Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) tries to get away from Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch (90) during the first half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

E.J. Manuel will start next week

Despite attending practice yesterday, Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel was ruled out of this week’s game against the Miami Dolphins after the Bills decided that Manuel’s knee didn’t look good enough. It was a surprising move made by Marrone and the Bills, but it was an admirable one, since they know how much they need to protect their first-round investment. Even though his knee injury is minor, it’s also Manuel’s third knee injury of the season, so the Bills are more inclined to play things cautiously.

After this week’s game against the Dolphins (Thad Lewis will be the starter), the Bills will finish off the season against another division rival in the New England Patriots. Will Manuel play in Week 17? We’ll let Doug Marrone answer that, via Bills official site beat writer Chris Brown, “Every snap, every time we can get him in there, that type of experience, the better and better he gets. And we’ve seen that with him. We’ve seen, make no mistake about it, last game we saw him get off to a tough start and then really start to play well. We’ve seen him, at times, play extremely well in games.  And that type of experience, that’s what we need.  So, that’s why it’s not ‑‑ I don’t even think of (sitting him for the season).”

Perfect answer. While the Bills are exercising plenty of caution with Manuel’s knee injury, they also realized that these reps are extremely valuable in his development, especially reps against the Patriots (not only are they a great team in their division, but it would also expose Manuel to intricate defensive looks). Manuel desperately needs as much playing time as possible both for his own growth and, also, for the Bills to have a better idea of his skill-set.

Marrone stated that he is “110 percent confident” that E.J. Manuel will start against the Patriots, which is also notable since is confirms that Manuel’s knee issue is only minor.

Tags: Buffalo Bills Doug Marrone E.J. Manuel Injury Report

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