2014 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

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

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