The job of a rookie quarterback was never what you'd call easy. But the sudden, meteoric splash of young talents like Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have meant that for new QBs, the learning curve is a ten-foot-high wall, and patience with their development is nonexistent. So it's got to warm the chilled hearts of Bills fans to hear that their latest prize acquisition, rookie E.J. Manuel, is acclimating well to the team's new offense under Doug Marrone and OC Nathaniel Hackett.
“The funny thing is it's easier to learn than the offense I had at Florida State,” Manuel said on SiriusXM. “It's a true West Coast-type progression offense. That's really what I wanted when I was coming through the pre-draft process. I wanted something that I could just go in and say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, check it down and run it. That's it, it's that simple. I love it."
Now, the way that Manuel related it, the Bills' playbook sounds only slightly more complex than the "everybody get open" method of Thanksgiving Day football. We're betting there's a bit more to it than that. Still, Manuel is doubling down on the idea that he's got this thing knocked.
“The learning curve for me is a lot shorter simply because of what I had at Florida State," Manuel continued. "[FSU's offense is] more complex and a little bit harder to catch on and learn. This offense is very simple. I've done a great job with it.” Confidence, right?
Of course, understanding the playbook is only half the battle, if that much. Execution is key, and that's where Manuel will need to step up. As our own Doug Farrar wrote in previewing Manuel for the draft, "There are questions about his on-field decision-making ability, his ability to read defenses at an advanced level, how well he throws under pressure, and how able he is to throw with a sense of anticipation." Knowing what you have to do and actually doing it are two very different tasks, and perhaps it's to Manuel's benefit that he can get the sequence of plays in mind quickly in order to focus on, you know, actually running those plays.
Now, the Hot Sports Take here would be oh, the Bills offense is easier than a college one so the Bills must be worse than a college team!!! Wrong. Complexity is not necessarily a sign of genius, and simplicity does not necessarily equal simplemindedness. And yes, the Bills would destroy Florida State or any other ACC team they played.
SEC? Totally different story. Buffalo would be lucky to finish third in the SEC East.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
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