2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bills' Manuel, Jets' Smith ready for showdown

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-18 18:29

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - EJ Manuel and Geno Smith were two guys with big arms and even bigger dreams when they first met at a football camp in South Florida a few years ago.

They kept in touch with occasional text messages through high school and then college, where Manuel starred at Florida State and Smith at West Virginia. By the time the draft rolled around in April, both quarterbacks were considered first-round possibilities.

Manuel went to Buffalo at No. 16, a bit higher than some projected.

Smith, once mentioned as a possible No. 1 pick, slid all the way to the Jets in the second round at No. 39.

``I stood up,'' Smith recalled Wednesday of his reaction when Manuel was drafted before him. ``I congratulated him and that was it. I was happy for him. I was happy for every single guy that got drafted.''

Smith, however, went through the embarrassment of having television cameras focused on him as each pick was made in the first round - without hearing his name.

``I'm past that now,'' Smith said. ``I hate to talk about it because I'm focusing on what we have here, which is a great opportunity, (a) good team and we've got a tough matchup coming up on Sunday.''

That's when the attention will again be on the first two quarterbacks drafted, when the Bills (1-1) and Jets (1-1) square off. It's the 106th game in the series, and the first featuring a pair of rookie starting quarterbacks.

``To be compared to EJ, I'll take it,'' Smith said. ``EJ's a great guy. He's accomplished a bunch in his career and I think the world of him. He's also my good friend, so it's good to compete against a guy like that.

``But when it comes down to Sunday, there are no friends on the field. We're out there competing for our teams and that's all there really is to it.''

Both Manuel and Smith have already led their teams to fourth-quarter comeback victories and are considered the potential future of their respective franchises. Sunday's game also will put the winner in a respectable position in the AFC East at 1-1, while the loser will fall to 0-2 in the division.

``We know this is a huge game for us,'' Manuel said. ``One, it's on the road, and, two, it's a divisional game and it's definitely a game we need to win. We both lost to the Patriots and early on you don't want to get behind in the season.

``It just adds even more urgency to this game.''

Both quarterbacks were heavily scouted by the Bills and Jets during the draft evaluation process.

``You notice the physical (size), when he walks in the door he fills up that doorway,'' Jets coach Rex Ryan said of the 6-foot-4, 237-pound Manuel. ``He was really a tremendous person and you can see why Buffalo's excited about him.''

Manuel's ability to come through in the clutch was evident last week when he connected with Stevie Johnson on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 2 seconds left to lead Buffalo past Carolina 24-23. It capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive as Manuel became the fifth quarterback in NFL history since 1960 to record a fourth-quarter comeback in either the first or second game of his career.

The fourth quarterback? Well, that was Smith, who did it in the season opener while leading the Jets to the winning field goal with 2 seconds left in an 18-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

``He's always been able to make every throw, he's always had a high level of accuracy,'' Bills coach Doug Marrone said of Smith. ``I see him going through progressions and I see him talking with protection. You're seeing that he's developing into a fine quarterback. He's going to create some challenges for our defense.''

Smith was the first quarterback to overcome a deficit of at least nine points in his NFL debut since St. Louis' Ryan Fitzpatrick did it against Houston in 2005. Meanwhile, Manuel is the first quarterback since 1960 to post a passer rating of 89.0 in each of the first two games of his rookie season.

Both the Bills and Jets fell just short against New England: Buffalo was edged 23-21 in Week 1, and New York dropped last Thursday's game 13-10. Manuel was solid against the Patriots, going an efficient 18 of 27 for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Smith threw three fourth-quarter interceptions at New England.

``Both players were poised, I thought,'' Ryan said. ``I'm not lumping them together, but EJ was impressive. I thought Geno was for the most part, as well.''

As for trying to prove whether the Bills or Jets got the better quarterback, both Manuel and Smith insist that can be for everyone else to debate.

