The name EJ Manuel conjures up a lot of feelings in Buffalo Bills fans. He was hailed by some as a franchise savior when he was drafted 16th overall in 2013, yet the national media largely derided the pick as an example of a team desperately reaching for a quarterback. In the last three years, they've largely been proven right. Manuel has a 6-10 record as a starter, including an 0-2 run last season, and has done nothing to give fans hope for the future on the field.
Off the field, however, is a different story. Head coach Rex Ryan raved about Manuel's work ethic on Thursday, noting that "everyone respects how hard he's working and the fact that he's trying to get better." Ryan followed by saying that Manuel has "a good work ethic and studies, so we'll see."
That last phrase sums up Manuel's professional career to this point. He's always had everything together off the field, and his work ethic was never in doubt. The problem has always been (and likely always will be) his maddening inconsistency on the field. His second-half performance against Jacksonville was some of the best quarterbacking by a Bill in years, but it didn't matter because he had a first half that was beyond awful.
It's good to hear Rex supporting the work a player puts in to getting better. It's just too bad that, when it comes to Manuel, the product doesn't equal the preparation. Nevertheless, at this point in the offseason there is little chance the Bills will add anyone else to be Tyrod Taylor's backup.