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7/25 camp review of EJ


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#1 AlwaysBilleve

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 07:34 AM

It was a beautiful day at St. John Fisher as the Bills took the turf yesterday evening. My first camp practice of the year and I was on a mission. I focused my attention on EJ in an attempt to see how he has changed. The following points are some summaries of notes I took about what was apparent yesterday.

-QB's warmed up in a very traditional way. EJ threw with Thad. Tuel with Dixon. To me, I immediately notice a change in his throwing motion. Nothing drastic but his windup is different (more on this later). There was a very relaxed atmosphere in the air as they went through their progression. My attention was then drawn elsewhere.

-QB's and wide outs left for the grass fields which I could only assume was routes on air. Pretty ticked I couldn't see it. Would have been a nice control test to see how EJ changes under pressure

-Back with the squad for one on ones. Music is blasting and the intensity rises. QB's are rotating in throws of 2 (minus Dixon who worked with RB's), EJ up first to Watkins. A nice connection (missed EJ throwing the ball, was trying to see who was covering). I had to refocus my attention on EJ. During one-on-one's, his drop was steady. Footwork clean. Stepped into his throw. Good weight transfer. His windup still seemed different and I couldn't figure it out yet. A good release capped off with a nice poise. Needless to be said, I was feeling pretty high on Manuel at this point. However, what stood out to me the most was how every time it became Manuel's turn to throw, Sammy would jump up and take a rep. I love it.

-11 on 11: First team out (showed a lot of tight bunch formation) with EJ at the helm. First play, a bomb to Watkins. Though the crowd cheered and screamed, it was a broken play. Sammy was in scramble mode while EJ nicely stepped up in the pocket. A good connection but nothing I want to go bonkers for. Team continued with some highlights and low lights...Here are my top three.

1) EJ a beautiful throw to Woods with a toe tap grab. The ball was money. Beautiful mechanics, it looked so smooth in a nice pocket and his footwork was steady. When he steps into his throws, they can be so crisp.

2) EJ to Frank the Tank in the flat. Basically a ground ball. Here was the EJ I didn't want to see. His throw was all upper body. No lower body mechanics. He immediately unbuckled his helmet and clapped his hands. He was pissed and rightfully so. If this is the EJ we get, it might be a long season. And there is was, he resorted to his old windup! A very flat draw back as opposed to the height he was getting during one on ones. The way the ball was released was side armed, which I believe to be a direct result of this old windup (on that throw).

3) EJ to Sammy is going to be forced. They are going to find a way to get this kid the ball. They connected on slants, digs, posts, fades, corners and a deep hitch. Their connection seems to be blossoming and I love that they are pushing it.


So what does this all mean???

EJ is a different QB (physically). The weight he put on looks good. He looks more willing to let it fly. His mechanics are undoubtedly better, IMO. I think he is getting all the physical tools he needs to be successful.

BUT...

The mental part of the game will restrict him. How often is he going to grossly under throw or miss a target because he's flustered by pressure and resorts to his old ways? How often will he make the right reads? Does he have the mental capacity to get their offense into the right play?

I suppose we'll have to wait and see until Sundays.

-Billeve!

(fwiw, I have plenty of other notes about other players, players, drills if ppl are interested. I just figured I'd share a little EJ with everyone)

#2 chris heff

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 08:17 AM

Thanks, I have a question. Last year I felt that EJ was at his best when he would just play, good two minute drills. Then there were times he seemed , and I hate to use this word, tentative, aiming the ball not throwing it. Is this what you are referring to?

Edited by chris heff, 26 July 2014 - 08:24 AM.


#3 Triple Threat

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 08:24 AM

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

#4 YoloinOhio

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 08:30 AM

View PostAlwaysBilleve, on 26 July 2014 - 07:34 AM, said:

It was a beautiful day at St. John Fisher as the Bills took the turf yesterday evening. My first camp practice of the year and I was on a mission. I focused my attention on EJ in an attempt to see how he has changed. The following points are some summaries of notes I took about what was apparent yesterday.

-QB's warmed up in a very traditional way. EJ threw with Thad. Tuel with Dixon. To me, I immediately notice a change in his throwing motion. Nothing drastic but his windup is different (more on this later). There was a very relaxed atmosphere in the air as they went through their progression. My attention was then drawn elsewhere.

-QB's and wide outs left for the grass fields which I could only assume was routes on air. Pretty ticked I couldn't see it. Would have been a nice control test to see how EJ changes under pressure

-Back with the squad for one on ones. Music is blasting and the intensity rises. QB's are rotating in throws of 2 (minus Dixon who worked with RB's), EJ up first to Watkins. A nice connection (missed EJ throwing the ball, was trying to see who was covering). I had to refocus my attention on EJ. During one-on-one's, his drop was steady. Footwork clean. Stepped into his throw. Good weight transfer. His windup still seemed different and I couldn't figure it out yet. A good release capped off with a nice poise. Needless to be said, I was feeling pretty high on Manuel at this point. However, what stood out to me the most was how every time it became Manuel's turn to throw, Sammy would jump up and take a rep. I love it.

-11 on 11: First team out (showed a lot of tight bunch formation) with EJ at the helm. First play, a bomb to Watkins. Though the crowd cheered and screamed, it was a broken play. Sammy was in scramble mode while EJ nicely stepped up in the pocket. A good connection but nothing I want to go bonkers for. Team continued with some highlights and low lights...Here are my top three.

1) EJ a beautiful throw to Woods with a toe tap grab. The ball was money. Beautiful mechanics, it looked so smooth in a nice pocket and his footwork was steady. When he steps into his throws, they can be so crisp.

2) EJ to Frank the Tank in the flat. Basically a ground ball. Here was the EJ I didn't want to see. His throw was all upper body. No lower body mechanics. He immediately unbuckled his helmet and clapped his hands. He was pissed and rightfully so. If this is the EJ we get, it might be a long season. And there is was, he resorted to his old windup! A very flat draw back as opposed to the height he was getting during one on ones. The way the ball was released was side armed, which I believe to be a direct result of this old windup (on that throw).

3) EJ to Sammy is going to be forced. They are going to find a way to get this kid the ball. They connected on slants, digs, posts, fades, corners and a deep hitch. Their connection seems to be blossoming and I love that they are pushing it.


So what does this all mean???

EJ is a different QB (physically). The weight he put on looks good. He looks more willing to let it fly. His mechanics are undoubtedly better, IMO. I think he is getting all the physical tools he needs to be successful.

BUT...

The mental part of the game will restrict him. How often is he going to grossly under throw or miss a target because he's flustered by pressure and resorts to his old ways? How often will he make the right reads? Does he have the mental capacity to get their offense into the right play?

I suppose we'll have to wait and see until Sundays.

-Billeve!

(fwiw, I have plenty of other notes about other players, players, drills if ppl are interested. I just figured I'd share a little EJ with everyone)
thanks! Did you get a look at Lawson or Searcy?

#5 l< j

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 08:30 AM

Thanks for the informed and honest assessment. I think everyone would appreciate anything like this for other players. Of course, outside of the sale, EJ is the biggest question mark we have so it is good to have this focused attention.

kj

#6 JohnnyGold

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 09:13 AM

View Postchris heff, on 26 July 2014 - 08:17 AM, said:

Thanks, I have a question. Last year I felt that EJ was at his best when he would just play, good two minute drills. Then there were times he seemed , and I hate to use this word, tentative, aiming the ball not throwing it. Is this what you are referring to?

reminds me of my golf swing.

Ill be out there, not thinking about golf, not thinking about my round, just swinging the club naturally--with great results.

then ill make a minor mistake, maybe play the ball to far forward in my stance, and have a slight mishit, and then immediately i snap back into the reality that im golfing--and although i may have a good round going, my head fills with negative thoughts about my swing, and some triple bogies are on the way.

hope ej can handle that scenario better on the football field :wallbash:

edit*: great job op. been waiting for some sort of deep insight into how ej is looking. with the amount of beat writers there, and the fact that our season hinges on his progress, i was hoping for reports like this every day.

Edited by JohnnyGold, 26 July 2014 - 09:14 AM.


#7 Doc

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:03 AM

If there was a change in his mechanics, yips are to be expected.  Hopefully he gets them worked-out, at least mostly, in training camp and pre-season.

#8 AlwaysBilleve

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:15 AM

View Postchris heff, on 26 July 2014 - 08:17 AM, said:

Thanks, I have a question. Last year I felt that EJ was at his best when he would just play, good two minute drills. Then there were times he seemed , and I hate to use this word, tentative, aiming the ball not throwing it. Is this what you are referring to?

