EJ Manuel: Benched Buffalo Bills Quarterback Now Faces Long Odds To Return

EJ Manuel failed to prove himself as a starting NFL quarterback after just 13 games and now he may have just lost the chance forever.

The Buffalo Bills quarterback was just relieved of his starting duties in favor of veteran Kyle Orton. After Manuel led the Bills to a 2-0 start this year, he stumbled in losses to the San Diego Chargers and Houston Texans, looking inconsistent and struggling to connect on longer passes.

Though many believed that EJ Manuel was making progress after a rookie year marked by injury and inconsistency, Bills coach Doug Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley are feeling quite a bit of pressure. This month new owners Terry and Kim Pegula will take over and many believe that Marrone and Whaley could be out of a job if the team fails to reach the playoffs after mortgaging a 2015 first-round pick to land receiver Sammy Watkins.

EJ Manuel now faces a difficult road, ESPN writer Mike Rodak noted.

“Since 2007, no quarterback selected in the first round has recovered from a benching to again become a full-time NFL starter,” he tweeted.

If true, the Bills will have lost quite a bit by benching Manuel. Though many believed the team reached in selecting him in the first round in 2013, the team had been building around him as he showed some improvement.

The benching also fails to address what some believe is an even bigger problem — the team’s play calling. In the most recent loss Manuel was asked to throw 44 times despite endless pressure from J.J. Watt. Many placed blame on offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who went away from the team’s sharp running attack and instead asked Manuel to step outside his role as game manager.

Kyle Orton has a chance to answer a lot of the issues if he can lead the Buffalo Bills through what appears to be the weakest AFC East during the entire Tom Brady era, but if he loses as well then the team’s decision to bench EJ Manuel could bring even greater criticism.

[Image via ESPN]