Is it possible the Bills are actually 2-0 and all alone atop the AFC East? There was every reason to believe this season could be a disaster in Buffalo. Ownership changes usually put everyone on edge. Reports surfaced on the eve of opening weekend Marrone got into a shouting match with front office execs. Players were allegedly rolling their eyes at his suggestion he should be nicknamed Saint Doug for making miracles at Syracuse and Buffalo.
But maybe Marrone is onto something. His offense has plenty of playmakers – CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson, Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins – but the key is the development of EJ Manuel.
He’s completing almost 67 percent of his passes and averaging a solid 7.8 yards an attempt. His TD:INT ratio isn’t outstanding (2:1), but he’s been sacked only once and has a passer rating of 95.4.
Watkins says there’s plenty of optimism:
“He’s getting better, everybody is getting better. We believe in the offense. The coaches are calling good plays, putting us in great situations and each week I feel like he’s [EJ Manuel] gaining more confidence in us and it’s just going to keep getting better.”
In fact, you can now get odds on Manuel leading the NFL at the end of the year in passing yards. He’s at 100-1, same as Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson. It’s a long shot, but Manuel has been better than most expected this early. Peyton Manning is the favorite at 3:1.
Is it possible Marrone actually turns the Bills around? His Syracuse success often felt more like he happily strolled into Ryan Nassib’s accuracy and quick thinking, instead of being a great offensive mind. But if he wins in Buffalo and develops Manuel, maybe that Saint moniker won’t be far off.