this. I wouldn't mention [just] Wildcat with him, because he's in this competition as much as anybody to get the starting job."

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Percy Harvin: "Percy is just a world-class athlete. Very tough, strong, physical football player who we envision being a big factor for us at the receiver position. I personally think his best days are ahead of him as a receiver. Down in and down out. Now, his skill set and his skills and abilities -- you can just let your imagination go. There's not a lot with Percy that you're going to say, 'Well, we better not do that with Percy.' ... I think Percy can make plays behind the line of scrimmage and behind the defense and there's not a lot of guys that can do that."

Defensive backs coach Tim McDonald on cornerback Stephon Gilmore: "You got a picture of a corner in the dictionary, there should be a picture of him because he has all the intangibles. He's got the size, the ability, the speed, length, brains. This guy's got some unique talent and I'm excited to be a part of what he's got the potential to become. ... Any time you have a cornerback that can take a guy out and let you play 10-on-10, yeah, that's huge. I see Gilmore as that type of person."

McDonald on safety Aaron Williams: "Sky's the limit for him. If he continues to progress at the level he's been progressing at, I expect that guy to be a Pro Bowl player some time real soon. The guy makes plays, plays hard, smart -- everything you want in a safety."