Has Kyle Orton Benched EJ Manuel for the Season?
Welcome to Bill’s football Terry Pegula. Get use to what you witnessed at your first game as the new owner. That’s what the Buffalo Mafia has been putting up with for over a decade. Sure hope you saved the receipt. You may just want to ask for a refund or go ahead and give Jon Bon Jovi a call.
The Buffalo Bills coaching staff made a decision two weeks ago to bench second year quarterback EJ Manuel following another slow start to the season. With back to back loses to Houston and San Diego Manuel was replaced by ten year journeyman Kyle Horton. This decision was made strictly due to the inability of Manuel to make plays with highly explosive offensive players around him. The Bills were held to a total 27 points in the two loses.
Manuel was having a mediocre season: 4 games, 838 yards passing, 5 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions along with a 58.6% passing completion. On the other hand, Horton has complied 607 yards passing, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions with a 66.7% completion percentage in his two starts. Since the switch the Bills have put up 39 points, which includes a 17 point comeback win on the road in Detroit. During today’s loss to arch rival New England, Horton was able to throw for 299 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. But most importantly the game never was truly out of reach, until Tom Brady was able to connect with wide receiver Brandon LaFell late in the fourth quarter.
To the question has Horton replaced Manuel for the rest of the season? By week 11, the Bills will have mathematically eliminated themselves from the playoffs for another season and Manuel will return as the starter. The problem in Western New York is, neither of these quarterbacks are the future nor the answer to getting this team over the hump.
The coaching staff has their hands full this season. There is more to worry about than who’s going to be at the helm for another losing season. The real concern seems to be who’s going to get the honor to carry a coach off the field when the team finds the time to win a meaningful game. e.g.; defensive players carry defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz off the field when they beat an offensively depleted Detroit Lions team last week. Late in the game versus the Patriots, if you look closely to the replays, you’ll actually see Schwartz and cornerback Leodis McKelvin agreeing that if McKelvin would actually make a play; Schwartz would carry the lackluster player off the field. But, luckily for cocky Schwartz (Harbuagh should’ve knocked that guy out), McKelvin gave up his routine game changing touchdown to a wide receiver that no one has heard of before.
The Bills are truly a team that is very close to getting over the hump. Let’s hope they do this soon or they could be the L.A. or Canadian Bills before too long. It was made clear by the new owner that he does not like to finish second in anything. Mr. Pegula, the Bills fans that have been waiting for change since 1999, right now, second place would be a start.
Until the Bills begin to win games and become a contender, whether Horton or Manuel is underneath center, it doesn’t really matter. For Bills loyalists, at least this quarterback “controversy” won’t turn into Johnson vs. Flutie II. Whoever remains or returns to the starting quarterback position for this team, the only thing that matters, “Just Win Baby.” (Thanks Mr. Davis)