Tommy Kelly: EJ Manuel is no Michael Vick
|09.05.13 at 1:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots defensive lineman Tommy Kelly knows EJ Manuel is a quarterback who can run if he’s forced out of the pocket. But he’s not ready to take that next step and say the Bills rookie signal caller is the next Michael Vick.
“He runs a little bit but he tries to stay in that pocket,” Kelly said Thursday of the Florida State product. “He tries to stay in that pocket and get that ball out of his hands. He’ll run when necessary. But to say he’s like Michael Vick, nah. But he’ll run, he’s definitely a threat.”
Manuel attempted 33 passes in two preseason games, completing 26 for 199 yards and two touchdowns. He ran just four times for 29 yards, including a scramble for 24 yards.
Asked if he and the Patriots defensive line is looking forward to getting after a rookie quarterback, Kelly said he’s just looking to get after the passer, period.
“My eyes light up any time I get to play and get the chance to hit the quarterback,” Kelly said. “So, it really doesn’t matter who’s in there. We just have to do our job and stay in our lanes and try to collapse the pocket on either one, EJ or Jeff Tuel.”
Kelly will be playing with rookies of his own on the D-line, in Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, both undrafted.
“Keep it simple, keep it real simple,” Kelly said. “Don’t try and do too much. Just [get] hat and hands on everybody until you get a good read on them and then you try your moves on them. I just tell Joe and A.J. just keep it simple. It’s football at the end of the day, just a little bit faster.
“I have to say a little bit because they’re rookies and I don’t want to throw them off and intimidate them.”
Kelly will be playing for the first time with second-year stars Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower.
“The sky is the limit for both of them,” Kelly said. “Both of them have unlimited talent. Chandler as a pass rusher. Dont’a can do anything, play MIKE, outside linebacker, he’s a very versatile player. They just have to keep working and not get big heads, they’ll be just fine.”
“You know [they will] because Bill [Belichick] is going to keep the foot on your neck anyways.”