Taylor was added by the Bills this offseason after spending his first four years in the NFL backing up Joe Flacco in Baltimore. The Bills travel to Cleveland for the next preseason game Thursday night and the Panthers host the Dolphins next Saturday.
Manuel made a nice play to avoid a sack, spinning around and then running to his left.
“Continue to keep doing the things that I’m doing”, he said.
Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan was asked directly if EJ was done getting reps with the first team after announcing that a majority of Manuel’s reps would be with the third team.
An almost sold out crowd packed in to the Ralph Wilson Stadium to welcome back the Buffalo Bills, hoping for a good show in the first preseason game of 2015.
Ryan said not to read too much into this, even if the division of labor the last few weeks suggests that Manuel is behind Cassel and Taylor.
It truly makes most sense for the Bills to ditch the idea that Manuel will somehow emerge as a quality and consistent starter in 2015 in favor of someone else. After a rough first series for Manuel, he completed the longest pass of the night, a 51-yarder to Deonte Thompson to give the Bills a 24-17 lead late in the third.
“He’s going to start”, Ryan said Friday night. “I think I’m the only (coaching candidate) who brought it up, about fielding a team that would represent this community, and recognizing the loyalty of the fan base”. “I did say Taylor would start Week 2, but I never said anything about Week 3”.
Taylor finished the game 5-of-8 passing for 49 yards, but what set him apart was his work on the ground. Browns’ defense did a good job of playing outside containment and forcing him to work from the pocket. But Manuel also missed a wide open Goodwin on the left sideline when EJ had plenty of time to throw and had another pass that explains his NFL career to this point. Gilbert was then beaten by Robert Woods on a fade pass into the end zone. While that won’t always be the case, Taylor did look good in his debut, showcasing his dual-threat ability. With the Browns coming in, I came in here and had a great opportunity and that’s what I did.
“You have to have that short memory and be able to bounce back”, Pettine said. He wants to learn.
Ryan has to hand the rose to someone in the convoluted Bachelor-like reality show and judging by the Bills’ make-up offensively, the best option is a game manager who can get out of LeSean McCoy’s way and occasionally make a throw down the field to Sammy Watkins or manufacture a touch for Percy Harvin when the box is filled to stop Shady. “Trust me”. “It definitely was the best day at camp I’ve had”.
Pettine joked that he pulled Moore aside to advise him not to take off his helmet. I think Manuel came into the game having earned the third spot on the depth chart due to his inconsistent performances in camp and he did nothing to improve his standing.
The teams will practice again on Tuesday night.