Manuel missed six games in his rookie season and has shown little progress this preseason. The Bills made several bold moves this offseason, acquiring Mike Williams and drafting Sammy Watkins. But Manuel's play is considered to be key to Buffalo's success this season, and he hasn't had much.
Manuel has yet to complete a touchdown drive this preseason and had a bad game against Pittsburgh yesterday, where he played the entire first half. Bills coach Doug Marrone said after the game that he was pleased with Manuel's ability to move the ball, but the fan base is beginning to get frustrated.
Manuel has the tendency to defer to his check-down receivers if his first read is not available. He has also been a victim of locking in on one receiver, showing his hand to the defense. With all the weapons the Bills have accumulated on the offensive side, along with their strong defense, Manuel really only needs to be an average quarterback for the team to be successful. But the patience of Bills fans is wearing thin.
It doesn't help that Buffalo has missed the playoffs for 14 straight seasons. While the rest of the league doesn't expect much out of Buffalo, expectations within the area are very high. The Bills traded next season's first round pick to draft Watkins, making a statement that they don't expect to have a top-10 pick. After Buffalo acquired Williams and Bryce Brown, which increased the depth at running back, all of the pressure was mounted on Manuel, and he seems to be cracking under it.
None of the quarterbacks looked good for Buffalo on Sunday, and Manuel has only shown glimpses of decency while struggling through the rest of preseason. Bills fans are getting increasingly anxious about Manuel's progress, as they are desperate for the team's playoff drought to come to an end. That will not happen if Manuel doesn't make a significant stride forward.
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Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, Doug Marrone, EJ Manuel, Football, NFL, Sammy Watkins