Stevie Johnson's production hindered by EJ Manuel's inconsistency, says Doug Marrone

Tom Szczerbowski

Stevie Johnson is on pace for his worst season in a long time, and head coach Doug Marrone is blaming the struggles on E.J. Manuel.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is on pace to finish with under 1,000 yards for the first time since 2009, and head coach Doug Marrone is clear on what he believes the reason is.

Marrone said in a report from John Wawrow of the Associated Press that up-and-down performances from rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel is the primary reason for Johnson's lack of production.

"We have a young quarterback and we've got to keep that coming," Marrone said. "Consistency, that's what we need from everyone."

Manuel has played in nine game this season, passing for 250-plus yards once back in Week 2. Early-season inconsistency continued after he returned from injury, posting a passer rating of 85 or more in two games and under 70 in another two. Despite the struggles at the quarterback position, Johnson is adamant that he wants to remain in Buffalo.

"I started off with a goal here, and I want to complete it," Johnson said. "If I was to be out of here before I complete that goal, I'd be (ticked) off, man, at myself because I let myself down, I let the fans down and ultimately my family because they settled in here."

Johnson's best game unsurprisingly came in Manuel's top performance, catching eight passes for 111 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. Since that time he hasn't posted another 100 yard game, failing to reach 50 yards on five occasions.

Fault doesn't lie solely with the quarterback however, as Johnson is tied for 12th in the NFL with six dropped passes.

The Buffalo Bills have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but it would take a series of surprising results for them to earn their way into the 2013 playoffs. This year is about evaluation and growth, and finding consistency at the quarterback position is the first step.

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