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Measuring EJ's progress


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#1 vegas55

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:15 PM

It's early of course, and I still have high hopes for EJ as franchise QB. But it is fairly easy to see what his biggest weakness is, simply by observing how NFL defenses are choosing to defend him.  They are employing the Cover 2, even teams that rarely use that scheme.

It's easy for QBs to make the short, safe pass. It's less easy, but a very easy "read" to throw the long ball when a receiver is one on one with no safety help. Any QB can do this. What separates the franchise QB from the riff raf is the ability to throw the medium deep pass, or the deep pass into a tight window. So many failed QBs (Trent Edwards a great example) simply could not "see" that window. They don't see or anticipate the opening and fail to consistently pull the trigger, and bail out to a safety valve. Fitz was actually very good at seeing the window and trusting what he saw; he just did not have the NFL caliber arm to consistently get it there.

So the cover 2 defense more than any other forces a QB to throw into that tight window. That's why EJ is seeing so much of that defense. You can measure his progress by observing how successful he is in finding those windows and throwing it there.

#2 H2o

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:27 PM

And all of this very well could hinge on him trusting himself, his reads, and his receivers. I hope the offseason and all of the programs/workouts do wonders for him in this area. He also needs some extensive work on his footwork. For all of the "missed throws" I believe this has a lot to do with his inaccuracy. If he works with a good QB coach and gets to where he trusts then I believe we will see a different QB next year, granted he stays healthy.

#3 OldTimer1960

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:05 PM

View PostH2o, on 14 December 2013 - 01:27 PM, said:

And all of this very well could hinge on him trusting himself, his reads, and his receivers. I hope the offseason and all of the programs/workouts do wonders for him in this area. He also needs some extensive work on his footwork. For all of the "missed throws" I believe this has a lot to do with his inaccuracy. If he works with a good QB coach and gets to where he trusts then I believe we will see a different QB next year, granted he stays healthy.

He also needs better protection than he got last game and some better/more experienced WRs and TEs.  Ask Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick if success is harder to come by without Reggie Wayne and Michael Crabtree - note that Luck still has a pretty good pair of weapons in TY Hilton and Coby Fleener and Kaepernick still has Vernon Davis...

#4 H2o

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:13 PM

View PostOldTimer1960, on 14 December 2013 - 02:05 PM, said:

He also needs better protection than he got last game and some better/more experienced WRs and TEs.  Ask Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick if success is harder to come by without Reggie Wayne and Michael Crabtree - note that Luck still has a pretty good pair of weapons in TY Hilton and Coby Fleener and Kaepernick still has Vernon Davis...

Not saying anything against that in the slightest. Our OL has got to get bettter. I think CJ was the greatest beneficiary of Joe D's OL. We miss Levitre something terrible this year also. One of the best Mock Drafts I have seen for us so far has Jake Matthews / OT / Texas A&M going to us in the 1st and then us getting Cyril Richardson / OT-OG / Baylor in the 2nd. Matthews would play RT and Richardson LG in our offense. I think that would solve our OL problems real quick.

#5 jjmac

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:36 PM

View PostH2o, on 14 December 2013 - 02:13 PM, said:



Not saying anything against that in the slightest. Our OL has got to get bettter. I think CJ was the greatest beneficiary of Joe D's OL. We miss Levitre something terrible this year also. One of the best Mock Drafts I have seen for us so far has Jake Matthews / OT / Texas A&M going to us in the 1st and then us getting Cyril Richardson / OT-OG / Baylor in the 2nd. Matthews would play RT and Richardson LG in our offense. I think that would solve our OL problems real quick.

Or do you slide Glenn to RT?  Either way, that would solve a lot of our problems.

#6 1billsfan

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:47 PM

View PostOldTimer1960, on 14 December 2013 - 02:05 PM, said:

He also needs better protection than he got last game and some better/more experienced WRs and TEs.  Ask Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick if success is harder to come by without Reggie Wayne and Michael Crabtree - note that Luck still has a pretty good pair of weapons in TY Hilton and Coby Fleener and Kaepernick still has Vernon Davis...

Who we pick will depend on EJ Manuel's play these last three games. There are a boat load of good QB prospects in this next draft class. If Manuel looks shaky then I wouldn't blame the Bills cutting bait and picking a guy like Bortles who looks a lot like Kelly throwing the ball. As much as I want Mike Evans, Manuel needs to really nail down this QB job.

This is why I don't understand people not caring about the rest of the season (a couple of threads I've seen on here)...LOL I'm very excited to watch what happens, especially in regards to Manual's play.

Edited by 1billsfan, 15 December 2013 - 11:01 AM.


