Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Manuel 'confident' but Marrone noncommittal


Four weeks after leaving mid-game with a knee injury, Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel says he's ready to get back under center. Now, it comes down to whether coach Doug Marrone agrees.

The rookie was a full participant in Bills practice Wednesday, the first time he's been back on the field for a full workload since the third quarter of Week 5 against the Browns.

"I definitely feel confident going into Sunday," Manuel said after practice, via

Manuel said the call on whether he's in the lineup is ultimately up to his coach, though he expects to "just go back in and make plays." Marrone's decision on whether his No. 1 pick starts this weekend isn't so cut and dry, however, as Thad Lewis also fully participated in practice Wednesday.

Lewis, who sat out last weekend due to a rib injury he sustained the week prior, went 1-2 in Manuel's absence but ran the offense better than many expected. The 25-year-old held a 60 percent completion rating and a 3-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his three games, which yielded a quarterback rating of 80.2 for his effort.

Marrone's assessment of Manuel's physical condition was extremely positive Wednesday, saying the signal-caller had no visible limp or indication he'd be limited in preparations this week. The test now seems to be which man can bounce back more quickly.

"I think both guys have been out for a while so there is a little bit of, for lack of a better term, rust that they are working through," Marrone said. "I am just going to keep it going during the week and I think that we will see where we go as far as who the starter is. 

"E.J. has obviously taken more reps than Thad right now. I just want to make sure I feel comfortable before I come out with a statement. Right now we are working with both those guys."

Regardless of who takes the snaps Sunday, the offense will likely be out one of its rookie receivers and possibly another. Marrone said he "did not feel that good" about No. 2 wideout Robert Woods's availability, and speedster Marquise Goodwin's status is also uncertain.

Woods suffered an ankle injury in last weekend's loss to the Chiefs, while Goodwin is struggling to overcome a hamstring injury and will practice in limited fashion Thursday.

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