Art Wander

DON’T GET ME STARTED on the musical chairs at One Bills Drive as head coach Doug Marrone faced the music (media) and exclaimed, “Kyle Orton will start at quarterback against the Detroit Lions.”

The 14 game experiment with Manuel ended after 4 games this season that’s given the Bills a 2-2 record. Many fans will agree with the move while mulling over the drafting of the erratic QB last year by GM Whaley.

Adding to the quarterback woes of the Bills is that they won’t have a first round pick next season in a quarterback rich class of players led by Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. That pick was lost when Whaley gambled on a trade with the Cleveland Browns at draft time so he could select wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

So far, Watkins has been about normal after a season opening 8 catches for 117 yards in the win over the Chicago Bears. Since then, not much going for the Bills. Last Sunday, a loss to Houston, found Watkins getting 4 catches.

So journeyman Orton will be at the helm when the Bills go to Detroit to meet a defense minded Lions team that leads the NFC North. Orton will be watching a solid QB in Stafford of the Lions throwing to some gifted receivers. The Lions did a number on the Jets last week.

It is strange, with a 2-2 record, to be thinking of next season but that #1 choice may come back to haunt Whaley and Marrone. It’s most likely that the Bills might be looking at free agents after the season, depending on how Orton performs and Manuel fighting to get the position back.

As I was reading the announcement signaling the QB change, I noted that Marrone said he met with offensive coordinator Nate Hackett and QB coach Todd Downing. Deep in the back of my mind was the thought that he might make a change there but no such luck. After all, the QB coach and OC have not developed Manuel into a productive quarterback. Last season, Hackett had his coordinator job plus the QB coach’s job. That led to a poor season and a top 10 pick in the draft they surrendered to Cleveland in the trade.

This season, they brought in Downing and, from the opening game of the season to the current position, the Bills have gone downhill with 2 straight losses that were ugly at best.

Terry Pegula might be taking notes and seeing if there’s a solution to the turmoil at the top position on the team. Jim Kelly retired some 18+years ago and the Bills have yet to come up with a reasonable replacement for Kelly.

So Bills fans will be waiting for Sunday afternoon to see if Orton’s many years of experience with several teams will end his status as a journeyman. And as for Manuel, it would behoove Marrone and Whaley to talk to Jim Kelly, or somebody, and ask if they would be interested in developing Manuel. After all, Manuel does have some skills. Somebody might instill confidence in Manuel and help him develop, if it’s possible. If not- go to Plan B, whatever that might be on Don’t Get Me Started.

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