2013 DRAFT GUIDE
QB Manuel's return provides Bills a boost

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-06 18:46

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Bills' monthlong shuffle at quarterback is coming to an end after rookie starter EJ Manuel returned to practice Wednesday.

Manuel's presence on the field, and the expectation that he'll be ready to step in immediately and start against the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) on Sunday, has provided the Bills a much-needed lift.

''Yeah, we're excited to get EJ back,'' center Eric Wood said. ''Hopefully, it gives us a boost, offensively.''

And don't underestimate the importance of Manuel re-establishing stability at a position that was mostly unsettled in the four weeks since the first-round draft pick out of Florida State sprained his right knee.

''He's the guy that we wanted to be back there, and we've got him back there now,'' running back Fred Jackson said.

''To get some stability there, a guy that's going to be there for the remainder of the season hopefully is something that can help this offense move in the right direction.''

The Bills (3-6) were going nowhere in losing three of four without Manuel, who was hurt in a 37-24 loss at Cleveland on Oct. 3.

The injury prompted a scramble by the team to find a capable replacement at a position where Buffalo lacked experienced depth.

Journeyman Thad Lewis was promoted from the practice squad to take over as interim starter after undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel struggled filling in for Manuel against the Browns.

Lewis went 1-2 before he was sidelined by bruised ribs, which led to Tuel making his first career start in a 23-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend.

Tuel's inexperience was once again evident against the Chiefs. He threw two interceptions, the second one returned 100 yards for a touchdown in a game where Buffalo squandered a 10-3 halftime lead and outgained Kansas City 470-210.

Manuel was cleared to play earlier this week after spending most of last week working out individually.

On Wednesday, Manuel showed no signs of a limp while dropping back to pass, and he completed several throws into gusty winds during a 20-minute portion of practice open to the media.

''Yeah, very confident. Pushing off it fine. Running around and making plays,'' Manuel said. ''It's still up to coach as far as what we want to do as a team, but I definitely feel confident going into Sunday.''

Coach Doug Marrone liked what he saw, and acknowledged that Manuel is expected to start barring any setbacks.

''From a standpoint of being healthy, he's fine,'' Marrone said. ''Now it's just to the point of really trying to get him back.''

Plan B would be starting Lewis, who also returned to practice Wednesday.

Manuel might not have all that much more experience than Lewis or Tuel. But he has had the most time in learning Marrone's offense, and showed a capability of running it in going 2-2 before he was hurt.

In four-plus games, Manuel went 85 of 150 for 985 yards passing with five touchdowns with three interceptions and a lost fumble.

Lewis and Tuel combined to produce similar numbers in going 88 of 162 for 961 yards and four touchdowns.

They struggled in protecting the ball by committing eight giveaways: five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns; and three lost fumbles.

At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Manuel has a strong arm and provides an element of mobility to the Bills' up-tempo attack.

The only issue with him is avoiding hits, as happened against Cleveland when he elected to keep running rather than get out of bounds before being struck in the right knee by safety Tashaun Gipson. Manuel also missed the final two preseason games with a left knee injury.

Manuel is defensive when it comes to answering questions about his running style. He went so far as to describe his latest injury as ''a freak accident.''

''If I lifted my knee up a half-inch more it wouldn't have been a problem,'' he said.

Manuel added it hasn't been yet determined whether he'll play with a protective brace.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

Terrelle PryorApr 19 01:02p

The Oakland Raiders will release QB Terrelle Pryor if they are not able to trade him by Monday, April 21.

LaMichael JamesApr 19 12:22p

The Kansas City Chiefs could consider pursuing San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James if he could become a slot receiver. The team likely would not have interest in James [ More ]

Matt HasselbeckApr 19 12:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to retire after the 2014 season.

Asa JacksonApr 19 12:12p

Baltimore Ravens CBs Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson are expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback job during training camp. If the team takes a cornerback in one [ More ]

Michael FordApr 19 11:32a

The Chicago Bears probably will select a running back in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to compete with RB Michael Ford for the No. 2 running [ More ]

Jordan PalmerApr 19 09:52a

The Chicago Bears could target a quarterback in the late rounds of the NFL Draft or in free agency to provide competition for backup QB Jordan Palmer.

Cam NewtonApr 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) remains in a walking boot about a month after ankle surgery. The team is hopeful Newton will be ready to go for training camp.

Michael RobinsonApr 19 12:02a

The Seattle Seahawks have not tried to re-sign free-agent FB Michael Robinson this offseason.

Russell AllenApr 18 11:42p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen (concussion) after he failed a physical.

Kendrick LewisApr 18 08:32p

Houston Texans FS Kendrick Lewis and SS Chris D. Clemons are expected to compete for the starting free safety job during training camp.

Trent RichardsonApr 18 08:22p

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it will be important for RB Trent Richardson to participate in all of the offseason workouts so he can get more comfortable [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group