#7 NewEra

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 03:14 PM

View PostH2o, on 14 December 2013 - 02:13 PM, said:



Not saying anything against that in the slightest. Our OL has got to get bettter. I think CJ was the greatest beneficiary of Joe D's OL. We miss Levitre something terrible this year also. One of the best Mock Drafts I have seen for us so far has Jake Matthews / OT / Texas A&M going to us in the 1st and then us getting Cyril Richardson / OT-OG / Baylor in the 2nd. Matthews would play RT and Richardson LG in our offense. I think that would solve our OL problems real quick.

I'd be happy with that draft.  I'd be happy with most drafts that have us going all offense in the first 3-4 rounds

#8 OldTimer1960

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 04:28 PM

View PostH2o, on 14 December 2013 - 02:13 PM, said:



Not saying anything against that in the slightest. Our OL has got to get bettter. I think CJ was the greatest beneficiary of Joe D's OL. We miss Levitre something terrible this year also. One of the best Mock Drafts I have seen for us so far has Jake Matthews / OT / Texas A&M going to us in the 1st and then us getting Cyril Richardson / OT-OG / Baylor in the 2nd. Matthews would play RT and Richardson LG in our offense. I think that would solve our OL problems real quick.
That would help a lot - still need at least 1 very good WR and a better TE to help manue or whomever plays QB.  

I know that Brady (maybe the best QB ever) can make do with nobodies, but you can't expect many other QBs, including very good veterans, to do the same.  I think Woods can be a very good WR and I think Goodwin will be a nice 3rd WR, but I think SJ13 is working his way out of Buffalo - not that he doesn't try hard or isn't pretty good, but for his pay his production and "clutch ness" is too low.  The cupboard is bare otherwise.  How can TJ graham be starting with only 18 catches after 13 games?  There are l4th and 5th string WRs who have more catches.

#9 Rob's House

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 04:42 PM

Receivers haven't been the problem the last 2 weeks, and prior to the TB game protection hasn't been that bad.

If you watch the Jets game you'll notice EJ surveying the field. Against Atl & TB he almost always locks in on his primary target and/or takes the short option even when his protection holds up and he has open receivers down the field.

If he can get back to what he was doing in the Jers game and build on that he could have a very bright future. If he keeps playing small ball he'll be another draft bust no matter who you surround him with.

BTW, I know he's a favorite whipping boy around here, but TJ Graham gets open a lot. So does Woods for that matter.

#10 JR in Pittsburgh

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 05:00 PM

View PostOldTimer1960, on 14 December 2013 - 02:05 PM, said:



He also needs better protection than he got last game and some better/more experienced WRs and TEs.  Ask Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick if success is harder to come by without Reggie Wayne and Michael Crabtree - note that Luck still has a pretty good pair of weapons in TY Hilton and Coby Fleener and Kaepernick still has Vernon Davis...

The ole "need more weapons" excuse rears its ugly head again. Having 2 star RBs, an elite possession receiver in SJ, an experienced and productive 6'7" TE, and 2 WRs that can run past anyone isn't enough.  

More weapons isn't necessarily going to help EJ make the right reads, have better accuracy,  and anticipate throws better.


#11 ScottLaw

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 05:24 PM

Yes.

I remember seeing the "need more weapons" excuse for Bledsoe all the time.

#12 PearlHowardman

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 06:46 PM

Needs.  More.  Weapons.

:thumbdown:

#13 Max997

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 07:30 PM

I haven't seen any progress

#14 MoreOffense

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 09:29 PM

View PostMax997, on 14 December 2013 - 07:30 PM, said:

I haven't seen any progress


#15 mart

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 11:09 PM

EJ has lost his confidence which is such a big thing for QBs. They don!t make it

to this level without huge egos and the confidence that goes with it. How can he

have confidence knowing he is on a losing team, and losing organization.

EJ  was not very good in Tampa, but the OL and receivers did!nt help. Someone mentionted

about a good QB Coach. We may have the worst in the league. Trying to do jobs at once,

never playing the position. The QB he developed(?) at Syracuse may never get on the field

in the NFL. This is the big leagues. Syracuse and the rest of the NCAA are in the

development league or the minor leagues for the NFL. You want a QB Coach pick one who

done the job at this level, not your rookie head coach buddy from college and maybe

our QB can learn to improve; maybe.

#16 jjmac

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 12:11 AM

View Postmart, on 14 December 2013 - 11:09 PM, said:

EJ has lost his confidence which is such a big thing for QBs. They don!t make it

to this level without huge egos and the confidence that goes with it. How can he

have confidence knowing he is on a losing team, and losing organization.

EJ  was not very good in Tampa, but the OL and receivers did!nt help. Someone mentionted

about a good QB Coach. We may have the worst in the league. Trying to do jobs at once,

never playing the position. The QB he developed(?) at Syracuse may never get on the field

in the NFL. This is the big leagues. Syracuse and the rest of the NCAA are in the

development league or the minor leagues for the NFL. You want a QB Coach pick one who

done the job at this level, not your rookie head coach buddy from college and maybe

our QB can learn to improve; maybe.

