Manuel May "Re-Charge" The Bills
By Jo E. Prout
The Buffalo Bills touted a "Re-Charge" campaign a mere nine weeks ago. Does anyone in Buffalo remember that slogan? With a 3-6 season so far, the Bills’ “Re-Charge” delivery has clearly stumbled and is in need of a little recharging, itself. Will Buffalo be able to get back up in time to salvage its season?
Possibly. The Bills took on the AFC leaders, the Kansas City Chiefs, with a second-string quarterback and a physically-recovering defensive line, which, together, led the Chiefs until half-time. Admittedly, Buffalo fell short and seemed to deflate once Kansas City got on the scoreboard; the Bills lost to the Chiefs 23-13. The team dynamic, however, may soon gel into a winning force.
The Bills’ highly-publicized ace in the hole, quarterback E.J. Manuel, may be ready to come back from a knee injury before Buffalo takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manuel could be the charge the Bills have been desperately waiting for.
“When he was in there he was doing a very good job,” Head Coach Doug Marrone said of Manuel this week. “Where we have to be careful, though, is… to make sure he’s 100 percent, and not [put] a player out there that can jeopardize himself.”
Doctors cleared Manuel with time enough to provide a full week of practice on the field, but whether Manuel’s knee holds out remains to be seen.
“The percentage is what we feel like, whether he can win the game for us or not,” Marrone said about Manuel starting against Pittsburgh. “I don’t know if there is a percentage yet, it’s just a matter of can we put this player out there and can we win with him.”
Manuel was only one of many injured Bills players who suffered setbacks early in the season. At one point, the defensive line shuffled through Buffalo like there was no tomorrow.
“I think that we’re getting healthier in the back end which is helping us,” Marrone said. “I think the guys up front are doing a very good job of getting off blocks. The linebackers have been coming up in the holes.
“We’re getting healthier,” Marrone continued. “We’re starting to play together… When you get players back – having to play with people when there is a lot of things going on, a lot of checks, a lot of having a good feel for the guy next to you – those things have been rapidly improving on that side of the ball.”
Buffalo has a good chance to pick itself up if it can keep a healthy quarterback on the field and hold itself together against a strong opponent. The Bills’ season is far from over. A win against Pittsburgh could give Buffalo quite a charge, indeed.