Doug Marrone “hoping” E.J. Manuel can return for opener

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After the Bills lost quarterback Kevin Kolb to a possible concussion on Saturday, coach Doug Marrone summed up the team’s situation at quarterback rather tidily when he said that things were not “fine and dandy” at the position.

The team is reportedly bringing in veterans Matt Leinart and John Beck for workouts so they can add a healthy body alongside Jeff Tuel for the remainder of the preseason, but going with an undrafted rookie and a veteran castoff at quarterback clearly wasn’t what the team was hoping to do for the season opener. That’s why Marrone remains hopeful that first-round pick E.J. Manuel can make it back from knee surgery in time to play the Patriots on September 8.

“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Marrone said, via the team’s website. “He had the procedure done and he was with us on the field the other day just watching and observing. I think we just have to wait until that period where the doctor looks at him and says, ‘Here’s where we are.’ Because people recover so differently from minor stuff.”

Marrone also mentioned wide receiver Brad Smith, who played quarterback in college, and running back Fred Jackson as emergency options at quarterback for the Bills, but having those names come up in discussion merely underscores the need for the Bills to shore up the position while getting Manuel back as soon as possible.