No Kidding: At This Point, EJ Manuel Would Be Best Available Option for Bills

Bucky Gleason

You know the offense in Buffalo remains in shambles when the Bills are forced to start Nathan Peterman, the interception machine who became a national laughingstock and punching bag after continuously throwing the ball to the other team at the absolute worst times.

Peterman made history last season when he became the first quarterback to throw five picks in the first half of his first start. People laughed when he won the job over presumptive franchise quarterback Josh Allen during training camp, setting the stage for another disaster.

In the opener, he completed five of 18 attempts for 24 yards and threw two passes to the other team before getting yanked early in the third quarter. Allen didn’t take command of the offense. It was handed to him because he’s, well, because he’s not Nathan Peterman.

The Bills are now being forced to throw Peterman back on the field against the Bears because Buffalo’s other options are actually worse. That’s assuming they’re not interested in rolling out the Wing T after Derek Anderson was concussed, forcing another move Wednesday.

Buffalo signed Matt Barkley to back up Peterman in what could be the worst 1-2 quarterback combination in NFL history.

Pick-Six Peterman has completed 43 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and nine interceptions in seven games. Barkley has completed 59 percent with eight TDs and 18 INTs in 11 games. Add quarterback-wide receiver Terrell Pryor, and it's 1-2-3.

No matter, it adds up to a whiff for Buffalo.

What, EJ Manuel wasn’t available? The unemployed former first-round pick would be the best quarterback on the roster.

Or how about Colin Kaepernick? Barkley hasn't played in a game since 2016, the same year Kaepernick completed 59 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Anderson, whose sample size is larger than Peterman’s but the results not much better, is expected to miss Sunday’s game. It passes for terrible news in Buffalo, which tells you just how ridiculous their quarterback situation has become.

Peterman came off the bench against Houston after Allen was injured and threw a nice touchdown pass to give the Bills a 13-10 lead with 13 minutes remaining. It was just enough to reaffirm Bills coach Sean McDermott’s faith in him, if only for a brief moment.

Nathan Peterman did what Nathan Peterman does, which was throw a pick-six with 1:23 remaining that handed Houston the lead. Peterman validated his inability to play in the NFL with another interception that handed the Texans the game.

The Bills had so little confidence in Peterman, their Week One starter, that they handed the offense to Anderson even though he was fresh off a family vacation. The Bills had asked him to join them sooner, but he respectfully declined while settling into semi-retirement.

Anderson has thrown 60 touchdown passes in his career, or 57 more than Peterman. He also has thrown 64 interceptions, or 55 more than Peterman. Anderson should have followed his initial instincts and concluded not playing at all was better than playing for the Bills.

It’s important to keep history in mind when evaluating the Bills’ laughable quarterback situation, as it stands now.

The Bills traded Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland because they didn’t see any future with him in Buffalo. It was sensible enough. Taylor had a high completion percentage (65.1), with 53 touchdown passes to 20 interceptions, but a low ceiling.

Taylor had enough mobility and enough accuracy to operate a conservative offense that revolved around him escaping the pass rush and being effective in the short-passing game. Otherwise, he was an average quarterback in an average offense for an average team.

The Bills’ search for a franchise quarterback led them to trade up in the draft and select Allen seventh overall. Peterman, of all people, won the job in training camp. The Bills felt good enough about him and Allen to trade away a veteran with little game experience, A.J. McCarron.

McCarron was shipped to the Raiders, which enabled Oakland to release … EJ Manuel. The Bills’ former first-round pick, who became a standard for poor quarterbacking in Buffalo, is available. Perhaps he would have been considered if he was not EJ Manuel.

Manuel had some Peterman-like performances, including one in London that turned him into a laughingstock. He came off the bench for Taylor and committed three turnovers that turned into three Jacksonville touchdowns, including a pick-six, in a 34-31 loss.

If the Bills can forgive Peterman for throwing five picks in the first half of his first game while they were in playoff contention, if they can forgive him for throwing for 24 yards and two interceptions in the first half of the opener, if they can forgive him for the pick-six against Houston …

Why can’t they forgive Manuel?

Manuel is actually better than any quarterback in Buffalo. He has completed 58 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He has made 18 NFL starts in his career.

You know the Bills are in trouble when Manuel is a better option than Peterman.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

are you for real??? EJ? The Bills need some linemen who don't mimic a revolving door. These current linemen need motion sickness pills for as many times as they are turned around trying to block. No, get some better linemen and most of the offensive problems will improve.