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Nathaniel Hackett on EJ: I never want him to be Johnny Checkdown

By Mark Gaughan

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett wants rookie quarterback EJ Manuel to protect his body when he runs outside the pocket. But Hackett isn't blaming Manuel for scrambling down the sideline on the play in which he injured his knee last week in Cleveland.

Hackett was asked by The News today about his perspective on the play on which Manuel was hurt:

"We look at it as when you’re in the red zone and you break free, we always want you to make a play. I never want him to be Johnny Checkdown. Never want him to be Johnny Slide, or whatever it is. You always want your quarterback to be making plays, and I think that’s where his mind was. I think if that guy was right there, right in his vision, I think he would have gone out of bounds. I think he would have slid. Obviously, he always needs to get better at that. You never want him to be overconfident. But you never want to hold a guy back from making a play"

Manuel made an elite play by escaping what looked like a sure sack and running for a first down. He was hit in the knee a few yards beyond the first-down marker. Manuel is out for what could be four to six weeks.

"That was awesome. He did a great job," Hackett said of Manuel avoiding the rush. "He went around the corner and he was trying to score. He didn’t see anybody. I think that guy snuck up on him. It happens."

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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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