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Doug Marrone on QB EJ Manuel: The kid is all right ... mostly

By Tim Graham

Doug Marrone could laugh about it Sunday afternoon. His rookie quarterback had just conducted a sharp game-winning drive, completing 75 percent of his throws for 51 yards and the dagger touchdown to Stevie Johnson.

But Marrone would've preferred not to trailing when that drive began.

Manuel's first two turnovers as a professional happened deep in Bills territory in the span of three plays. They gave the Carolina Panthers two field goals and a 20-14 fourth-quarter lead.

Marrone was asked about Manuel's resilience.

"Yeah, he keeps telling me, and it gets me upset, he keeps telling me, 'I'm all right,' " Marrone said. "He's asking me, like, he's turning around on me that I'm not all right. I'm all right. I've got the control. I'm making sure he's all right.

"If he's all right, then why is he making these decisions?"

Manuel was 27 of 39 for 296 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He also lost a fumble. He became the first rookie quarterback in the modern NFL to post a passer rating of at least 89.0 in his first two games.

Marrone described Manuel as a cool competitor who doesn't need to be ridden. That's not Marrone's style anyway.

"He's very relaxed," Marrone said. "So I'm, like, 'What did you see? Why'd you do that? That's not the read.' That's the type of way I go about it. I don't go out there screaming at them, 'You should know better!' This and that.

"Those are the mistakes, as I said early on, that we'll see. That happens. The turnovers are the one thing that we don't accept, and he understands that. He's in a good place mentally, knowing that he has a long way to go."


Doug Marrone | EJ Manuel | Stevie Johnson
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |