Kyle Orton has only been a member of the Buffalo Bills a few days, but after a crash course in the team’s offense the veteran journeyman will be ready to serve as backup in Week 1, the team’s coach said.
Orton spent Labor Day at the team’s practice facility, going through the team’s offense as backup to starter EJ Manuel. The Bills open the season Sunday in Chicago.
“I think you’d be surprised of what he can do. I think we’ll go work during the week and see how much he feels comfortable with handling,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “Probably more than what most people think because of his experience.”
The Bills struggled to find a backup for Manuel this season. After giving time in training camp to Jeff Tuel, Dennis Dixon, Thad Lewis, and Jordan Palmer, the team was unable to find a candidate to play behind Manuel. After cutting all the others — and placing second-year player Tuel on the practice squad — they signed Orton, who had indicated to the Dallas Cowboys that he wanted to retire, leading to his release.
Some have accused Kyle Orton of duping the Cowboys, leading to his release despite intending to continue his NFL career. Because he was cut, Orton was able to keep his signing bonus, and will also make $5 million from Buffalo this year.
When asked about the situation on Monday, Orton stuck to the present.
“We play the Bears and I play for the Bills. I kind of stick with those two teams for now and not worry about that,” he said.
Marrone said the Bills would have taken Orton earlier, saying they were targeting him since the beginning of the summer.
“I think that when you start seeing things unfolding, you have to have contingency plans,” he said. “Doug Whaley and I have always discussed things just in case: ‘What about if this doesn’t happen or what about if that doesn’t happen?’ No different than when we discuss, ‘What happens if this player is injured when we play on Sunday. What are we doing? Oh, this player is injured.’ I don’t think that’s abnormal for teams to discuss that if someone’s not playing well, what options they are going to have.”
Kyle Orton could have a chance to start with Buffalo. Second-year quarterback EJ Manuel was inconsistent in his first season and also struggled with injuries, losing six games to a series of knee injuries.