When Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley made a bold draft day move to go get Sammy Watkins, many said his decision to give up a first round pick in the 2015 draft was basically doubling down on EJ Manuel.
Perhaps the G-M has essentially tied his own future to the success or failure of Manuel, so Whaley is closely following his QB’s progress in year number two.
Whaley was a guest on the WGR morning show on Wednesday and the scout in him came out when Whaley was asked about what he’s been looking for from Manuel during practices and games.
“When you have a quarterback you want a guy that is decisive and not only with his decision making on the field, but with his decision making even when he is spitting out an offensive play” Whaley said. “A guy that can command the huddle and has a presence around him, which we saw at Florida State. That’s something we’re looking for and we’re starting to see it. A guy who looks comfortable and has a presence about him as far as the whole essence of being a quarterback.”
Whaley said Manuel is a perfectionist and at times they have to tell him not to worry about being perfect and to “just be a football player”. Whaley added that he has seen some differences in Manuel this summer as opposed to the rookie QB he watched last season. The Bills GM cited last Saturday’s game in Pittsburgh and an attempted pass for Scott Chandler that was picked off as one example.
“He wouldn’t have made that throw last year. He wouldn’t have tried to fit that into a hole so we’re okay with that” Whaley said. “He’s so hard on himself that he doesn’t want to make a mistake, that sometimes he doesn’t take the patience and let a play develop. ‘Oh its not there, let me dump it off.’ Take a second and let the play develop.”
Whaley also talked about the offensive line and said he wasn’t surprised at how well rookie tackle Seantrel Henderson has fared so far. Whaley said Henderson, who has been the number one right tackle in practices this week, would have been a first round pick had it not been for off field issues while at the University of Miami.
While Henderson was taken in the seventh round, the Bills used a second round selection on fellow tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. As opposed to Henderson who is flourishing, Kouandjio has had his fair share of struggles.
“It’s a realization that we thought the transition from left to right was going to be a little bit easier for him and its going to take some time. When he uses the proper technique, he’s fine but when he gets overanxious and he’s not comfortable, he abandons his technique and that’s when he gets into trouble.”
You can hear the entire interview with Whaley and hear what he had to say about Sammy Watkins, CJ Spiller’s contract/future, the possibility of a Marcell Dareus suspension and his scouting plans for the upcoming college season: