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EJ Manuel Still In The Running To Start For Bills

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Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel feels like he’s ready to start, but has yet to be cleared for full practice as he recovers from knee surgery after swelling was discovered in the rookie’s left knee earlier this month.

First-year head coach Doug Marrone had said it wouldn’t take long to evaluate Manuel once he’s cleared for practice, but mentioned Manuel needs to practice by Wednesday in order to start the in the opener. With less than two weeks before kickoff, Manuel’s progression and ability to avoid any setbacks is crucial to the team’s decision to have the rookie quarterback take the field for Week 1.  

While that’s the hope for the Bills (as well as Manuel), plan B is to give the ball to undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. If the pieces fit for Tuel and he starts Week 1, he’d be the first undrafted rookie to do so on opening day in modern-day NFL history. Manuel, who missed the rest of preseason, played well in two games prior, completing 27-of-33 passes for 199 yards, two TDs and no picks.

While the rookie out of Florida State surprised people when he was the first quarterback taken off the board in this spring’s draft, Manuel has shown enough to impress the Bills prior to his surgery and has the ability to be the standout quarterback of this year’s draft class.