EJ Manuel in a sink or swim position with Bills in 2014

manuel7Quarterback EJ Manuel is going into his second season with the Buffalo Bills after a poor first season in 2013. As bad as the 6’4”, 238lb Manuel played last season, he’s now in a situation where he’s going to need to show at least a glimpse of talent for the Bills to stay the course with him as their starting quarterback for the future.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone is throwing the entire playbook at Manuel during OTAs, because he feels that he’s ready to absorb it after being kept more or less on training wheels last season. Manuel will need to learn all the plays and implement them, if not for his own sake, for the sake of the struggling team.

It’s more so just expecting a lot from our offense,” Manuel said to NFL.com. “Yeah, we’re putting in a lot of plays, but I have a sense of urgency just like the rest of us. So when things aren’t going well or how we want things to go in practice, it’s frustrating.”

Manuel missed 6 games last season due to knee injuries that he suffered from his bad habit of running the ball instead of passing it. Manuel is going to need to stay in the pocket more this season to throw the football instead of running it if he wants to avoid becoming Daunte Culpepper 2.0 with a career cut short due to knee injuries. Manuel completed 58.8% of his passes with a passing rating of 77.7 in 2013. Those aren’t the numbers that the Bills were hoping to get from Manuel when they drafted him in the 1st round out of Florida State in 2013, but then again they clearly made a mistake of using their 1st round pick on him, because Manuel had only impressed in his senior season.

In his previous seasons at Florida State, he didn’t throw the ball enough to get any kind of picture of how good or not so good he was. Playing on a great team like Florida State, many of Manuel’s stats were skewed because he had the best offensive line to give him time to throw, and the top receivers to get open and catch the ball. Manuel was able much of the time to throw short passes to his receives and then watch them take off for long gains. This in turn helped inflate Manuel’s stats.

If Manuel continues to struggle in 2014 at quarterback, then the Bills are going to need to think seriously about drafting a better quarterback in the 2015 draft so that they can build the team around that player.