Ever since they made him the first quarterback selected in the 2013 draft, people have wondered if the Bills would start E.J. Manuel at quarterback in Week One against the Patriots.
The route to Week One wasn’t the anticipated one, featuring knee surgery for Manuel and a concussion for his chief competition Kevin Kolb that made people do some quick learning about undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. The Bills didn’t wind up keeping a third quarterback on their 53-man roster, however, and Manuel was back at practice on Sunday to set the stage for Wednesday’s announcement that Manuel will indeed be starting.
The Bills made the announcement Wednesday morning after coach Doug Marrone told the players at a team meeting. The biggest focus for the coaches and trainers was making sure Manuel’s knee was sound enough to allow him the mobility to avoid pressure in the pocket when it comes his way. Manuel did well enough to convince Marrone and, according to the team, will be the 13th quarterback drafted in the first round to start in Week One since 2000.
The Bills certainly hope Manuel will take after fellow members of the list Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III more than Kyle Boller or Mark Sanchez. We’ll start finding out on Sunday.