The Buffalo Bills starting quarterback will be… Whichever quarterback gives the team the best chance to win.
My answer may seem a bit cliche but each quarterback brings a different element to the table that, depending on your point of view makes them the right man for the job. Matt Cassell and his knack for making the good decisions and being a veteran presence, Tyrod Taylor and his abilities to extend plays with his legs and EJ Manuel has the strongest arm of the bunch which allows the Bills to take advantage of possibly being the fastest team in the NFL.
Whichever quarterback you are rooting for is fine by me, I hope they all play with the bravado of Aaron Rodgers, the smarts of Peyton Manning, the Moxie of Brett Favre and the willingness to do whatever it takes to win of Tom Brady. I truly believe at worst they all can get a few wins playing with such a talented roster that has been assembled by the Bills this year. While I don’t care which quarterback you are rooting for, I do believe the quarterback you SHOULD be rooting for is EJ Manuel. While Cassell can manage the game and Taylor can keep defenses on their toes with his abilities to run, Manuel has the ability to mimic his competitions strongest selling points.
Taylor is the better athlete but does not possess the stronger arm, is 5 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter and has never had to endure a 16 game NFL schedule of getting tackled by 250-300 pound defensive players for an entire season. Comparisons to Russell Wilson are definitely a reach, despite the fact that Seattle has a scheme in place to get him outside of the pocket to throw, mainly due to his short stature, Wilson is a pocket passer (using the term loosely but you get my point) quarterback who can run, Taylor is a running quarterback who can throw. Ask yourself how many “running” quarterbacks have had successful NFL careers or won a Superbowl, how many have even made a Superbowl appearance. If my good friend and colleague at BuffaloBruises, James Kriger was writing this article he might say, “Who gives a shit if he can run, can he throw it?!” and if it was my other colleague and friend Mike Guittar he would say “who cares if he can run, can he play his position?!”
Matt Cassell is a professional game manager. He is the guy you want on your roster just in case the starter has to miss a series or two getting his ankle re-taped. Nothing flashy in his game just steady for the most part. The only thing that is worse than a liar or a thief is an inconsistent game manager and Matt Cassell is an inconsistent game manager. If the Bills want an inconsistent game manager hell, go with the 6’5 250 pound quarterback who can actually throw a decent pass more than 30 yards once in a while. Cassell has overachieved at times in his career but do not confuse that with actually being good.
Manuel has not been what some hoped he would be at this point in his career, I use the term “some” because some fans never really got on board with potentially reaching for a quarterback in the first round and I did not use the term front office or management since I assume they knew he would take time to develop per his pre-draft scouting report. Inaccurate, timid, inconsistent and injury prone are some of the adjectives that have been used to describe Manuel, terms that have not been used are Blaine Gabbert, Jamarcus Russell, Alex Smith (pre Jim Harbaugh), Matt Leinhart, Joey Harrington, Brady Quinn, Vince Young, Tim Couch, David Carr, etc.. Unlike those guys Manuel gets it. When mentioning Manuel good or bad the one thing everyone says is that the kid is a hard worker, and slowly but surely he is getting better, check the tape, climbing the pocket, evading the rush while keeping his eyes down field, actually throwing the ball down field and not dumping it to his check down receiver. Fourteen games into his NFL career EJ Manuel is no bust yet.
Whoever you choose to root for in this quarterback battle I support you one hundred and ten percent, I hope the Bills have the NFL version of the quarterback conundrum that is the Ohio State Buckeyes and every quarterback deserves to start in his own right, but if you are not rooting for the 6’5 250 pound, 4.5 40 yard dash running, high character, locker room leader, hard working, high IQ former first round pick with as much potential as anyone in the NFL to start week 1, then in the words of the all-star Buffalo Bills defensive line, you are just “ QB hatin’ “.