BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
EJ Manuel will not play against the Miami Dolphins in 2013.
On Wednesday afternoon, Doug Marrone announced Manuel will not play in Week 16 due to a left knee sprain. Manuel’s knee apparently swelled up on Tuesday, which limited his mobility.
While Manuel was ruled out for Week 16, Marrone seemed confident that the rookie signal caller will start in Week 17.
Marrone on EJ Manuel: “I am 110% confident that he will play against New England”
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) December 18, 2013
This is the third knee injury that will cause Manuel to miss time in 2013. Manuel missed two preseason games after a minor procedure in his left knee, then missed four regular season games after spraining his right knee against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5.
The 2013 season has been a roller-coaster ride for Manuel. At times, he has shown why he was the first quarterback off the board in this year’s NFL draft, but he’s also had his fair share of poor games.
In a season that was supposed to be about the development of Manuel, he will only play in a maximum of 11 games. Needless to say, that development has been hindered by his injuries.
Coach Marrone told the media Wednesday that he does not believe his quarterback is injury prone, according to the Bills’ Twitter account, but three knee injuries in a year are no coincidence.
Regardless of what Marrone says, Buffalo needs to evaluate its roster of quarterbacks this offseason to determine if it should add another quarterback to the roster via free agency or the draft.
Buffalo isn’t likely to shell out big bucks for a proven starter like Jay Cutler, but there are other veterans in free agency who could help the team.
In the draft, the Bills have more pressing needs to address, but could anyone blame the team if they drafted another quarterback in the second round or later?
One thing to make clear: drafting or signing another quarterback would not mean the Bills are giving up on Manuel. It could mean the Bills bring in competition to push Manuel and to provide themselves insurance in case Manuel gets injured again. It could also mean the Bills are serious about winning next year and beyond, because the NFL requires strong quarterback play, and the Bills need to have that whether or not Manuel is healthy and whether or not Manuel develops into the franchise quarterback he has the potential to be.