Has EJ lost his confidence?

#17 ColdBlueNorth

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:27 AM

EJ is a smart, athletic QB with a strong arm, but raw.

That was the book on him coming out of college, and missing games with injuries did not help the development process.

All that being said, it should be pretty easy for Hackett to know what he needs to focus on for EJ. The worst performances that EJ has had has come against Pittsburgh and then Tampa both utilizing 2-deep packages zone and man. Hackett needs to coach up Manuel's pre-snap reads for 2-deep zone and 2-deep man and create game plans that take advantage of either of those scenarios. If it is zone then dig routes underneath, working the weak flat, or using flood routes overloading the shallow zones, if it is man they should be able to hit the slot, and exploit the mismatch against the tight end, with either there should be running lanes so they need to stick with the running game. If nothing else the running game slows down a pass rush.

The biggest thing for EJ is patience, and the same goes for fans who like to see the long ball. The best places to attack a cover 2 is going to be in the flats or shallow inside seams, an offense generally does not light up a 2-deep defense for huge plays down field. The best way to get a defense out of their two deep set is successfully running the ball on first and second downs, convincing the DC that he has to bring one or both of the safeties up, sell the play action (always) and attack the cover zero.

Keys for game:
Our defense needs to stop the early score and take some of the pressure off of our young QB.
Hackett has to scout and game plan better and make better half-time adjustments. The offense looked woefully under prepared last week.
EJ has to be patient and take what the defense gives him.
The offensive line simply has to be better picking up twists and stunts; we need better protection when teams bring a 5th man on the rush (Tampa did not have to blitz that much to generate pressure and push) and the offensive line needs to open more holes for our backs.
The backs have to be better picking up blitzing LB, S, CBs - that means that Spiller does not just dance out of the pocket waving his arms begging for the dump pass but rather he mans-up and actually gets in the way of a pass-rushing defender.

The Bills have to stick with the run game plan regardless. Perhaps start out with two tight ends to dictate tempo and defensive alignment. Out of that jumbo formation you can run it, hit either TE in the flat, and throw in the occasional fullback or halfback outlet pass. Some may think that trying to run an up-tempo passing offense with a rookie QB is a good way to get him killed. The best thing they can do for EJ (in my opinion) is design the offense to start the game with a max protect extra TE and let him get some rhythm and confidence then gradually open up the playbook as you see what the defense is going to give you and the game progresses.

Receivers need to hang on to the ball, and in clutch situations stay away from #13.

Edited by ColdBlueNorth, 15 December 2013 - 10:49 AM.


#18 H2o

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:39 AM

View PostColdBlueNorth, on 15 December 2013 - 10:27 AM, said:

EJ is a smart, athletic QB with a strong arm, but raw.

That was the book on him coming out of college, and missing games with injuries did not help the development process.

All that being said, it should be pretty easy for Hackett to know what he needs to focus on for EJ. The worst performances that EJ has had has come against Pittsburgh and then Tampa both utilizing 2-deep packages zone and man. Hackett needs to coach up Manuel's pre-snap reads for 2-deep zone and 2-deep man and create game plans that take advantage of either of those scenarios. If it is zone then dig routes underneath, working the weak flat, or using flood routes overloading the shallow zones, if it is man they should be able to hit the slot, run the ball, and exploit the mismatch against the tight end.

The biggest thing for EJ is patience, and the same goes for fans who like to see the long ball. The best places to attack a cover 2 is going to be in the flats or shallow inside seams, an offense generally does not light up a 2-deep defense for huge plays down field. The best way to get a defense out of their two deep set is successfully running the ball on first and second downs, convincing the DC that he has to bring one or both of the safeties up, sell the play action (always) and attack the cover zero.

Offensive line has to be better. We need better protection against 4-5 man rushes (Tampa did not have to blitz that much to generate pressure and push), the Bills have to stick with the run game plan, receivers need to hang on to the ball, Hackett has to game plan and scout better, and EJ has to be patient and take what the defense gives him.

Quality post my friend. :thumbsup:

#19 colin

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:03 AM

Ej is sloppy footed and slow eyed.  He's basically Marc sanchez out there, except he's better with turnovers (who isn't?) And makes no real threats at passing down field.  I don't see him getting better, obv would love to be wrong.

#20 Boolay

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:51 AM

View Postcolin, on 15 December 2013 - 11:03 AM, said:

Ej is sloppy footed and slow eyed.  He's basically Marc sanchez out there, except he's better with turnovers (who isn't?) And makes no real threats at passing down field.  I don't see him getting better, obv would love to be wrong.

Unfortunately your post is spot on. The fact that Marrone needs to "scale back" the offense for EJ is coach speak for loss of confidence. Hopefully If this continues Billls front office will cut losses short like the Panthers after drafting Clausen rather than kicking the can down the road.