The offseason and preseason was about finding who among three quarterbacks is the right one for the Buffalo Bills. Tyrod Taylor beat out Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel for the job. Cassel got traded, Manuel remained the backup and is now filling in for the injured Taylor.
Was it a mistake? Manuel hasn’t impressed in his time with the Bills, being a first round pick (16th overall) in 2013. He has never been the most accurate of quarterbacks (59.3% completion ratio) and struggles when his primary receiving target is covered. He rarely creates anything with his feet, and yet the Bills preferred him over the much more experienced Cassel, mostly because of an age thing.
While Manuel was just a backup, questioning the decision wasn’t an issue. Taylor was doing well and causing opponents problems with his dual threat abilities, and even pulling the Bills to a win on his own against the Titans, although it did cost him and his team his presence on the field. Manuel started against the Cincinnati Bengals and looked the same way he always has, throwing one touchdown pass and one interception, and overall looking like someone who doesn’t give his team anything extra.
Despite the bleak outlook for games in which Taylor won’t be playing in, Doug Whaley, the team’s general manager, thinks it was a right decision to send Cassel away and keep Manuel.
We don’t regret it, not at all. In the long run we looked at it as EJ had a longer shelf life. Arguably you could say he has a bigger upside.
Yes, Cassel is 33 and Manuel is 25, but sometimes being young doesn’t mean you have potential. Until he was traded, Cassel was the number two quarterback on the Bills depth chart. The Bills didn’t think too highly of Manuel going into the season, and a good performance by Cassel for the Cowboys could highlight the mistake the Bills made by sticking with Manuel.