If a team has two quarterbacks, it probably doesn’t have one.
That sentiment is popular in football circles, and when the Buffalo Bills switched from second year man E.J. Manuel to Kyle Orton this week, it may be ringing true again. By switching things up only four games into the season, it leaves the notion of Buffalo’s signal caller steadiness significantly up in the air.
The Bills, disinchanted with Manuel, are turning to Orton, a veteran of plenty NFL wars including many against the very Detroit Lions he will face on Sunday at Ford Field. As a starter, Ortion is 4-0 against Detroit, throwing for 838 yards with no interceptions.
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Those wins, though, came against some very different competition. As Orton attempts to turn back the clock to some of his better days in the league, he’ll have to do so against a revamped Detroit defense that is near the top of the pack in plenty of statistical categories.
Not only can the defensive line heat up the quarterback and stop a running game, the backfield is making its share of big plays, too. Last week, Darius Slay made an excellent interception that helped turn the game around against the New York Jets. Overall, Detroit’s coverage has been much better, and they have eliminated many of the significant breakdowns which have cost them in the past.
Knowing this, Orton’s main test this week will not only come from Detroit’s aggressive defensive front, but from being able to identify his receivers and move the ball down field against a remade secondary. He’s got an explosive weapon at his disposal in Sammy Watkins, and will also need to find running backs out of the backfield to move the chains.
Orton’s main test this week will not only come from Detroit’s aggressive defensive front, but from being able to identify his receivers and move the ball down field against a remade secondary.
As a veteran, the Bills will also be counting on Orton to make the right throws to pick on youngsters like Slay, veterans like Rashean Mathis and newcomers like Danny Gorrer, all of whom have played well in recent weeks, but do remain vulnerable in spots. Someone like Orton gives Buffalo the best chance to possibly exploit these opportunities.
It’s been a long time since Orton faced the Lions, and he will no doubt feel the significant changes the team has made. As usual, though, whether or not the quarterback beats them will come down to his ability to accurately distribute the ball, and Detroit’s ability to stay at home and play as well as they have in recent weeks.
Considering he was inserted to do that on the road, it makes the matchup even more vital this time around.