He’s been working with the starting unit for the past week at training camp. On Sunday Manuel will remain in that role in Buffalo’s preseason opener. Manuel was named the starter for the Bills first preseason game against the Colts in Indianapolis Sunday afternoon.
“I think we all know that Kevin (Kolb) has been gone for a couple of days and coming off an injury and we’re just working him back in and we’re going to dress him for the game, but EJ will start the game,” said head coach Doug Marrone Friday following the team’s night practice. “He’ll get in there and play and we’ll probably get Jeff (Tuel) in there too.”
Marrone was not specific on just how much work Manuel would see on Sunday, but knowing Kolb is essentially serving as an emergency quarterback the Bills top pick could play as much as half the game.
“EJ is going to start the game,” he said. “Jeff (Tuel) is going to play in the game, but I can’t tell you how long each one is (going to play).”
Naturally Manuel was happy to get the nod.
“Very excited. We’ve worked out very hard these past two weeks,” said Manuel. “I know we’re going to be very excited to play a different team. Not playing against our own defense and our defense playing against us, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Manuel, who ran the first team offense in the Bills Monday night live intra-squad scrimmage, has already taken some lessons from that practice in preparation for Sunday’s preseason opener.
“I think it’s to relax,” said Manuel. “Go play football and do what you’ve been coached. There’s no difference, obviously it picked up as far as speed and whatnot, but that had nothing to do with how I played. So I feel the biggest thing was just go out and relax and play football.”
Marrone isn’t putting any expectations on his top rookie signal caller for his first preseason game. He’s just looking for competent play and a victory.
“I’d like to see EJ and the rest of the players be very competitive and go out there and win the game,” said Marrone.