Breaking Down The Quarterbacks: EJ Manuel


The Buffalo Bills have some interesting position battles this year, but none is more intriguing than the quarterback group.

Quarterback is the most important position in the game, and it’s hard for a team to find long-term success without a reliable man under center. With three veteran’s fighting for the starting job, it’s possible the Bills already have their long-term option on the roster.

Out of the three quarterbacks vying for the starting job – EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel and Tyrod TaylorManuel is probably the best place to start considering he’s the incumbent, sort of.

In his two seasons in the league, Manuel has accumulated an 6-8 record as a starting quarterback with a 58.6-career completion percentage totaling 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. These are not staggering numbers by any means, but they’re not horrid, either.

Manuel’s two nagging critiques during his time in Buffalo have been his lack of accuracy at times and his indecisiveness and hesitance. Each played a major role in his demotion after four games last season. While the idea of benching the Manuel for Kyle Orton seemed like the less-appealing option at the time, it was probably the correct decision in the long run.

Manuel’s time on the bench gave him the opportunity to reflect on his game and career up to that point. It also allowed him to spend time working on his craft without having to prepare on a week-to-week basis like he would have if he was the starter.

If Manuel made the most of his time on the bench and was able to fix his accuracy and hesitancy problems, he has the potential to be an intriguing option this season. But the key word is “potential”.

“I just want to be able to compete, let it be open, and at the end of the day the best man will play.”

– EJ Manuel

And if anything, a change in head coach during the off-season was the best thing that could have happened to Manuel. A new set of eyes and a new offensive playbook and system could rejuvenate the third-year pro’s career.

"“I was impressed—for instance, he saw a guy, he looked over the field and made a great throw down the field. Clearly, to me, it shows he can see the field. That’s impressive to me. There was no question about it mentally. He was sharp. That part I was impressed with, with EJ.”-Rex Ryan"

There’s no arguing that the Florida State graduate has the physical tools to be a successful quarterback in this league. Manuel just has to put it together mentally. According to Bills Insider Chris Brown, Rex Ryan’s practice atmosphere has allowed Manuel to let it rip in OTAs so far. This should be music to Bills fans’ ears.

"“There’s not a lot of pressure or anything like that,” Manuel said. “What I mean is we can just go out there and make plays, instead of trying to force things to happen and what not. If it’s a bad play let’s move on to the next one. I think that’s the kind of mindset we need to have as a team.”– EJ Manuel"

Look for Manuel to be the favorite to win the job heading into the last week of OTAs and training camp, but it’s still anyone’s spot to take.

"“I know (Bills fans) haven’t seen what I have to offer,” Manuel said. “I think that’s the most exciting part. That’s why I enjoy coming in to work every morning… I was really happy with how I played in minicamp, and how I’ve been doing these past weeks since then. I’m excited. I’m just excited. It’s obviously more important to show it, and that’s what I’d rather do – I’d rather show it than just sit here and talk about it.”– EJ Manuel"