Bills Bench QB E.J. Manuel For Kyle Orton
The E.J. Manuel era might be over before it ever really began. Per reports, the Buffalo Bills are mailing it in on their second-year quarterback, and will be benching Manuel in favor of veteran backup, Kyle Orton.
Manuel continued his struggles in week four, as he completed just over 47% of his passes and tossed two costly interceptions in a second straight loss. Manuel was said to be cleverly “hidden” early in the first two weeks thanks to Buffalo’s defense and rushing attack, but was then subsequently “exposed” over the past two weeks.
Buffalo struggled on offense during that time and have dropped their last two games, sitting at 2-2 as they prepare for week five.
Kyle Orton to the Rescue?
The 31-year old Orton looked to be just about done as a member of the Dallas Cowboys a year ago, while there was talk all summer that he was ready to call it a career. That plan got derailed when the Bills handed him a fat two-year deal to backup (and potentially eventually start over) Manuel. Just four weeks into the new season, and taking over is exactly what Orton will be doing.
This could work due to Orton being a naturally more comfortable pocket passer, while he also has displayed solid accuracy and timing throughout his career. With that being said, Orton hasn’t ever been regarded as anything close to an elite passer and has never been a quarterback that won a ton of games. Assuming Orton can just come in and dominate and/or save Buffalo’s season might be a tad silly.
Was This the Right Move?
Whether or not an aging Orton is a better option than a raw Manuel is definitely open for debate, but the more important question might be if this was really needed. After all, the Bills did start the season off at 2-0 and Manuel’s two bad games came against what looks to be a good Chargers team on the road, while week four brought a six-point loss to a good Texans defense.
Both the Chargers and Texans now sit at 3-1 and in hindsight, really don’t look like bad losses on paper. There’s no doubt Manuel has issues with pocket presence, accuracy and decision-making, but was he really so bad that he deserved just four starts and a yanking after a 2-2 start?
Either side taken is an opinion, but soon the facts will come out as to whether or not it was the right move. Orton gets to prove the call right or wrong right away in week five, when the Bills take on the Detroit Lions.
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