Buffalo Bills Giving Up on EJ Manuel, Will Start Kyle Orton; Right Time or Too Soon?

September 29th, 2014
Kyle Orton received the call of duty on Monday to start for the Bills at quarterback in Week 5. (Photo: Mike Dinovo — USA Today Sports)

Kyle Orton received the call of duty on Monday to start for the Bills at quarterback in Week 5. (Photo: Mike Dinovo — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The EJ Manuel era of the Buffalo Bills didn’t even make it to 16 full games. Just four games into his second season after starting 10 games as a rookie quarterback, 2013 first-round pick EJ Manuel has been benched in favor of veteran Kyle Orton, Bills coach Doug Marrone announced Monday.

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Monday Reaction: Coaching Let Down Buffalo Bills as Much as EJ Manuel in Loss to Houston Texans

September 29th, 2014
Doug Marrone and the Bills coaching staff need to reconsider their offensive strategy after Sunday's loss to the Texans. (Photo: Troy Taormina — USA Today Sports)

Doug Marrone and the Bills coaching staff need to reconsider their offensive strategy after Sunday’s loss to the Texans. (Photo: Troy Taormina — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Josh Cornwall

Sunday afternoon was the first time in a long while I have not been able to watch a Buffalo Bills game live. Sitting at an outdoor wedding reception for a friend, phone on lap and scrolling for occasional game updates isn’t the most ideal way to keep track, but nonetheless gets the job done in the short term.

I began to make the three-ish hour trip back to my home in the Boston area right after Manuel’s 80-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams, with the hope that the Bills would find a way to pull out a seemingly sloppy contest in Houston. A short 30 minutes later, stuck on I-84 in Connecticut, the bad news trickled out of the local ESPN Radio syndicate that a late EJ Manuel interception sealed a six-point win for the Texans.

Losses against teams the Bills should be able to beat are always tough to take and the two-hour stewing over the remainder of the car ride was full of angry thoughts regarding the status of the offense.

When I flipped on NFL Game Rewind on Monday morning, my expectation was to have my reactions to ESPN Gamecast be affirmed by bad throws and missed plays. My Twitter feed was full of EJ Manuel-related angst—mine included—and typical bad-loss hot takes only generated by fans of a beleaguered franchise. My expectation was to see an absolute mess of a game, but the mistakes weren’t aren’t as unfixable as the angry sports fanatic in me wanted to believe.

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EJ Manuel, Passing Offense Continue to Struggle as Buffalo Bills Lose to Houston Texans

September 28th, 2014
J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans got the best of EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. (Photo: Troy Taormina — USA Today Sports)

J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans got the best of EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. (Photo: Troy Taormina — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Fans of a football team tend to give the quarterback too much credit when the team wins and heap excessive blame on the signal-caller when the team loses. That’s especially been the case for the Buffalo Bills and their fanbase, understandably so, in the one season and four games of the EJ Manuel era thus far.

I’m not going to join the fanbase in its cries for Kyle Orton to the Buffalo Bills’ starting quarterback, and even in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans, a loss that was sealed when Manuel threw an interception into double coverage, I don’t think Manuel deserves all the blame for the struggles of Buffalo’s offense.

That said, Manuel didn’t make himself easy to defend with his poor performance Sunday.

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2014 NFL Week 4: Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans, Live Analysis

September 28th, 2014
Mario Williams is going up against his former team Sunday. (Photo: Troy Taormina — USA Today Sports)

Mario Williams is going up against his former team Sunday. (Photo: Troy Taormina — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The Buffalo Bills tried to stage a late comeback after blowing a first-half lead, but it came up short when EJ Manuel threw an interception into double coverage on Buffalo’s final offensive possession. The takeaway by Houston Texans cornerback Darryl Morris clinched a victory, 23-17, for the home team at NRG Stadium.

The Texans have improved to 3-1 while the Bills have fallen to 2-2.

Check back shortly for more postgame analysis.

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Joe Marino’s Talent Watch Week 5: Missouri’s Markus Golden, Shane Ray to Battle Talented South Carolina Offensive Line

September 25th, 2014
Missouri's Shane Ray (56) and Markus Golden (33) form one of the nation's best pass-rushing combos. (Photo: Raj Mehta — USA Today Sports)

Missouri’s Shane Ray (56) and Markus Golden (33) form one of the nation’s best pass-rushing combos. (Photo: Raj Mehta — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

The more I study the eligible prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft, the clearer it is becoming that this is the year of the pass rusher. Outside of quarterback play, a pass-rush is the most important aspect of fielding a good football team, and this class provides plenty of players who can do just that. With no end in sight, I will continue to introduce pass rushers, including some who were not even on my radar entering the season but have emerged.

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