The former 1st-round pick will get one last chance to show the Bills, and the rest of the league that he is capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. Tyrod Taylor will miss his second straight game, giving E.J. Manuel his second start of the year on Sunday in London. Manuel has had an up and down career thus far, but has not been good enough to keep a starting job.
Almost every draft analyst concluded that the Bills were reaching by choosing Manuel 16th overall in the 2013 draft, which was very weak at quarterback. Immediately Buffalo decided to start Manuel, almost in a way of trying to prove to fans that the pick was justified, however Manuel was clearly not ready to be a starting quarterback. The Bills gave him another chance last year, but it took only four games before journeyman Kyle Orton stole the starting job. Again this year Manuel had more than a fair chance to win the starting job, however he lost to career back up Tyrod Taylor.
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Manuel had a chance to learn almost the entire season from veteran QB Kyle Orton. This year he has seen the player he could be in Tyrod Taylor, who creates space and make electrifying plays with his legs, and his arm downfield. You would think that after Manuel watched Taylor receive praise for letting the ball fly, not being hesitant, and using his instincts to make plays that Manuel would do the same. He should have realized that he had nothing to lose in his last start, so why not play like it. However, it was more of the same for the inconsistent Manuel. Although it seemed Taylor would be good to go this Sunday, luckily for Manuel he is not.
There have been some bright spots for Manuel on the field, however they have been few and far between. His play isn’t terrible, he doesn’t lose games, but he certainly does not win any for his team. His stats are just what you would expect, a 59% completion rating, an average 17:13 touchdown to interception ratio, but the number that sticks out is a meager 6.4 yards per completion. The knocks on Manuel by analysts is that he is far to inconsistent with accuracy, an inability to make decisions, and his reliance on the check downs. How many times have we seen Manuel throw a 5 yard pass to his check down on third and long? Manuel has got to be willing to throw the ball down the field, and throw with more accuracy.
The Bills took a gamble by getting rid of Matt Cassel, and keeping E.J. Manuel on the active roster. There have been reports that Manuel could in fact win the starting job with good play while Taylor is sidelined by injury. However, unless he changes his hesitant ways and shows he is not afraid to play all out with nothing to lose, he will be looking for a new team in the offseason. Manuel has a chance to prove himself yet again this weekend, and he better take advantage of it because you don’t get many chances to start at quarterback in the NFL.