The Buffalo Bills saw better quarterback play than they could ever imagine in 2015. Will the Bills quarterbacks be better in 2016?
In 2015, the Bills headed into camp with a three-way battle for quarterback. Matt Cassel, E.J. Manuel, and Tyrod Taylor all had an equal opportunity to seize the role. Cassel and Manuel failed to impress and Tyrod Taylor went on to win the job on his way to an impressive season which ended up with him playing in the Pro Bowl.
Not many would have guessed before the season started that a Bills quarterback playing in the Pro Bowl was even a possibility. The Bills overachieved at quarterback last year. Is it possible they could do even better this year?
My answer is YES and there are several reasons why. 34-year-old Matt Cassel if off the roster. He proved last season in camp for the Bills and then on the Cowboys, when he was benched for Kellen Moore of all people, that he is not a capable starter in the NFL.
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Instead, the Bills have a very raw prospect named Cardale Jones from Ohio State on the roster. While he is definitely a project, he has a cannon of an arm, has proved himself a winner at the highest levels in college and rose to the occasion in big games. He is a major improvement over Cassel due to his potential even if he never turns out to maximize it.
Next, we have the man who Bills fans love to hate. E.J. Manuel. We’ve all seen the worst of E.J. such as the first half of Jaguars game in London last year. However, he has shown promise at times in small spurts like the second half of that game where he actually brought the team back to take the lead before they eventually lost.
I don’t expect E.J. Manuel to be any better or any worse this season than last. He is an inconsistent player who is capable of playing pretty well at times while at other times leaving you wondering if he is looking at the same field as you when making passes. He’ll continually be what he has always been but that’s not any worse than last year.
Lastly, we get to the star of the show. The Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor had one of the best seasons a Bills quarterback had in a long time. Taylor completed 242 passes for 3,034 yards for an average of 7.99 yards per pass which was 5th best in the league for quarterbacks who qualify according to ESPN.com.
He didn’t make many costly mistakes throwing only 6 interceptions while throwing for 20 touchdowns in the 14 games he played. He also added 568 rushing yards on 104 attempts which is a 5.5 yard average. He was able to use his speed to extend drives which was huge for the Bills in many games. His 99.4 QB rating was 7th best in the league.
Those stats are pretty impressive but Tyrod Taylor will do better than them this year. He is coming into his first training camp where he is the starter and will get all the first-team reps. He has a season of experience under his belt both as a starter and in Greg Roman’s offense.
He built chemistry with his receivers throughout the year last season and the results between him and Watkins were evident Week 17 against the Jets.
He has worked hard on throwing the ball over the middle which was the one area of the field he did not throw enough balls to. If Taylor can stay healthy, which is the big question with him, he will also get two more games worth of stats.
If the rest of the Bills offense can stay healthy too, (Watkins, McCoy, K. Williams, Harvin and more all missed time last year) you will see Tyrod become the first Bills quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards since Drew Bledsoe threw for 4,359 in the 2002 season.
The 2016 Buffalo Bills quarterbacks will definitely be better than last year’s group.