Here are my three thoughts on the Buffalo Bills as they begin preparing in earnest for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins:
1. EJ Manuel gets a break as the Bills ship Matt Cassel to Dallas. The Cassel trade was somewhat surprising, given that the Bills -- after cutting him on Sept. 5 and re-signing him shortly thereafter at a reduced salary -- made him the No. 2 quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor. It seemed logical the Bills would want Cassel's 11 years of NFL experience as an insurance policy, especially with Taylor making the first starts of his pro career the past two weeks and Manuel being demoted to third string after making only 14 career starts the past two seasons. But now Manuel moves into the No. 2 spot, which presumably is the way General Manager Doug Whaley preferred seeing the QB depth chart if Manuel, whom he supports more than anyone in the organization, wasn't starting.
2. You begin to wonder what the QB depth shuffle means for Taylor. After a solid performance in the season-opener against Indianapolis, he struggled badly for long stretches of Sunday's loss against New England. The Patriots' defense needed only one series to make adjustments that confused him and only compounded problems also caused by shaky pass protection. Taylor wound up being sacked eight times and throwing three interceptions, including a high pass that resulted in the final pick that sealed the outcome. It is hardly out of the realm of possibility for the Bills to be forced to make a quarterback change at some point during the season, either through injury or poor play. And it's clear now that if that were to happen, Whaley would prefer to see the Bills' first-round pick from 2013 take over rather than a veteran journeyman. Manuel, who was inactive Sunday, could benefit if there's a short leash on Taylor.
3. What do the Bills do for a third quarterback? We should get the answer to that today. Available possibilities include Josh Johnson (cut by the New York Jets on Sept. 5), Matt Flynn (also released by the Jets on Sept. 5 and who was with the Bills briefly in 2013), and Christian Ponder (released by Oakland after the preseason). All three worked out for the Cowboys Tuesday before they acquired Cassel.
Bills head coach Rex Ryan will have his weekly Wednesday media session at 10:45 a.m., which is followed by the team's practice at 11:45. Player media sessions will follow practice.