Monday, October 28, 2013

Bills QB Manuel 'ramping up' toward ... something


Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel has been doing mainly cardio and strength training of late in his path back to the starting lineup.

His next step? According to his coach, it's getting "ramped up."

Doug Marrone snagged the phrase from a reporter Monday during his press conference and used it more than once to describe his plans for the starting quarterback in the upcoming weeks. What exactly he has in store, however, is something he was careful not to be too presumptuous about.

"He’ll be working extremely hard this week," Marrone said, via "I can’t answer the question, ‘Is he going to be practicing or not?’ I don’t want to get in to that and have it explode, but he’s going to be working extremely hard to a level of a great stage for where we should be.

"I have to watch him; I haven’t seen him out there yet. We’re getting ready to ramp him up so we’re going to throw him out there and see how he does."

Whether Manuel is going to take snaps this week in practice, and how many that could be, is uncertain at this point. As Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News noted Monday, the first step toward that goal was having the rookie on the sideline during Sunday's loss in New Orleans. 

"We're just trying to get him in a developmental stage where we keep working him, giving him different things to do, you know, give him a different perspective," Marrone said. "I really think we're trying to be proactive in how we are developing our players that are injured."

Getting Manuel as involved as possible is a smart move for Marrone and the Bills, particularly in non-contact situations where the threat of re-aggravation is out of the picture. Don't expect the coaching staff to rush him back under center though, especially with the team at 3-5 and looking down the barrel at an undefeated Chiefs team in Week 9. 

Under current projections, the earliest Manuel would return would be Week 11 for the team's divisional match-up against the New York Jets. But barring some truly monumental steps in his rehab in the next couple weeks, it's reasonable to assume the first-round pick won't be back until after the team's bye week, which would be Week 13 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily