Bills' EJ Manuel hopes to start again

ByMike Rodak ESPN logo
Thursday, October 2, 2014

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- After being benched Monday in favor of Kyle Orton, Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel made it clear Thursday how he wants to play if he gets another chance to start.

"When I am out there, I want to be a different player," Manuel said. "I just want to cut it loose, man, not hold myself back. Not to say I was, but I think at certain points in your career, in your manhood, you just open up and let it rip.

"You don't worry about the repercussions. If something happens, at least you went down guns loaded, or guns blown, whatever. You just go out there and let it rip. That's what I've been practicing out there this week, against our defense, so just allowing myself to go out and make plays naturally."

Of recent quarterbacks selected in the first round who have been benched, few have recovered to again become NFL starters. Manuel, who was selected 16th overall in 2013, wants to buck that trend.

"Maybe I can be the first," Manuel said. "Who knows."

Manuel didn't divulge specifics from his conversation with coach Doug Marrone about why he was benched, but he identified some areas where he could improve from his play over the first 14 games of his career.

"When this happened, obviously I was upset and frustrated. But at the same time, be a man, be a pro. I kicked up my work ethic even more," Manuel said. "Be more consistent with everything: how the ball is coming out of my hands, my enunciation in the huddle, all those types of things."

Some players in the Bills' locker room were surprised by the switch at quarterback this week, but rookie receiver Sammy Watkins said Wednesday that Orton was already impressing with his command of the huddle and a quick release.

Manuel said Orton has been supportive of him this week.

"I think it's about the team. The team is bigger than I am," Manuel said. "Whatever [Marrone] feels is best to help this team, we'll go with it."

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