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Nathaniel Hackett: E.J. Manuel has to work on everything

EJ Manuel

Buffalo Bills’ EJ Manuel runs a drill during an optional NFL workout in Orchard Park, N.Y., Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/David Duprey)


In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio last weekend, Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel said that he found the Bills offense was easier to learn than the one he was in at Florida State and he’s picking it up quickly as a result.

If that’s the case, it’s the one thing Manuel can rest easy about when it comes to his transition to the NFL. Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t address that claim directly on Tuesday when he spoke to reporters, but he did make it clear that he thinks Manuel has plenty of work to do in order to get himself ready to play at the professional level.

“Everything,” Hackett said, via the team’s website. “He’s a young man that’s got to work on a lot of things from footwork to progressions to plays to formations, everything. Defenses in the NFL are obviously a little different. He’s got to work on that too. He’s got to work on everything.”

There’s no great reason for concern about Hackett’s assessment of the first-round pick nor are Hackett’s thoughts reason to suspect Manuel won’t be the starter this year. You wouldn’t expect any player to come from the college ranks as a finished product, especially not a quarterback who is going to be dealing with faster defenses capable of showing more looks than he was exposed to before coming to the NFL. You’d expect even less to hear one of his coaches say that all was well before a significant time has been spent working with the rookie.

If Hackett’s saying the same things about Manuel in August, there will be more of an impact but, for now, it sounds like Manuel’s pretty much where he’s supposed to be in his progression to the NFL game.