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EJ Manuel says film study of NFL's top quarterbacks has paid off

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PITTSFORD -- In reviewing film of the 2013 season, Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel didn't limit his study to his own tape.

"I watched Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Cam Newton -- quite a few guys," Manuel said today after practice at St. John Fisher College. "And Colin Kaepernick, who I worked out with, as well. That was just simply seeing what they do, good or bad. Whether they have a great game or bad game, I wanted to see how they would bounce back the following week. There wasn’t anything specifically that I was looking at technically as far as what they do, but I just wanted to see how they work week-in week-out. Those are some of the most successful quarterbacks in the league and I see a little bit of my game in each of those guys."

Manuel said the review has benefited him "tremendously."

"I think throws that I’ve started to make this year, at least attempted to make, are throws I wasn’t doing last year," he said. "Instead of being more cautious -- not that you’re being dangerous with the ball because you still want to take care of it -- but our receivers want to make plays. They want the opportunity to make a big catch. I think watching a guy Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, they cut it loose. They allow their receiver to go out and make a play and earn their money. That’s what I think I’ve started to do this past camp."

Manuel was asked whether he felt the Bills needed to open up the offense more by taking shots down field.

Yeah, I think so. I think we’ve done that these past couple weeks," he said. "I think we’re throwing the ball vertically down the field, hitting the seam, throwing the deep ball very well and the guys are doing a great job tracking the ball and catching it. The ball is not always perfect, so that’s what football is about. It’s a game. You’ve got to go out there and make plays and that’s what we’ve been doing."

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

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.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.