After the Bills finished their preseason opener on Friday night, coach Rex Ryan’s comments made it sound like the team was moving toward turning their three-way quarterback derby into a two-man race.
Sunday’s practice didn’t do anything to send a different message. Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor split reps with the first team while EJ Manuel worked exclusively with the third team, just as he did against the Panthers. After practice Ryan explained why things broke down that way.
“He’s going to get the majority of the game running with that group this second preseason game, so that’s the reasoning behind it,” Ryan said, via the Buffalo News. “Does that mean he won’t get the two reps? No. It doesn’t mean that at all, but is want we wanted to do. We’re going to put Tyrod in and mix in Matt. As the week goes on, don’t be surprised if he does get some two’s. I know you guys want to look into anything, but I don’t think you need to. We’ve been working this thing for how long now? It’s been the same type of rotation for probably three weeks.”
The story summed it up pretty well: Taylor will start the game against the Browns and as much as Ryan would seem to prefer no one reads anything into his decisions, they become telling at a certain point. Manuel may benefit from the increased reps he’ll get with the third team, but it certainly seems that a team seriously considering him as a starter would also want to see him with the player he’d be sharing the team with in that role.