Bills' biggest key to success

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
12:00
PM ET
Manuel
What do the Buffalo Bills need to do over the next three seasons to be successful?

It's a question that moved into the spotlight when our ESPN Insider's "Future Power Rankings" were released Friday.

The Bills simply need to win, but winning in the NFL is easier said than done. It requires the right mix of talent, motivation and scheme -- plus a little bit of luck.

The Bills have improved their roster in recent seasons. Compare them player-by-player to their AFC East rivals and they stack up well at most positions. Whether it's been Buddy Nix or Doug Whaley choosing players in the draft, the Bills have unearthed some gems and developed others into quality starters.

The problem area remains at quarterback, where questions linger about EJ Manuel and his potential to lead the Bills into the playoffs. It's hardly "expert" analysis, but if Manuel grows into a franchise quarterback, then the Bills can be successful over the next three seasons.

Yet flexibility, especially at quarterback, could be the Bills' most realistic path to winning. Yes, talent development in the NFL is important, and attempting to groom Manuel into a star helps maintain stability within the organization. It also keeps the team on a steadier path toward success.

But in a high-stakes business like the NFL, knowing when to cut ties and spin the wheel again can often be key. There is an element of luck involved in this league. Keeping options open and showing a willingness to shake things up provides a team with more chances to hit it big.

Success for the Bills in the next three seasons will come with keeping an open mind. If Manuel isn't working out, moving on will be the key to moving forward.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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