Posts Tagged ‘EJ Manuel’

Preview: Jets (1-1) vs. Buffalo Bills (1-1)

Friday, September 20th, 2013

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – After a solid preseason debut, Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel got a congratulatory text message from a childhood friend and fellow rookie – Geno Smith.

Santonio Holmes' message to the other Jets receivers.."Catch the ball!" (JetsInsider.com Photo)

The two young starters met at football camp in high school and stayed in touch throughout college and during the draft process, where they were the top two quarterbacks taken.

On Sunday, they will be competitors and division rivals, as the Bills (1-1) travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the Jets (1-1) in a pivotal early season matchup.

“We’ll both be competing against each other,” said Manuel. “I want to win just as bad as he does.”

The two times the Jets and Buffalo Bills faced off last season were something of a Jekyll and Hyde story for the guys in green.

In bookending games against Buffalo, Week 1 and Week 17, Mark Sanchez threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-28 win, but after 14 games that included the buttfumble and a brief benching, he closed the season with a two fumble, one interception performance in a 28-9 loss.

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, 4:25 p.m. EST (TV – CBS, Radio – ESPN NY, 98.7 FM)

WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

INJURY REPORT (as of Thursday):

Jets: Kendrick Ellis (back) limited, Willie Colon (knee) full practice, Oday Aboushi (knee) limited, Quinton Coples (ankle) limited, Antonio Cromartie (hip) full practice, Clyde Gates (knee) full practice, Stephen Hill (knee) full practice, Santonio Holmes (foot) did not practice, Austin Howard (ribs) full practice, Jeremy Kerley (concussion) full practice, Garrett McIntyre (knee) full practice, Bilal Powell (illness) full practice, Sheldon Richardson (shoulder) limited, Geno Smith (ankle) full practice,Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) full practice, Kellen Winslow (knee) limited

Bills: Doug Legursky (knee) limited, Jairus Byrd (foot) limited, Ron Brooks (foot) did not practice, Stephon Gilmore (wrist) did not practice, Marquise Goodwin (hand) did not practice, Dustin Hopkins (right groin) did not practice

WHAT TO WHAT FOR:

Fantasy stoppers: In consecutive weeks, the Jets defense shut down two notable fantasy running backs in Doug Martin (65 yards) and Steven Ridley (40 yards). Next up: CJ Spiller. In two games this season, Spiller has averaged 4.4 yards a carry, including a 104 yard performance against an improved Carolina front seven. The Jets defense, however, has allowed an average of 59.5 rushing yards per game and is ranked third in the league by Football Outsiders based on Value Over Average. Football Outsiders also ranked the defensive line as fourth best and second-year defensive tackle Damon Harrison has the second best run stop percentage in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Let’s see if the Jets can make fantasy owners unhappy for a third week in a row.

Rex vs. the Rook: On Wednesday, Ryan confirmed that the Jets were very impressed with EJ Manuel before the draft in April but don’t expect him to go easy on the rookie once the game starts. “Maybe a little bit,” Ryan said, playing coy when asked if he was excited to face a rookie. “I’d much rather face a rookie quarterback than Tom Brady.” After facing Brady a week ago, look for Rex to really try and create problems for the inexperienced Manuel.

Old ties: If you happen to glance at the Bills sideline on Sunday you might see a familiar face in former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. He left for Buffalo in the off season and has undoubtedly been giving Bills players tips wherever he can, not to mention the fact that he essentially runs the same defense as Ryan. “It’s out of the same book,” Ryan said on Wednesday, referring to similarities between Pettine’s defense and his own. Ryan also took some playful shots at his friend and former colleague: “Obviously, I’ll look better than Pettite,” he said. “In fact, I might weigh less than him now. I’m just throwing it out there.”

X-Factor:

Catch the ball: The performance of the Jets pass catchers might as well be the x-factor for the rest of the season. The defense will always be competitive, the offensive line and running game look to be improved and, as a rookie, Smith will have his ups and downs. But the team won’t win very many games if the receivers can’t hold on to the ball. Against the Patriots, they dropped six passes, including a touchdown. When asked if he had any pointers for the Jets wide receivers, Santonio Holmes said, “Yeah, catch the ball.”

Prediction: The defense will do enough to contain Spiller and Manuel and the return of Jeremy Kerley (concussion) will help Geno and the Jets offense to edge out a win against the Bills, 23-17.

Jets were interested in EJ Manuel before draft

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The Jets chose Geno Smith as the quarterback of the future – but they almost went with EJ Manuel.

Florham Park, NJ – Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel could’ve been a New York Jet.

In fact, he expected to be.

“Definitely,” Manuel said, when asked if he thought the Jets might draft him.

“I did think they were one of the teams that were very interested in me. I guess they just wanted to wait and go with a quarterback with their second round pick instead of their first two.”

That’s exactly what happened, as the Jets passed on Manuel with the ninth and 13th overall selections, allowing the Bills to nab him with the 16th pick. The Jets and new general manager John Idzik then snatched current starting quarterback Geno Smith with the seventh pick in the second round.

But that doesn’t mean the Jets weren’t interested in Manuel as well, bringing him in on one of their 30 out-of-town player visits before the draft.

“I had quite a bit [of contact with the Jets]. I met with coach [Rex] Ryan and a lot of their staff. I went up to the facility for a visit and I liked it a lot up there,” said Manuel. “I thought [the coaches] liked me a lot, and it just so happens that they didn’t choose me.”

In reality, the Jets didn’t pass on Manuel as much as the Bills pounced on him earlier than anyone expected.

Heading into last April’s NFL draft, the 6 foot 4, 237 pound senior out of Florida State was considered a second-round talent at best, that is, until the Bills shocked much of the football world taking him in the top half of the first round.

After two games, that move seems to have paid off for the Bills.

Ryan and the Jets will get their first hack at trying and stop Manuel and a young Bills offense on Sunday. An offense that took the New England Patriots down to the wire, mounted a comeback win over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers and is ranked 10th in the league in Value Over Average by Football Outsiders.

On Wednesday, head coach Rex Ryan compared Manuel’s size and ability to Newton, a former No. 1 overall pick.

“I remember looking at Cam Newton once and thinking, ‘who is going to tackle him?’” said Ryan. “You kind of look at EJ Manuel the same way.”

It’s far too early, however, for the Jets to second-guess themselves for passing up on Manuel in the first. Especially when Smith has shown flashes of competency with much less talent around him —  and came almost a full round cheaper.

Nevertheless, the division rival Jets and Bills, and the futures of their rookie quarterbacks, seem to be linked for the foreseeable future.

“We definitely did our due diligence on [Manuel],” Ryan confirmed on Wednesday. “He was an outstanding young man, very impressive, no doubt … you can see why Buffalo is excited about him. He certainly was a guy we were looking at.”