STATEMENT FROM BILLS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE
“EJ Manuel had some swelling in his left knee this morning and was examined by our medical staff. An MRI revealed that he will need to have a minor knee procedure and that has been scheduled. He will miss the remainder of the preseason and then be re-evaluated at that time. Kevin Kolb will be our starting quarterback for this weekend’s game at Washington. Additionally, wide receiver Kevin Elliott has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.”
EJ Manuel will be out for the remainder of the preseason with swelling in his knee. Manuel played all of the 3rd quarter in last nights preseason game and was very impressive. Manuel played with the second team offense as he and the Bills marched right down the field in 14 plays for a touchdown on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter.The drive ended with a touchdown pass to Brad Smith. Manuel completed all of his six passes on the scoring drive. The drive went 80 yards in 5:02.
This latest development opens the door for Kevin Kolb to try and win the starting quarterback job. Kolb was average in his first live action last night and midway through the preseason Manuel seemed to have had the job in hand. If Kolb can play well in Manuel’s absence, Buffalo may have no choice but to start him opening day against New England.
End of Update
Kevin Kolb got the start at quarterback for Buffalo who was looking to rebound after injuring himself a few weeks ago during a freak accident at practice. Rookie EJ Manuel looked very comfortable in the starting role last Sunday against the Colts so the pressure was on for Kolb to make a statement against the Vikings.
Kolb played the entire first half with a majority of the offensive starters but he was unable to “wow” anyone with his performance. He started off very slow as he threw an interception on his second pass attempt of the evening. It was the first interception thrown by a Bills quarterback this preseason.
Kolb was helped out by his defense after the interception as they held the Vikings to a long field goal attempt that missed wide right. The defense also stood tall on the next Vikings possession as they surrendered only a field goal. The defense gave the Bills the lead in the second quarter after an errant shotgun snap that went over the head of Vikings backup quarterback Matt Cassel. The ball rolled into the end zone where Jamie Blatnick dove on it for Buffalo resulting in a touchdown.
Kolb would pick things up towards the end of the half leading Buffalo to two field goals with under two minutes to go. He looked comfortable in the 2 minute drill and had a nice tempo with the offense. The Bills run a no-huddle system which helps them go fast all the time. Kolb had a solid completion to Robert Woods which helped lead to one of the field goals. Dustin Hopkins converted both attempts for Buffalo. Kolb would finish the first half with a stat line of 13 of 21 passing for 111 yards and an interception. Not a very impressive stat line from a guy trying to win the starting job. At times some fans booed at Kolb for not converting third down. When asked about it after the game Kolb laughed saying “I’ve been booed before”. Though he laughed off the question about the booing by the fans, it seems that in the court of public opinion Kolb may not be who the fans want to see behind center.
After sitting out the entire first half rookie EJ Manuel began the second half for Buffalo. Playing with the second team offense, Manuel wasted no time as he and the Bills marched right down the field in 14 plays for a touchdown. The drive ended when Manuel rolled to his right, stepped up and floated a 4 yard touchdown pass to a wide open Brad Smith. Manuel completed all of his six passes on the scoring drive. The drive went 80 yards in 5:02. Cheers of “EJ! EJ! EJ!” rang out through Ralph Wilson Stadium
Similar to the first preseason game Manuel looked very comfortable in the offense and didn’t attempt a pass for more than 10 yards. Head Coach Doug Marrone said going into the game that the Bills wanted to take some shots downfield but Minnesota’s Cover 2 scheme took away a lot of the downfield receivers causing Manuel and Kolb to hit many of the check down options. Manuel finished the game 10 of 12 passing for 92 yards and a score.
After the game Manuel expressed his excitement about playing his first game at home. “I was awesome being here in front of the home crowd. They have had a great showing at the practices and things like that these last couple of weeks. But being here and having a chance to play at the Ralph. It was awesome.”
Halfway through the preseason Manuel has the clear edge over Kolb for the starting quarterback position. Though Kolb has a smaller sample size, he was inaccurate for most of the first half and was unable to produce a touchdown with the first team offense. Manuel has been very poised so far this preseason and with only two games left before opening week vs. New England Kolb will have to play lights out in the final two exhibitions if he wants to win the spot. The Bills will take on the Washington Redskins next Saturday in the nation’s capital. That game will be the deciding factor for which quarterback Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett choose going forward.
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