NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Network's GameDay First that the Bills could reopen the quarterback competition, depending on how Manuel plays. Taylor has been ruled out for the game.
"With a solid performance today EJ Manuel really does have a chance to create a quarterback battle for next week and going forward throughout the season," Rapoport said.
The 25-year-old Manuel started four games last season after getting the nod in 10 as a rookie. Despite some flashes this preseason, Manuel wasn't able to beat out Taylor during training camp. Manuel's career 58.6 completion percentage and 6.4 yards per pass average highlight a dink-and-dunk passer who struggled to stretch the field and get through his progressions in his first two seasons.
However, the former first-round pick has "several key supporters inside the organization," according to Rapoport. One of those supporters is likely general manager Doug Whaley, who drafted the former Florida State product.
Manuel's superior size should allow him more opportunities to target Watkins over the middle, where the receiver does a lot of his damage. Feed the beast and perhaps Manuel could convince the staff he's worth considering for the long-term.
Barring an out-of-this world performance from Manuel, it would be a surprise if Taylor were bumped from the starting gig when healthy. At times this season Taylor's legs were the only reason the Bills moved the ball. While Taylor is prone to up-and-down play, nothing we've seen from Manuel that suggests he's an upgrade in consistency.
He'll have a chance to prove us wrong Sunday.