Bills GM: EJ Manuel knows he needs to 'step up'

After plenty of friction with his last head coach, Bills general manager Doug Whaley is excited about Buffalo's new hire.

Whaley told scribes at the Senior Bowl that he and Rex Ryan are "aligned" in their roster-building plans. It's a welcome departure after two seasons of clashing with the departed Doug Marrone over everything from the quarterback position to the drafting of Sammy Watkins.

"If we're talking about how we want to build this team, he can finish my sentence, I can finish his because it's the same philosophy," Whaley said, per The Buffalo News. "And it's a philosophy, I think especially in our division, and where we play, that represents not only the fan base, but the community and the region as a whole. And that's tough, physical bullies that are going to impose their will on another team. That's just what I subscribe to."

The shared vision between Whaley and Ryan is critical under center, where the team must decide what to do with young EJ Manuel. The Buffalo News reported that Whaley repeatedly brought up his hand-picked quarterback during coaching interviews to tell candidates they needed to develop the first-rounder.

Ryan, however, told reporters last week that Buffalo's quarterback situation is "unresolved," a scenario he certainly can sniff out after years without a bona fide starter in New York.

Suspicions that Whaley might force Manuel down Ryan's throat are subsiding after the general manager's admission that "it's a two-way street" for the quarterback:

"We have to give (Manuel) a fair enough shake to show his wares in game situations, but he's also got to make that step," Whaley said. "And this is that third year. And he knows it. He knows that this is the chance where he's got to basically step up or he's probably not going to be a starting quarterback in this league."

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