Make no mistake about it, Doug Marrone realized at some point during or following the loss to Houston that if keeps EJ Manuel as his starting quarterback the Bills will not win and he will lose his job as head coach. Marrone has been around enough to realize that with a new owner about to take over he has to win “now”. Anything less than that means a new set of eyes and opinions will probably vote to bring in new blood.

EJ Manuel played well enough in the first two games of the season as Buffalo downed the Bears and Dolphins. However, facing a strong pass rush in the last two outings and with a struggling offensive line, Manuel was out of his comfort zone. What Marrone and staff saw on tape against Houston was enough to convince him that he must bench his “franchise” QB, a move that could not have been made lightly.

What this means for Marrone’s relationship with Doug Whaley and Russ Brandon is anybody’s guess. Marrone said he didn’t ask Whaley for permission, but that he was in total agreement.

The report that came out in August that Marrone had had words with the top men in the Bills front office was on the money. My sources tell me that Marrone has strong opinions as to how things should be done and they do not necessarily reflect those of his bosses. The rift has been growing and my feeling is Marrone feels that if he is going to lose his job it will be on his terms and making the moves he feels are the right ones to build a winner.

This is setback for Manuel, one that he may never recover from. There are plenty of cases of top draft pick quarterbacks sitting the bench for a few years behind an established starter like Rivers or Rodgers, but far less for those benched after 14 games. Marrone said Manual took the news like a professional and this gives him time to work on his game. It certainly takes some of the mounting pressure off his shoulders, but he has to be deeply disappointed.

As for Kyle Orton, he’s been in this position before with mixed results. Obviously he was never good enough to maintain a starting quarterback position in the league, but is he better than what Manuel has showed?

Doug Marrone said today that he feels the Bills are a playoff caliber team and they need to worry about win right now. Anything less and my guess is Manuel will not be alone in looking for new surroundings.

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