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EJ Manuel trained with Colin Kaepernick in offseason

There is little denial out of Western New York that quarterback EJ Manuel sits as the keystone to the Buffalo Bills' 2014 season.

Manuel's progress in his second season can either prop up a solid Bills squad in an average AFC East or be the reason the operation crumbles.

The 24-year-old signal-caller understands his improvement in making quick decisions is paramount to his development.

"The biggest thing for me was improving on situational football and being smarter," Manuel told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday morning.

Coming off multiple knee surgeries during his rookie season, Manuel said he feels "100 percent" after his offseason workouts.

"(I) worked out with Colin Kaepernick this offseason and just tried to follow his lead," Manuel said of how he improved in his time off.

Kaepernick is renown in NFL circles for his tenacious offseason work, so Manuel couldn't have picked a better workout mate.

When healthy during his rookie season, the 6-foot-4 Manuel was slow moving through his progressions and wasn't given charge of the full offense by coach Doug Marrone. Given that Kaepernick has experience moving from a limited playbook to the real deal in his three seasons, it's safe to assume the 49ers quarterback could give Manuel some pointers.

With a talented defense, solid receivers corps -- headlined by first-round pick Sammy Watkins -- and dynamic running game, the Bills, on paper, have the talent in most areas to surge up the standings in 2014. The key on the field (like always) will be the quarterback.

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