Monday, January 12, 2015

E.J. Manuel is a Victim of Circumstance

Todd Collins, Alex Van Pelt, Doug Flutie, Rob Johnson, Drew Bledsoe, JP Losman, Kelly Holcomb, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm, E.J. Manuel, Thad lewis, Jeff Tuel, Kyle Orton.

14 Quarterbacks have started for the Buffalo Bills in 17 years since Jim kelly has retired.  Not one has stuck, but Bills fans have rallied behind almost all of them.  Doug Flutie got his face on a cereal box, Drew Bledsoe got a parade, JP Losman was the savior, Trent Edwards had "it", Ryan Fitzpatrick has moxie, you get the idea.

Turns out Bledsoe was past his prime, Losman was skittish, Edwards couldn't throw the ball more than 5 yards, and Ryan Fitzpatrick was the best out of the bunch, but that wasn't good enough.

14 Quarterbacks in 17 years, 14 years without playoffs, something's gotta give, right?  Well, turns out the first thing to give is patience, patience wears thin for the Quarterback position in Buffalo these days.  Fans are so quick to want to move on to the next guy because they want to win now.  E.J. Manuel is a victim of impatience.

The quarterback position in the NFL is the hardest position to learn, to progress, to master.  It used to be that a team would draft a quarterback and let him sit on the bench for a few seasons to learn the game before they would get the chance to play.  The recent Luck of quarterbacks coming out of college and having succesful rookie seasons has ruined that, pun intended, it has also destroyed the patience of Bills fans.

You see, Bills fans are so jaded about the quarterback position that some were calling for Jeff Tuel to play, then he did, and he never should again!  In Buffalo, the most popular guy in town is the backup quarterback, this was true even when Jim Kelly was the starter.

So what has E.J. Manuel done to deserve backlash from the fans?  He put up moderate stats in the mere 14 games that he started in.  He has completed almost 60 percent of his passes and threw for almost 3,000 yards and 16 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. That's not too shabby for a rookie, and it's not a full season.  14 games, and fans are ready to throw in the towel on EJ Manuel, because patience has run out.  But he can't read a defense they say, 14 games, I say.  Remember, the quarterback position is the toughest to learn.  Exotic defensive schemes, zone blitzes, disguised packages, that's a lot for a young QB to master.  The fact that a QB struggles to understand the defense more negatively reflects coaching than it does the quarterback.  How many times did we hear JP Losman say "they had schemes that we didn't prepare for", that's a coaching failure.

He isn't accurate now and he wasn't accurate in college.  Why do people say this? He completed over 65 percent of his passes, and was just 3 yards short of 4,000 yards his senior year.  Sure he missed some passes in his first 14 games in the NFL, but what quarterback doesn't?  What young quarterback doesn't?  Wide Receivers are faster in the National Football League, timing doesn't happen over night, and it's just one of the many things that a young signal caller is trying to master.

Drew Brees was so bad his first two playing seasons (his second and third season) that the Chargers gave up on him and drafted Eli Manning, who was then traded to the Giants for Phillip Rivers.  That season and the next the light went on for Brees and he played lights out, but it was too late.  The Chargers had already moved on.

Manuel's stats are comparable to the first seasons of:  Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and many others.  The only reason Bills fans don't see this is because they choose not to.  They have run out of patience and do not want a QB that throws for less than 30 touchdowns and 3,500 yards his rookie season.  The problem is:  That's a rare feat.

Greg Roman will be good for E.J. Manuel, just look at what he got out of Colin Kaepernick, another mobile quarterback who is an inferior passer to Manuel.  Unlike Marrone, Roman  will not coach E.J. to run out of bounds at all costs, even if the first down marker is just another yard away.  Be patient Buffalo, E.J. Manuel will be a good quarterback in this league, and Greg Roman's offensive scheme is perfect for him.


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