Friday, December 27, 2013

Marrone wanted QB at '110' percent, Manuel wasn't


Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone made the call Friday on his starting quarterback this weekend, and it wasn't the choice E.J. Manuel hoped he'd make.

Thad Lewis will get the nod for Buffalo's season finale against the New England Patriots, as Manuel's knee ailment wasn't making the "progress" Marrone expected.

"He wanted to go out there and play," Marrone said, via, "but I need him to play at 110-percent for us to win. So he wasn’t going to be able to go out there and play at 110-percent.

"He could have played but not at the level that we need for us to win. Thad has done a nice job and he’s the backup quarterback so we’re putting him in there and he’ll be the starter Sunday."

Lewis is 2-2 as a starter this season, most recently helping the Bills oust the Miami Dolphins last week.

The third-year quarterback, who previously spent most of his young professional career on various practice squads, is being evaluated for a spot on next year's depth chart. He practiced with the first team throughout the week and is ready for his final pseudo tryout of the season.

"The preparation was great. I felt like I got an ample amount of reps to be able to go out and compete," Lewis said. "It's another great opportunity to try to go out and help this team get a win."

Manuel, meanwhile, has missed six games this season to a pair of knee injuries. He also nearly sat out of the season opener to a different knee ailment. The team appears committed to him as the franchise signal-caller going into next year, but it has to be somewhat wary of his inability to stay on the field.

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