I know exactly what you mean. He seemed to have more of a free release, let it fly attitude. Last year he seemed to over-think the easy ones. I think it was a combination of youth, indecision and lack of reps.

View PostYoloinOhio, on 26 July 2014 - 08:30 AM, said:

thanks! Did you get a look at Lawson or Searcy?

I have no notes on Lawson. Not to say he wasn't playing well, I just wasn't as focused on him.

Searcy seemed like he knows whats going on. I'm skeptical because idk how Schwartz uses his safety, but I think he'll be the guy for us at SS when we open up at Chicago. I don't see Duke or anyone pushing him.

View PostJohnnyGold, on 26 July 2014 - 09:13 AM, said:

reminds me of my golf swing.

Ill be out there, not thinking about golf, not thinking about my round, just swinging the club naturally--with great results.

then ill make a minor mistake, maybe play the ball to far forward in my stance, and have a slight mishit, and then immediately i snap back into the reality that im golfing--and although i may have a good round going, my head fills with negative thoughts about my swing, and some triple bogies are on the way.

hope ej can handle that scenario better on the football field :wallbash:

edit*: great job op. been waiting for some sort of deep insight into how ej is looking. with the amount of beat writers there, and the fact that our season hinges on his progress, i was hoping for reports like this every day.

This comment is spot on. It is so hard to get a good evaluation during camp. Everyone looks like a hero. In reality, they are all professional athletes and we can't ever know until it counts. But what I'm really interested in is seeing how he handles the pressure. Our defense was relentless yesterday and I hope they bring the heat on him all camp. It will be a good way for him to continue to develop his footwork.

View PostDoc, on 26 July 2014 - 10:03 AM, said:

If there was a change in his mechanics, yips are to be expected.  Hopefully he gets them worked-out, at least mostly, in training camp and pre-season.

true. maybe I over scrutinized.

#9 Mike32282

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:41 AM

I think you hit it on the head. EJ Manuel looks better, but when he gets pressure, it rattles him. I think he's going to keep growing this year. But I could also see him struggling a bit this year too.

#10 Mango

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:03 PM

View PostMike32282, on 26 July 2014 - 10:41 AM, said:

I think you hit it on the head. EJ Manuel looks better, but when he gets pressure, it rattles him. I think he's going to keep growing this year. But I could also see him struggling a bit this year too.

We have surrounded EJ with weapons offensively, he has some footwork issues, that screw with his delivery quite a bit.  However from everything I am hearing, we have failed to adequately protect our first round QB.  It seems like when he gets the time, he is pretty solid, however, a young QB with footwork issues, is going to struggle exponentially more without good protection.  I get a feeling it is going to be a long season with our OL.  That needs to be our number one priority next season, give EJ time to set and throw.  I am pleased to see him progressing, however it doesn't look like we have upgraded any of our OL deficiencies. I think his play when he is on, is good enough to win us some football games.  If anything I think the pressure this year is on our OL to perform, rather than EJ, if that makes sense.  This is not a get out of jail free card, but our OL is looking wretched thus far.

#11 SaratogaMike

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:21 PM

I haven't seen EJ Manuel play football in nine months and I could have written that piece for you. (Thanks for the effort though).

QBs can't change their mechanics. They throw the way they throw. EJ probably has too many flaws to ever highly succeed in the NFL.

The Bills need to give Manuel about fifteen plays that he can execute well and leave it at that for a couple years. In the meantime keep looking for that franchise QB.

#12 Jerry Jabber

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:30 PM

Thanks for the report!

#13 thebandit27

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:35 PM

View PostSaratogaMike, on 26 July 2014 - 12:21 PM, said:

QBs can't change their mechanics. They throw the way they throw. EJ probably has too many flaws to ever highly succeed in the NFL.

Not...even...close

#14 YoloinOhio

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:40 PM

View PostSaratogaMike, on 26 July 2014 - 12:21 PM, said:

I haven't seen EJ Manuel play football in nine months and I could have written that piece for you. (Thanks for the effort though).

QBs can't change their mechanics. They throw the way they throw. EJ probably has too many flaws to ever highly succeed in the NFL.

The Bills need to give Manuel about fifteen plays that he can execute well and leave it at that for a couple years. In the meantime keep looking for that franchise QB.
oh.

