Bills bench QB EJ Manuel, turn to Kyle Orton
Bills coach Doug Marrone announced Monday that second-year quarterbck EJ Manuel has been benched for veteran backup Kyle Orton.
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone announced Monday that second-year quarterbck EJ Manuel has been benched in favor of veteran backup Kyle Orton. The move comes a day after another uneven performance from Manuel -- the team's 2013 first-round pick -- that contributed to Buffalo's road loss to the Texans.
"Kyle Orton is our starting QB right now," Marrone said, via the team. "We need more overall production from that position. ... We came in today, looked at the tape and made a decision that gives us the best opportunity to win."
Marrone added, "We have a playoff caliber team, this gives us the best opportunity to win," which is a seemingly absurd observation to make moments after you declare Orton as your starting quarterback. But the Bills are 2-2, right in the thick of things in the AFC East, and Orton does, in fact, give the team the best chance to win.
And there's no denying that Manuel has been maddeningly inconsistent, but that's as much of a reflection on his slow development as Marrone and general manager Dough Whaley's evaluation of him as a first-round talent.
Through three weeks, Manuel ranked 23rd in total value among quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders' metrics. In four starts, he has completed 58 percent of his throws for 838 yards, with five touchdowns and three interceptions. At first glance, those aren't terrrible numbers, but Manuel's miscues have been costly.
Behold this pick-six to Texans defensive end J.J. Watt from Sunday's game (via The Big Lead):
Orton, meanwhile, signed with the Bills in late August after the Cowboys released him earlier in the month. He had his best season in 2009 with the Broncos, completing 62 percent of his passes for 3,802 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
As for Manuel, Marrone said he handled the demotion "professionally" and showed "a helluva lot of courage."
Doug Marrone on EJ Manuel: "This is a great opportunity for him to sit back ... And work on ... correcting those issues."— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 29, 2014
In related news, another struggling second-year quarterback for another New York team, Geno Smith, still has a job. For now.
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