Mark Gaughan of buffalonews.com reports that Manuel's numbers were not earth shattering, keeping in mind that EJM missed some of the season due to two knee surgeries. Manuel completed 58.8% of his passes throwing for 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions in 10 games played.
The numbers are not as important as how a rookie QB grows and matures into the player he is destined to be and the steps and progress he shows on the field that will take him there. EJM has shown throughout the season that he is making the necessary progress. Whether it is hitting wide receiver Robert Woods deep against a cover-2 defense employed by Atlanta or diligently studying film comparing the New England Patriots from the first game of the season when Manuel played to the final game of the season in a contest he did not play. This shows maturation that he can build on for next season.
The Bills' organization think EJM will develop into an elite QB and they saw enough progression this year making them believers that Manuel is headed in the right direction. Bills offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, had this to say about his soon to be second-year QB:
I think right now, he’s done a nice job, he’s progressed when he’s gotten a couple of games in a row. When it’s just coming off that injury, that’s when he’s kind of not been what we wanted. But it’s a difficult thing, especially for a rookie to come off that stuff. I think when it comes to the physical aspect of this game, I think that he’s got it down; I think he’s going to be good. I think he needs to continue to get in shape, understand that this is his first season. He’s a 10-game-old now, so we’re going to slowly get that up. He’s got to do more, obviously. He’s got to work harder. But I mean, half the time, we’re just trying to get his body [mechanics] right.The Bills think they know that Manuel has, as Bills General Manager, Doug Whaley put it, "the right stuff."
Only time will tell if the Bills are correct and how far the buffalo roam is as far as Manuel can guide them.
You can follow me on twitter @JAFOScottRyan