Bills bench EJ Manuel for Kyle Orton

EJ Manuel BillsBuffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone announced on Monday that quarterback EJ Manuel will be benched for next weekend’s game against the Detroit Lions. Kyle Orton will start in his place.

Manuel threw two interceptions in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans. One came on the final drive with the Bills trailing 23-7 with a chance to win the game. Marrone said Monday that the decision to bench Manuel in favor of Orton was his and not one that was cleared with the team’s front office.

“It’s not all EJ’s fault,” Marrone told reporters, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. “We need to get better production out of that position. We can’t keep going in the direction that we’re going. I didn’t ask [front office] for an agreement. I just went in and said this is the direction I’m going.”

Manuel, a first-round pick in 2013, hasn’t been horrible. He has a passer rating of 80.3 in four games this season and has completed 58% of his passes. The Bills, who beat the Chicago Bears on the road in Week 1, are 2-2. Apparently Marrone has seen enough for now.

When the Bills signed Orton earlier this month, Marrone was reportedly upset that the team chose to spend nearly $11 million on a two-year deal for a backup quarterback. He also supposedly felt that signing Orton could hinder Manuel’s development. He has already changed his mind.

EJ Manuel pulling away from Kevin Kolb in QB competition

EJ Manuel BillsThe Buffalo Bills entered training camp with E.J. Manuel and Kevin Kolb competing for the starting quarterback job. Kolb, who was signed by the team in the offseason, seemed like the leader to start Week 1 because of his experience. But through two preseason games, it’s looking more and more like Manuel will open the season as the team’s starter.

Kolb, who missed the first preseason game because of a knee injury, got the start against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. He went 13-of-21 for 111 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception on a tipped ball. He scrambled one time for seven yards.

Manuel came in after Kolb and went 10-of-12 for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Both quarterbacks operated mostly out of the shotgun and threw short, quick routes. They each were faced with pressure from Minnesota’s four-man front, which frequently got in their face quickly. The Vikings’ defense led Kolb to look to release the ball quickly on many of his attempts.

Though neither quarterback was particularly impressive, Kolb has not given the Bills a reason not to go with the rookie. The Bills boldly selected Manuel with their No. 16 overall pick, making him the first quarterback taken in the draft. They were impressed by his build, abilities, and intangible qualities. Team GM Doug Whaley even admitted they would love to have Manuel run away with the job.

“Absolutely, it helps if he becomes the starter and becomes successful, there’s no doubt about it,” Whaley admitted to NFL.com during the week.

Through two preseason games, Manuel is now 26-of-33 for 199 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also rushed four times for 29 yards. He’d have to get injured or have a disastrous third game preseason game to lose this competition.

EJ Manuel accidentally got phone call meant for No. 3 pick Dion Jordan

EJ ManuelFormer Florida State star EJ Manuel made out better than many people expected in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. The Buffalo Bills selected him with the 16th overall pick, and he ended up being the only quarterback taken in the first 32 selections. However, there was a brief moment when Manuel thought the night was going to turn out even better.

Just before the Miami Dolphins announced that they had selected Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan with the third overall pick, Manuel got a phone call. He told “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday that it turned out to be the wrong number.

“When Dion Jordan got selected, someone called my hotline phone that was there at the draft,” Manuel said. “They were looking for Dion, but obviously I got excited because I heard it right. So I was like, man, that’s a prank call right here.”

The Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill last season and he is going to be the team’s starter this year, so that would have made little sense. That being said, everything happens so quickly at the draft that you hardly have time to think. For a split second, Manuel was probably stunned thinking he was selected in the top five of the draft. We already made it clear that we were shocked he was taken with the 16th pick, let alone in the top three.

It sounds like it was an honest mistake, albeit a cruel one. At least no one played a horrible prank on Manuel like the one former Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu had to deal with last year.

H/T Shutdown Corner

EJ Manuel goes to Buffalo Bills as first quarterback taken

EJ ManuelThere was a stunner in the NFL Draft when the Buffalo Bills selected EJ Manuel at No. 16 overall on Thursday. He was the first quarterback taken in the draft.

Manuel had been mentioning in interviews that he hoped either the Jets, Eagles, or Bills would take him. He said he felt like he had impressed all three teams. Looks like he was right on with Buffalo, but the surprise is that they took him so early.

There were some rumors during the week that the Bills favored Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse for the No. 8 overall pick, which they traded to St. Louis. Another report said they preferred Matt Barkley. Neither report/rumor turned out to be true, and both appear to have been smokescreens.

In the end, the next quarterback in Buffalo will be Manuel. The Bills added Kevin Kolb in the offseason, and they also have Tarvaris Jackson on the roster. It looks like it will be between Manuel and Kolb for the starting job. We’re guessing Manuel starts beginning Week 1.

While Manuel certainly is impressive in interviews and has the size of a big quarterback, we question whether he is the answer. We’re not believers.

EJ Manuel hopes Jets, Eagles, or Bills draft him

EJ ManuelEJ Manuel is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in the NFL Draft, though there isn’t a strong feeling about where he will go. That has not stopped Manuel from mentioning three different teams as ones he likes and thinks would have interest in drafting him.

UPDATE: The Bills selected Manuel No. 16 overall.

“I’m hoping it’s the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Buffalo Bills,” Manuel told ESPN’s Trey Wingo on Tuesday. “I think [those] are three teams who may be looking to take a quarterback in the draft. We’ll see on draft day.”

The former Florida State quarterback mentioned the same three franchises during an interview with Dan Patrick last week. Wingo asked him what makes him think those teams would have interest in drafting him.

“Just the vibe that I got from those teams when I was meeting with them at their facilities. I was feeling really good about them. When I had the opportunity to go and meet with these teams and impress them, I thought that I did a good job of it,” Manuel told Wingo.

Manuel said he felt he had good conversations with the head coaches and GMs of those teams. He did well at the Senior Bowl and scouting combine, which has helped boost his draft stock. Manuel also scored a 28 on the Wonderlic test, which was high compared to the other top quarterbacks. He believes one of his strengths was being able to show coaches his football intellect when meeting with them to talk football.

Manuel explained hwy he compares himself to Ben Roethlisberger.

“I just think he’s a sturdy quarterback, he’s a winner, he’s hard for these defensive ends and defensive tackles to take down. I don’t think he necessarily runs to run; I think he runs to evade pressure and throw the ball down the field.”

Manuel says he hopes he’ll be drafted in the first round and thinks he’s likely to go in the first or second.

Though Manuel has come across well in interviews and at the combine, I wasn’t too impressed with him in college and would not be inclined to select him as my franchise quarterback.