Even without a C, teammates say E.J. Manuel a “great leader”

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We noted earlier this week that the Bills elected six captains, none of whom were quarterback E.J. Manuel.

That forced Bills coach Doug Marrone to tap-dance a bit, explaining that Manuel will still be expected to lead, just without the signifier of such leadership sewn onto his jersey.

“If you look at it, it’s mostly veteran guys that have been around,” Marrone said of his six captains, two of them new to the Bills this offseason. “I think that [quarterback] position has leadership qualities in it just by the position itself.”

Likewise, running back Fred Jackson (who was one of the captains) said he’s been impressed with Manuel’s work.

“He’s a great leader. He breaks down the offense and things like that all the time. Gives us knowledge,” Jackson said. “It’s just one of those things, when we have a lot of veteran leadership on the team. In time, he’ll definitely be named a captain at some point.”

Of course, playing better would help. If Manuel had led the Bills to a few more wins like last year’s comeback against the Panthers, his standing wouldn’t be in doubt.
But his inability to assert himself as a quality quarterback has created the question, and necessitated the Bills plunking down a pile of money for veteran backup Kyle Orton.