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NFL AM: Bills Preparing Without Starting QB Tyrod Taylor

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Bills Sign Josh Johnson

Whenever Josh Johnson is signed to a roster, it usually means that the starting quarterback has some sort of ailment.

Johnson was signed each of the last two weeks by the Indianapolis Colts, who would be without starting quarterback Andrew Luck.

It’s now the Buffalo Bills turn, as quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered an injury to his MCL and will miss at least Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and quite possibly the October 26th game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It appears that former first-round pick E.J. Manuel will get the start.  After being benched in favor of Kyle Orton last season, Manuel was virtually left for dead as a starting quarterback.

The eye test says a lot more about Manuel than the stat sheet does.  On paper, Manuel has completed 58.6 percent of his throws, for 2,810 yards with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.  That’s not horrible for a young quarterback.

In reality, Manuel hasn’t shown the ability to read defenses and he doesn’t make anyone around him better.  As one NFL scout told Football Insiders, “He has slow eyes.”

At 3-2, the Bills are trying to hang in the playoff race and Sunday’s game against the Bengals isn’t really that important.  Buffalo would be an underdog and expected to lose even if they were playing at full strength.

It’s the game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars that they need to win.  A slip-up against a one-win team isn’t acceptable if Buffalo is going to erase the NFL’s longest playoff drought.

Cowboys Turn To Cassel

After three straight Brandon Weeden-led losses, the Dallas Cowboys are turning to former Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Cassel to try and fill in for Tony Romo.

Although Weeden was fairly accurate in his latest starting stint, he can’t make the throws necessary to lead a fully functional NFL offense.

Our own John Owning spoke about the need for the switch on Tuesday.

Some point to the fact that Weeden has completed 72.4 percent of his passes as a reason why the blame shouldn’t really fall on his shoulders; however, that is ignoring the fact that he also has passed for the least amount of yards through the air among qualifying quarterbacks, which basically means passing yards minus yards made after the catch, with just 337 yards, a full 105 yards behind the next quarterback Teddy Bridgewater per Pro Football Focus.

This means that Weeden is not stretching the defense, which allows them to crowd the box and defend the run without fear of getting beat deep. This has led to the Dallas offense stalling out on many of their drives, which puts the defense in bad positions.

If you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan, don’t expect miracles out of Matt Cassel.  He was “just a guy” in the prime of his career and at this point he’s something less than that.

After three straight losses, it’s completely understandable why the Cowboys are making the switch.  Even if it’s a switch solely for the sake of change.

Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams Can’t Wear Pink

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

The NFL’s equipment rules which govern what players can and can not wear on the field is a good, necessary rule….. in most situations.

The league wants uniformity to sell their brand and that makes sense…in most situations.

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams asked the league if he could wear pink, which the NFL allows during the month of October to promote Breast Cancer Awareness.

For Williams, the cause is very personal.  The former Panthers first-round pick lost four of his aunt’s to breast cancer and last year his mother succumbed to the terrible disease.

Williams contacted NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent to seek permission to keep wearing pink on his uniform after October ends. But Vincent said pink is only to be worn in October, and there are no exceptions.

He told me no. I’m assuming they are telling everybody else no as well,” Williams told ESPN.

Williams has dyed part of his hair pink which is allowable by NFL rules.

“The hair, it’s part of the uniform from the standpoint of being tackled, but it’s not specific on what color it has to be or if it has to match the uniform,” he said.

Williams also is putting his money where his hair dye is, as he donated money to fund 53 mammograms for women.  The reason he is donating 53 of them is because his mother lived to be 53 years old.

Most rules are necessary, but sometimes there should be exceptions.  This is one of those times.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.