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Bills should tell EJ Manuel to brace himself

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The Buffalo Bills have a lot of time and money invested in EJ Manuel.

You can say they have future assets invested him, too, if you believe they will refuse to take another quarterback early in May's draft.

It's time for the Bills to force Manuel to wear braces on both knees.

Manuel suffered his third knee injury in four months and will miss his seventh game Sunday. A left knee injury required surgery and sidelined him for two preseason exhibitions. A right knee injury in Week Five knocked him out of the next four games.

Manuel has been wearing a full brace on his right knee to protect that injury, but he sprained his left knee in last Sunday's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I asked Bills coach Doug Marrone on Wednesday if the Bills would mandate braces on both knees.

"You see a lot of quarterbacks brace their left knee even though they haven't had any problems," Marrone said. "We've had tape and a brace on the left. We had the brace on the right.

"I take information from our doctors and trainers, and I go from there. That's probably better answered by them. Their recommendation is what I do. For me to say I believe in something and the data from the doctors and trainers don't prove that would be foolish on my part."

Manuel went back and forth with a light brace on his left knee in early September but said he eventually got used to it.

Both Manuel and Marrone used the adjective "freak" when describing the knee injuries, but all three of Manuel's setbacks have been football-related, the type of contact that happens all over the field every quarter in every game every week.

Manuel didn't trip over a tarp or step on a sewer grate. He was hit by players from the other team. None was dirty or drew a penalty.

A big part of Manuel's allure is the ability to scramble when the pocket breaks down or take off on designed runs. The best options to limit his chances of getting hurt are to keep him in the pocket and make him one dimensional or force him to wear braces.

Or, I suppose, the Bills simply can say to themselves, "Gee, what are the odds of three knee injuries in four months? No way that's going to happen again."

  • jcw_industries

    Johnny Football.

    • LDawg

      He'd never come to this dump.

      • chuck

        L Dawg the only dump is you! lol Go for johnny..

        • LDawg

          That's not what your mother said last night Chuckles.

        • Moonfeet

          LDawg is right....Johnny Football wouldn't come here any more than Joe Namath would have. And if you remember, Jim Kelly actually dropped out of the NFL draft and went to the USFL just to avoid playing in Buffalo. Buffalo is a nice city...and not a dump....but it's a small time city....with not enough "glitz" to keep these "celebrities" happy.

    • Alan Grant

      He will be a bust. Manziel is a spoiled rich kid and will never produce at the NFL Level.

  • CW1

    EJ is already physically awkward at end of runs, slow to see the field and unable to protect himself. Just how do braces help with that?

  • ptato22

    I'm starting to get on the "draft another QB" bandwagon. What could it hurt? If they're both good, we could trade one or have 2 good ones like Washington. But only if there is a chance at a very good one, otherwise we have needs elsewhere. These are difficult decisions, but if we get our analytics guy to work, I'd be curious to know what he comes up with concerning just drafting the best QB available or whatever.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.