The Bills sent out a short press release on Wednesday morning that will give their fans some hope.
ORCHARD PARK, NY - Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone announced today that QB EJ Manuel will start the team’s Week One game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, September 8th at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
While the timing of that is strange – most coaches are averse to giving up any information this early in the week, and also hate to proclaim an injured player ready to go before the team has its first big practice of the week on Wednesday – maybe it will calm a region that had to be a little nervous about the idea of undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel starting against the Patriots to start the season.
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Manuel had said last week that Tuel starting was the most likely scenario, but it appears that was to keep the pressure off Manuel as he returned from minor knee surgery.
Manuel had the procedure done after the Bills' second preseason game. Before that, the first-round pick from Florida State looked pretty sharp.
Manuel was 16-of-21 for 107 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener. In his second preseason game he was 10-of-12 for 92 yards and a touchdown. After he was shelved with the knee injury, veteran Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion that ended his season, which really put the Bills in a bad spot if Manuel didn't recover quickly.
Manuel has been cleared to go, which is great news for the Bills. Manuel's regular-season debut will be a little more challenging than either of those first two preseason games, but the Bills should be a little more optimistic about their chances now.