``No, I think that mindset would be selfish,'' Smith said. ``It's about this team. It's about all of us going out there and getting a win for each other.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Zach MettenbergerOct 21 04:18p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) will start at quarterback when he's healthy, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. QB Charlie Whitehurst has filled in for Locker twice this [ More ]

Bene BenwikereOct 21 04:13p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle) will return as the starting nickel cornerback when he's back from his injury, according to head coach Ron Rivera. If Benwikere can't play [ More ]

Martavis BryantOct 21 04:06p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant cut into WR Markus Wheaton's workload in Week 7 against the Houston Texans, and QB Ben Roethlisberger took three 'shot' plays down the field [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 21 04:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington had 88 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving in Week 7, and only four players in franchise history since 1960 to have more yards [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Donald BrownOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Michael SamOct 21 03:33p

The Dallas Cowboys cut DE Michael Sam from the team's practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Charles GodfreyOct 21 03:13p

The Carolina Panthers released CB Charles Godfrey Tuesday, Oct 21.

LaRon ByrdOct 21 02:33p

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent WR LaRon Byrd (Cowboys) and re-signed DT Deandre Coleman Tuesday, Oct. 21.

R. Griffin IIIOct 21 02:13p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will not be ruled out for Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, but he has a long way to go in order [ More ]

Brian HoyerOct 21 02:13p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could see some action in Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, according to head coach Mike Pettine. However, Pettine said Monday, Oct. 20, that [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 21 02:13p

The Buffalo Bills placed RB C.J. Spiller (collarbone) on short-term Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Ray RiceOct 21 01:33p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) will have the appeal of his indefinite suspension from the NFL heard Nov. 5-6, according to media reports. A decision on whether commissioner Roger [ More ]

Jason KelceOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles C David Molk will remain the center for now, with C Jason Kelce (hernia) nearing a return from his injury.

Shamarko ThomasOct 21 01:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and SS Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) 'have a pretty good chance' of returning in Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

Darren SprolesOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles (knee) returned to practice Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Phillip TannerOct 21 01:13p

The Buffalo Bills are signing free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Cowboys) Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Calvin JohnsonOct 21 01:13p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) said he is back to running Tuesday, Oct. 21. Johnson sat out in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints and appears to [ More ]

Terrelle PryorOct 21 01:13p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor (Seahawks) is working out for the New York Giants Tuesday, Oct. 21, according to a person familiar with the workouts. It appears as though Pryor [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 12:53p

Updating previous reports, Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne's (elbow) injury isn't believed to be serious, but it could cause him to miss a game or two, according to a [ More ]

Phil TaylorOct 21 12:23p

Cleveland Browns DE Phil Taylor (knee) is expected to miss his third straight game in Week 8 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Oct. 8.

A.J. GreenOct 21 12:12p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said his return from a toe injury is 'still up in the air' heading into Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Green [ More ]

Le'Veon BellOct 21 12:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell became the first running back in team history to start the year with seven straight games of 100 yards of total offense. Bell ran [ More ]

Antonio AndrewsOct 21 11:03a

Tennessee Titans RB Antonio Andrews was promoted to the 53-man roster Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Dwayne AllenOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) said he is still working his way back to pre-injury form, but he looks a lot better than he did in training camp, [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) could miss time with his elbow injury. Beat writer Stephen Holder tweeted that he isn't receiving good vibes from the situation, but it [ More ]

Terrance WestOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West was benched Sunday, Oct. 19, after failing to pick up a first down in two short-yardage situations. He had room to run on both [ More ]

Ben TateOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West were held to 69 yards on 33 carries in Week 7, and head coach Mike Pettine suggested a change [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 21 08:53a

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks due to a shoulder injury, according to sources.

Trindon HollidayOct 21 08:23a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent WR Trindon Holliday (Giants) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Tharold SimonOct 20 11:04p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (ankle) and CB Byron Maxwell (calf) may be able to play in Week 7, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

A.J. GreenOct 20 10:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he will play Sunday, Oct. 26, against the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group