#15 RuntheDamnBall

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:47 PM

View PostSaratogaMike, on 26 July 2014 - 12:21 PM, said:

I haven't seen EJ Manuel play football in nine months and I could have written that piece for you. (Thanks for the effort though).

QBs can't change their mechanics. They throw the way they throw. EJ probably has too many flaws to ever highly succeed in the NFL.

O HAI

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#16 Hplarrm

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 12:59 PM

Perhaps the thing which impressed me most about your assessment is that you were able to pick-up Manual also finding fault that stood out for you with the groundball to Frank the Tank. Manual demanding of himself that he do better is the first necessary step to his making change.  One easily might report a player makes a bad play any observer can see but then either shows no reaction or makes motions which either seem to blame the other player or falsely looks for some flaw in his shoe or the turf.

Your report seems to reinforce Manual being appropriately miffed by a bad pass and showing frustration with himself rather than with his teammates.

I do not demand every play to be perfect, even Brady or Manning make mistakes, what I do want to see is Manual moved by his errors, correctly diagnosing them, and improving his play.

It sounds like he was doing this from your description.

#17 Big C

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:07 PM

View PostAlwaysBilleve, on 26 July 2014 - 07:34 AM, said:


3) EJ to Sammy is going to be forced. They are going to find a way to get this kid the ball. They connected on slants, digs, posts, fades, corners and a deep hitch. Their connection seems to be blossoming and I love that they are pushing it.


It's great to have a WR who is so good that you just have to force the ball to him almost regardless of coverage. Having a guy who can fight for the ball or is open when covered (Mike Williams can fall into this category too) is a huge help to the QB. Stafford and Dalton look so much better because of Johnson and Green.

#18 Hplarrm

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:44 PM

Its these types of players who can actually make a QB look better  than he is.  The stats will reflect a high % of passes completed, but stats which may indicate a QB to be an accurate thrower but the reality may be that his WRs are good at fighting for throws which are up for grabs or perhaps even poor.

In the end, it does not matter to me if the ultimate stat of getting Ws for the team bears out.  The funny thing is that develop0ing a good rep can actually make a player a better player.  Confidence is simply a big part of performance and results.  When a player is confident and in particular if teammates have confidence in a player he tends to try to make plays rather than be tentative and WRs respond by not wanting to let the Q@B down.

In addition refs are clearly influenced by past success and tend to give the many close calls to the better  players and give more protection to the Bradys and Mannings of he world than to regular players.

Finally, a players rep tends to impact opposing Ds and they noticeably back off out of fear of being embarrassed which ironically makes it easier to embarrass them.

One of the reasons I feel it is likely for Manual to improve in his second year is that in his second year he should not only be more confident but that having Watkins an improved and bigger rep Woods and a situational player like Williams as his #3 looking to make big plays in fewer opportunities that a lot of tea leaves are out there than should line up to produce a few ESPN feature plays.  Nothing succeeds like success and the Bills are set-up to make some plays which will be the ground work for the O to perform better than a limited imposing do of slick Stevie and unknown Woods produced.

The WR talent and proven runners (with better blockers in terms of rep look very hopeful to me.


#19 eball

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 02:37 PM

Appreciate the report! Put me in the camp of believing that the more reps EJ gets the better. He just needs to experience success and failure and learn what works and what doesn't. He seems bright enough to be able to adapt.

#20 FeartheLosing

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 02:50 PM

View Postchris heff, on 26 July 2014 - 08:17 AM, said:

Thanks, I have a question. Last year I felt that EJ was at his best when he would just play, good two minute drills. Then there were times he seemed , and I hate to use this word, tentative, aiming the ball not throwing it. Is this what you are referring to?
I loved watching EJ run the 2 min drill, and it was a thing of beauty when he had time to make his throws. Unlike Fitz who looked horrid running the 2 min drill many times in his years in Buffalo.

Two words, confidence-experience, EJ had limited amounts of both last season, as he only played in 2 pre season games, and 10 regular season games. While going 4-6 for those regular season games, which is a better record that a lot of star QB's first years records.

Then EJ had a difficult time in an offense being run by a rookie OC, no QB coach or senior offensive assistant to help out. Things have changed for this year, and more assistants have been added on the offensive side to help all those young QB's.

My biggest concern with this years offense is WTH happened to the lock down LT in Glenn, and will the offense function better then it did last year. EJ is only one factor, and its important for the run game to be able to make some first downs when needed.