Most experts believe that the Buffalo Bills are on the verge of moving on from 2013 first-round pick EJ Manuel. In fact, a report came out on Monday suggesting the team could cut him prior to the end of training camp.
That would be a mighty big fall from grace for a player that Buffalo’s brass projected to be its franchise quarterback less than two years ago.
This didn’t stop former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly from throwing his support behind Manuel in a recent interview with NFL Network’s Total Access:
“I think that with the new offensive system Greg Roman brings from San Francisco, I think it might be something that EJ needs,” the Hall of Fame quarterback said. “I hope he does it. He’s a good kid. I’ve heard him talk to the players, I heard what type of leader he is. He has it all.”
If you remember correctly, Manuel was benched four games into the 2014 season in favor of the now retired Kyle Orton. In 14 career starts, the former Florida State standout has thrown 16 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions and is averaging just 187.3 passing yards per game. He’s also led the Bills to a 6-8 record and 21.6 points per game. Those aren’t necessarily sexy numbers right there.
New head coach Rex Ryan also made sure that the team’s front office brought in some competition for the starting gig. Buffalo signed long-time Baltimore Ravens backup Tyrod Taylor and acquired Matt Cassel from the Minnesota Vikings in a trade. This comes on the heels of Buffalo entertaining the potential of trading for Sam Bradford before he was dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles back in March.
Back to the report suggesting that Manuel could be released prior to the start of the regular season.
Joe Buscaglia of WKBW 7 in Buffalo had this to say about that possibility:
“If former first-round pick and quarterback EJ Manuel doesn’t show some serious progress this spring and summer at OTAs, minicamp and training camp, he very well may be enjoying his final few months in Buffalo as a member of the organization.”
That’s a far cry from Kelly’s comments. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but it’s readily apparent that the Bills don’t have much confidence in Manuel moving forward. Let’s hope for the sake of the franchise, Kelly is spot on with his analysis.
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