Kyle Orton's signing with the Buffalo Bills looks like a veteran quarterback coming in to help a young quarterback develop from the outside perspective.
Those who follow the team, however, can see that this signing is much more significant.
EJ Manuel has not been impressive this preseason and has proven to be fragile, as he only started 10 games last season. The Bills have the rest of the components that they believe will end a 14-year playoff drought, but the uncertainty that surrounds the most important position in the game has fans worried, and Doug Whaley and his staff have taken notice.
Orton is only 31-years-old, but has started for four teams, with Buffalo being his fifth stop. He has playoff experience and is a game-manager, which is exactly what the Bills need. With the talent on offense and a stout defense, the Bills need a consistently average quarterback, like Kansas City has in Alex Smith. The two teams are actually very similar as both have very good defenses, but lack a superstar quarterback. The Bills might just have found the guy that can lead them to the playoffs if Manuel continues to struggle.
Whaley is on the record stating that the Bills are in a "win now" position, especially after trading up to get Sammy Watkins at the draft. Orton may not dazzle fans or come up in many fantasy football conversations, but his ability to find the open guy and make the throws he needs to make, give Buffalo a more comfortable feeling at the position.
Jeff Tuel has found a way to stay on Buffalo's roster for now, as Thad Lewis, Denis Dixon and Jordan Palmer all were cut by the team. Tuel's inexperience must have worried Whaley, knowing how much is riding on the team's success this season. Aside from Whaley's "win now" comments is the realization that the Bills will be under a new owner very soon. If this team doesn't produce, it is likely the Bills will be under a new general manager and head coach next season.
Orton's signing shows a sense of urgency that Bills fans have been waiting for all preseason. It's just a shame it couldn't have come sooner. Not many are confident with Manuel thus far and the first regular season game is just eight days away. Orton, though, being a veteran, shouldn't take long to grasp the system and will be on-call should the Bills need him to relieve Manuel and salvage the season.
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