Buffalo Bills Quarterbacks Under More Pressure Than Ever to Succeed


The 2015 Buffalo Bills roster is shaping up to be one of the most complete and talented they’ve had in years. Unfortunately, there is still one major problem; the quarterback position.

Many analysts and fans alike will point to the acquisition of veteran Matt Cassel from the Vikings as an adequate short-term solution. While I don’t disagree with that sentiment, he will be under immense pressure to succeed this season as the presumed starter. Cassel is not a superstar by any means, but the prevailing thought is that he will beat out teammate EJ Manuel during training camp for the starting job. Based on the current makeup of the roster, there are no more excuses to be made for the sub-par quarterback play Bills fans have largely witnessed over the past 10+ years. GM Doug Whaley has been especially aggressive in acquiring offensive talent this offseason. He is making it clear that the Bills need to make the playoffs THIS year. Anything less should be considered a failure. Five key players have already been brought in to help this offense, including Cassell, and it is still yet to be seen what the Bills do in the draft.

Bills key offensive acquisitions this offseason

QB – Matt Cassel

OG – Richie Incognito

RB – LeSean McCoy

WR – Percy Harvin

TE – Charles Clay

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Say what you want about Kyle Orton, but he was as mentally collected under pressure as any quarterback in the league during the 2014 season. Not as physically gifted as the top-tier quarterbacks, Orton was still able to bring a calming presence to the huddle. Regardless of how that presence translated into actual execution of plays, having the same mindset from the quarterback position will be crucial for both Cassel and EJ Manuel this year.  Cassel has led a team to the playoffs on one occasion, when he threw 27 touchdowns versus only seven interceptions for the Chiefs in 2010. Since the 2010 campaign, he has thrown for 30 touchdowns vs. 34 interceptions, while only starting 26 games over the past four seasons. I do believe Cassel brings some of the poise and calmness that Orton possessed, however it is yet to be seen as to whether he can hold up under the pressure of starting for the Bills. He will almost assuredly be the reason, justified or not, as to whether the Bills DON’T make the playoffs should they fall short again.

On the other hand, Manuel is under a different kind of pressure. When the Bills traded for Cassel, it sent a clear message that the front office and coaching staff was not content with just handing him another shot at the job. All things equal, EJ will need to completely outshine Cassel during camp to win the starting job. Manuel may not have too many more opportunities to prove himself capable of being NFL starting quarterback material. Personally, I’d love to see EJ win the job, but it sounds as if most experts are already writing him off as a draft bust. Regardless of your stance on Cassel vs. Manuel, the starting quarterback for the 2015 Buffalo Bills will be under more pressure than almost every quarterback in the league to succeed.

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