The Buffalo Bills are rumored to be getting a little closer to finding a quarterback, and it seems the one emerging as the team’s best is also the most unlikely.
The Bills are in the midst of a three-way race to determine the starting quarterback, with veteran Matt Cassel competing with third-year E.J. Manuel and the wild card, Tyrod Taylor. Though no quarterback has seized the job just yet, reports from the team’s training camp in Pittsford, New York, indicate that Taylor appears to be taking the lead.
Tyrod Taylor is something of an unknown in the quarterback race. While both Cassel and Manuel have clear-cut strengths and weaknesses, Taylor’s lack of playing time gives him what is essentially a blank slate.
Training camp has filled in some of the gaps in his experience, showing Taylor to be a playmaker. He has thrown many sharp passes and also made plays with his speed, creating what could be an advantage over the other two vying for the job.
It could be a while before the Buffalo Bills name a starting quarterback. Coach Rex Ryan said he will take however much time is necessary to find the starter, even if that means not naming a starter until the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
“This will probably play out,” Ryan said, via ESPN. “Indianapolis might not know who the quarterback is until we play them. We may know, but they may not know.”
The Bills could know more this weekend, when they hold an intrasquad scrimmage where each of the three quarterbacks will get two possessions with the first-team offense.
“The level of play has to pick up, and we’ll see who rises to the occasion,” Ryan said. “I think all guys have been great. They all compete; they’re all pulling for each other, but at the end of the day, they all want to win the job.
“So let’s see what happens. Let’s see if there becomes a little bit of separation.”
So far the only separation may be E.J. Manuel falling behind the other two. In camp he has been plagued by inconsistency, making some nice throws but at other times underthrowing and overthrowing open receivers.
Brent Axe called Manuel a “hot mess” in an appearance on CBS Sports Radio.
“He’s overthrowing open receivers during routine drills with no defense on wide receivers. He’s overthrowing open receivers that have defense on them. He’s under-throwing running backs and receivers just on those short screen passes. And now let’s add in the fact that a brand-new thing on the E.J. Manual docket is he’s fumbling a lot of snaps during training camp as well. He just doesn’t look confident. I think he knows he’s got to show something in this camp. I think he’s pressing, and I think he just has not looked good at all.”
Whatever happens, the rumors regarding the Buffalo Bills quarterback job likely won’t be resolved anytime soon.
[Image via Jim Rogash/Getty Images]