EJ Manuel had some interesting comments recently comparing the Buffalo Bills' offense to Florida State's under Jimbo Fisher.
"The funny thing is it's easier to learn than the offense I had at Florida State," he told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "It's a true West Coast-type progression offense. That's really what I wanted when I was coming through the pre-draft process. I wanted something that I could just go in and say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, check it down and run it. That's it, it's that simple. I love it."
I have several thoughts on this.
First, it's an open secret that the relationship between Fisher and Manuel was rocky at best throughout his time in Tallahassee. That said, I'm not sure he is taking a shot here. He could just like Marrone's coaching style a lot more than he did Fisher's. I assume Marrone is not riding him in the first rookie mini-camp, and that's a good thing, because of Manuel's inability to take hard coaching. There are many who think Fisher took too long to identify that Manuel could not take hard coaching, which hampered his ability to absorb the offense early in his career.
What I am sure of, however, is that the playbook and offense were dumbed down and simplified for Manuel. FSU certainly wasn't adding a bunch of new wrinkles weekly for Manuel.
I think the real issue here is timing.
Specifically, Manuel is making this observation during a rookie mini-camp in which Buffalo is installing a fraction of its offense. Buffalo's individual plays are probably simpler than Florida State's. That is the nature of the West Coast offense. However, the total breadth and depth of the offense, specifically the sheer volume of plays in the West Coast offense's playbook, is exponentially more than what Florida State runs. Nobody runs a true NFL WCO in college because of the amount of practice time it would take to do so.
Still, it might be that the West Coast offense is a better fit for Manuel. Or it might not. We just cannot know that as of yet.
I won't touch the "run" comment, because I think Manuel running has everything to do with his willingness to run v. protecting his body and NFL future, and he may now be willing to do so. When at FSU, I had reason to question his willingness to run.
One constant for Manuel, however, is his willingness to put in the time. He did it at Florida State, and I assume he'll do it in the NFL. And I think Manuel will greatly benefit from focusing on football for 100 hours weekly in the NFL as opposed to ~40 in college (20 hours of allowed practice, plus another 20 on his own).
What is the true impact of the comments? Probably very little.
Those who think Jimbo Fisher should give up the offensive coordinator duties will use it as fodder.
Fisher will use the latter portions of the comments (see below) to show how prepared his quarterbacks are for the NFL.
"I've done great. The learning curve for me is a lot shorter simply because of what I had at Florida State. [The Seminoles' offense is] more complex and a little bit harder to catch on and learn. This offense is very simple. I've done a great job with it," he said in the interview.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section.