Is it hyperbolic to state that this is the biggest game of Erik James Manuel's career? Manuel will be matched up against the Bills former starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the guy he basically ushered out of town before last season.
Management, from some reports out of OBD, is getting nervous about not only Manuel's development but their own careers. A new owner usually means new everything especially if the Bills don't win this year. If they aren't winning with Manuel, their guy from the beginning, the Dougs and co. will have to replace him and soon. That process will excellerate with an embarrassing loss to ol noodle arm fitzyFitzpatrick.
I'm not arguing the Bills should replace Erik if he gets out played by Fitzpatrick Sunday but everyone else will. Then again if noodle arm does outperform Manuel and especially in a loss I may be close to washing my hands with him.
The coaches are to blame (for the most part) in retarding Manuel's growth. He is more scared now than ever to take shots literally and figuritively. Marrone said as much earlier this week when he was glad Erik avoids hits at all costs and goes out of bounds.
This is the biggest game of Manuel's career. A loss will be bad but if he lays a complete egg and gets out played badly or even MILDLY by Fitzpatrick the fans will revolt. For whatever reason, Ryan noodle-arm fitzyFitzpatrick was well liked here. The terrible optics of him, the castoff former starter, beating the first round 2nd year qb will be impossible to shake. It will be repeated forever, or until the guy is gone, that he lost to ol' noodle arm.
It isn't a must win but a bad L coupled with a pourous Manuel performance will leave a lasting memory. But say the Bills drop the next two and it is unlikely the Patriots win their next two both in primetime. At worst, then, in three weeks the Patriots come to the Ralph in a battle for first place. Manuel could go a long way, assuming he is still the starter, of repairing his image with a win against Thomas Brady in fifteen days.
Christ, just beat fitz, he sucks!