Captains are named and then everyone quickly forgets them. So it’s generally not a big deal if a player doesn’t get named captain. Unless, of course, that player is your quarterback. Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel wasn’t named a captain, which was odd. It’s almost a formality that the starting quarterback gets a “C” slapped on his chest.
The title of captain indicates that a quarterback has taken over a team. E.J. Manuel hasn’t done that yet.
Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes, “If Manuel had gone 10-0 as a starter last season and was named a captain this week, would anyone be saying he was too green for the gig? No way.”
In other words, Manuel hasn’t had enough NFL success to be a captain. The Bills coaches want more out of the young quarterback. So yes, it is a big deal that he isn’t a captain. His non-captaincy could indicate discontent amongst players and coaches. If he was a coach and player favorite, then he’d be the captain.
Marrone said that it came down to experience.
“If you look at it, it’s mostly veteran guys that have been around,” Marrone said of his six captains, which included two newcomers to the team. “I think that [quarterback] position has leadership qualities in it just by the position itself.”
He’s a second-year player — not a rookie. It just doesn’t add up. Manuel’s peers did speak about his leadership.
“He’s a great leader. He breaks down the offense and things like that all the time. Gives us knowledge,” running back Fred Jackson said. “It’s just one of those things, when we have a lot of veteran leadership on the team. In time, he’ll definitely be named a captain at some point.”
He’ll get named captain once he proves he’s a reliable starter. He hasn’t done that yet.