The reports that the Buffalo Bills will sign back-up QB Jordan Palmer does not make me feel better about the back-up quarterback situation at One Bills Drive. Palmer has never demonstrated that he can carry a team through a month of the season while a starter recovers from an injury or come in off the bench and pull one out of the fire. Plus, at this late date he’ll never get the reps to fully grasp the Bills offense.

The Bills top thinkers have put all their eggs in the EJ Manuel basket and the move to bring in an experienced back-up should have been in April. Last season we saw what it was like having a quarterback come to camp late in Thad Lewis. The offense under Lewis was limited because he was never exposed to getting reps with the whole playbook. Ironically Lewis played better last season than he has in this preseason with months and months of practices under his belt.

The poor performance by the Bills offense in the first half against Tampa Bay has everyone questioning Manuel’s progress. There were mistakes to go around Saturday, but EJ is not far eneough along to overcome them or lift the team by the bootstraps and make things happen.

Not to compare Manuel to Jim Kelly, but Kelly always had that ability to overcome a poor start and light a fire under his team by his play alone. The Bills need everyone to play their best around Manuel for him to succeed and that’s a tall order.

All indications are that the Bills have used only a small portion of their playbook in the preseason and the reason is to not tip their hand before the Chicago Bears game. That thinking may prove to be successful in the first game or maybe the first half of the first game, but this is the NFL, everyone catches up with what you do quickly. I’d rather see Manuel succeed using the entire scheme than flounder because he’s limited to six plays.

Many Bills fans are already resigning themselves to the reality that this season will mirror the last. Most of that is based on the play of EJ Manuel and you can’t blame them. The old line is “happiness is having something to look forward to.” Right now there is not much to look forward to after watching the first four preseason games unfold.



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