The Buffalo Bills are rumored to be making a quarterback decision very soon, and the competition is reportedly down to just Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel.
The Bills have been rotating Taylor, Cassel, and third-year quarterback EJ Manuel this preseason, and after the third game, reports indicate that coach Rex Ryan is ready to make his pick.
Despite Manuel’s strong performance this preseason — going a combined 20 for 30 for 355 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions across three games — reports indicate that he is already out of consideration for starter.
Seems like Rex is torn. Cassel or Tyrod.
— John Wawrow (@john_wawrow) August 30, 2015
If the rumors are true, Matt Cassel seems an odd choice to be in contention for the Buffalo Bills. While he has a longer track record and more success in his past than either Manuel or Taylor, his performances this preseason have failed to impress.
Both Manuel and Taylor shined in the team’s third preseason game, a win on Saturday over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manuel started the game and then returned in the third quarter, going a combined 7 of 8 for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor went 12 of 13 for 123 yards and added a 20-yard rushing touchdown.
As NFL.com noted, after the game it seemed that EJ Manuel had crashed his way back into the competition.
“Manuel could have woken up Sunday morning as the surprise favorite in this QB competition if not for another promising effort by Taylor. Taylor was greeted with cheers from the Ralph Wilson Stadium faithful as he entered the game in the second quarter and did nothing to shake his favorite status, immediately leading the Bills on an 80-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 1-yard scoring run by Ricky Seale. Taylor went 7 of 8 for 78 yards on an 11-play march that covered five minutes.”
The rumors that the Buffalo Bills were down to Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor may indicate that Manuel was never high on the list for coach Rex Ryan. While Ryan employed a rotation this summer, Manuel was most often the one stuck on the third team.
But with all three quarterbacks looking strong, there are rumors that the Buffalo Bills may have something else in mind — a trade for whoever ends up in third. There have been reports that the team could look to trade Manuel, and his stock has never been higher. Trading Cassel would have another bonus, freeing up $4 million in cap space that could help the Bills re-sign Marcell Dareus.
[Image via Getty Images]