ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Kyle Orton's retirement -- one that both general manager Doug Whaley and coach Doug Marrone said caught them by surprise Monday morning -- casts the spotlight yet again on the Buffalo Bills' quarterback position.
At the Bills' season-ending wrap-up news conference Monday afternoon, Whaley set the stage for what will be the team's glaring top priority this offseason.
"We'll leave all of our options open for acquiring a quarterback," Whaley said. "We don't want to put ourselves in a corner and show our hand."
The Bills enter the offseason with two quarterbacks on their roster: EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel, who was re-signed from the practice squad on Monday. After being benched after a 2-2 start this season, Manuel's future as the Bills' franchise quarterback is in doubt.
"Well, that's something we'll look at throughout this offseason," Whaley said. "By sheer numbers, we're going to have to add one, maybe two more. But that's something that we're going to go through with a fine-tooth comb and see if we can figure it out."
The Bills continue to characterize the decision to draft Manuel as being the consensus of the front office.
"I always say it’s a Buffalo Bills pick," Whaley said. "You guys can assign blame wherever you want but when we’re in draft meetings it is a consensus recommendation for our whole organization of where this guy is valued and where we should pick him in the draft."
When asked what he meant by assigning "blame" to the pick, Whaley clarified that he doesn't yet view Manuel as a bust.
"I wouldn’t say it was a failure," he said. "His career is not over. It’s just getting started. So that’s how I feel about it."