Manuel Key to Bills Playoffs

All Bills fans are hoping that E.J. Manuel will finally lead the Bills to the playoffs
All Bills fans are hoping that E.J. Manuel will finally lead the Bills to the playoffs

There has been one thing that has been consistent with the Buffalo Bills over the past 13 seasons is that they haven’t made the playoffs. So, with the Bills drafting a quarterback in the first round of this past April’s National Football League draft, Manuel is the key to future Bills playoff appearances.

The Bills over the years have had great players at seemingly every position offensively and defensively except for quarterback.

The Bills haven’t had an elite quarterback since Jim Kelly retired following the 1996 season. Since then the Bills have had a carousel of quarterbacks that have just made Bills fans shake their head. However, that could all change real soon.

This past April the Bills selected Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel with the 16th overall pick in this past April’s NFL Draft. The decision to draft Manuel 16th overall made him instantly made the key to any Bills NFL Playoffs appearance in the near future, but it was a necessary and smart decision.

Faithful followers understand that the NFL has become a quarterback league thanks to the influx of talented quarterbacks. However, many people don’t understand how it got there and why it’s important to the Bills today.

The Bills in the early 1990s went to four straight Super Bowls. The team was led by its offense, whose leader was Kelly. The offense led the way thanks to some innovation by then offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroada.

The offense was a no-huddle based offense that relied on the quarterback relaying the play to other offensive players at the line of scrimmage. This prevented the defense from instituting substitutions.

Also, it featured a different formation that wasn’t prevalent at the time, but is very much today.

At that time the typical offensive formation was five offensive linemen, a tight end, quarterback, a fullback, a running back and two wide receivers. The Bills offense at the time consisted of five offensive linemen, a tight end, a quarterback, a running back and three wide receivers, which is the most used formation amongst offenses today. The huge success of the offense at that paved the way to how offenses look today.

Most offenses use the three wide receiver formation all the time, but not the no-huddle. Certain teams that have Hall of Fame quarterbacks like the New England Patriots Tom Brady and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning can run it successfully, because they understand defenses and what to do so much that they can make adjustments right then and there on the field without any guidance from coaches on the sidelines.

Also, drafting Manuel is the key to future Bills playoffs appearances is the fact that the Bills offense has come full circle.

The Bills this offseason fired head coach Chan Gailey after the season and hired Doug Marrone who was the Syracuse Orangemen head coach. His offensive coordinator then, who happens to be the Bills offensive coordinator now, is Nathaniel Hackett.

Hackett was previously the Bills offensive quality control coach from 2008-2009. In 2009 the Bills offensive coordinator was Alex Van Pelt who was one of Jim Kelly’s backups and instituted the no-huddle offense for the 2009 season. According to the Buffalo News, Hackett took advantage of the opportunity as he learned the ins and outs of the Bills “K-Gun” offense from Van Pelt and an old playbook that Jim Kelly gave to him.

So, that pretty much means that if the Bills are going to succeed they need a big strong-armed quarterback as the offense features the deep pass to spread the defense. Something that wasn’t the forte of 2012 Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

As for the reason it was a smart move by the Bills is simple.

One of the things that I didn’t realize or learn until after he was drafted is his direct connection to the Bills. That being his god father is Bills Hall Of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith. So, there is extra motivation for Manuel to succeed in the NFL something that he wouldn’t have with any other team.

So, like I said Manuel is the key to future Bills playoffs appearances.

By: Paul Kasprzak

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