Doug Marrone hedges his bet on EJ Manuel starting season finale
Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone this afternoon didn't put a percentage on the chances of rookie quarterback EJ Manuel starting Sunday's season finale against the New England Patriots, but it sounded decidedly less than the "110 percent" it was last week.
"EJ came in today. Obviously he was with the trainers," Marrone said, "and looking forward to seeing him out there tomorrow and how he feels."
When asked if he was still "110 percent" confident Manuel would play -- as he was last week -- Marrone replied: "Well, I mean I'm the coach. When people ask me, that's how I usually go about it with players. You know, I think it's a process and, you know, we'll get him out there tomorrow and take a peek at him."
Marrone was subsequently asked whether Manuel had suffered a setback to the left knee injury he suffered in Week 15 against Jacksonville.
"When you say setback as far as everything that we've been doing, no. It's just a part of a process and we'll get him out there on the field," the coach said. "We decided to rest him, you know, for the things that we wanted to do on the field ... to get the maximum amount of time and we'll put him out there tomorrow."
The Bills are 2-3 without Manuel in the lineup this season. Backup Thad Lewis has directed both victories -- each of which came against the Miami Dolphins and included Sunday's 19-0 win in the home finale at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Marrone was asked if there was a chance Manuel could miss the game against New England.
"I think there's always a chance," he said. " There's a chance that someone could come in here tomorrow and say, you know, 'I don't feel well.' So I think it's very difficult. ... I'm one of those guys. I really don't know a lot when it comes down to the specifics of injuries, I've been that way since training camp. But I'm always pushing, trying to get them out there and trying to get them to play. And I'm optimistic."