Buffalo Bills Keeping Open Mind About Starting E.J. Manuel in 2013

May 14, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel (3) speaks with the media following organized team activities at Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills took a pretty massive gamble by taking E.J. Manuel in the first-round of the NFL Draft this season, but while the jury may still be out on Manuel, the Bills are hoping to get an early return. According to the team’s official website, the Bills are keeping an open mind when it comes to starting the rookie this season.

“Time will tell,” said new general manager Doug Whaley. ”He does have the work ethic and the leadership qualities that he’ll have a chance. But we believe competition brings out the best in everybody. Between him, Kevin Kolb, Tavaris Jackson, even Jeff Tuel, we’re excited to see who comes out on top of that position battle.”

Whaley is coming into an interesting situation in Buffalo and has the chance to come off as an early genius if things pan out for him. It will be interesting to see what kind of general manager he is, as there are those who cave to fan pressure and those like Mark Dominik in Tampa Bay that do as they please but know what they’re doing.

The thought process at the moment when it comes to rookie quarterbacks — particularly young, mobile quarterbacks– is that there is an expectation to succeed. Robert Griffin III did his successors as top draft picks no help in performing the way he did in 2012. While logical fans don’t expect that our of Manuel just yet, there are those so fed up and frustrated with losing that anything short of a Rookie of the Year season will be deemed a disappointment.

That’s where the strategy in playing Manuel comes in. Buffalo has Kevin Kolb ready to start as well as Tavaris Jackson who has starting history within the organization. Be careful when assuming Manuel will start, as hearing management talking about it doesn’t mean he’ll be starting week one of the season. Kolb will likely start, but Manuel will be on his heels and that’s likely the best situation to roll with heading into the year.

Topics: Buffalo Bills, EJ Manuel, NFL

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  • NWBill

    We need the right level of expectations for Whaley as well; this is his first dance as GM, so let’s not buy any pitchforks just yet. On Manuel, I don’t see him as a “big risk” any more than RGIII or Russell Wilson were. You see a player with their level of talent, you draft them – but you never know what you’re gonna know, until you know what you know. EJ’s in the same boat; it would be great if he takes the bull by the horns and ends up the starter … but it’s more realistic to view him as a work in progress, and let him get used to the NFL while learning under Kevin and Tavares. I don’t see a downside either way; it was a great decision by Nix and Marrone – but time, as with all things in life, will tell.

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