Maybe it's not terribly unusual for a second-year player to be overlooked for the honor, even if they're the starting quarterback. But like it or not, fair or not, Manuel is the face of the franchise. That his teammates don't consider him one of the six team leaders is, at the very least, telling.
As for Manuel, he enters the regular season with plenty of questions. He was unimpressive in the preseason and now he'll have newly signed veteran quarterback Kyle Orton looking over his shoulder.
Manuel showed glimpses of promise as a rookie, but as often happens to quarterbacks making the transition from college to the NFL, consistency -- from play to play and game to game -- was lacking.
ESPN Stats & Information brings this point home in crystal clear, sobering detail. "Manuel was among the NFL's least effective QBs on third down last season. Manuel ranked last in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.2) on third down and second to last in completion percentage (47.5)."
The Bills open the season next Sunday in Chicago. We wrote about it last month, but the best-case scenario for Buffalo is 8-8. Worst case? 5-11.