Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- When we last left the Buffalo Bills and their Week 17 quarterback saga, head coach Doug Marrone said that they wanted to get starting quarterback EJ Manuel through the rest day on Wednesday and see how his injured left knee reacted. Despite fulfilling the proclamation of resting and then practicing on Thursday, the Bills aren't making up their minds just yet.
"EJ looked improved today and we're still in the process of making a decision on how we're gonna move forward," Marrone said. "The earlier that we can make a decision, I think the better it is for our football team. I truly believe that."
Manuel was a limited participant during Thursday's session, but also took some team repetitions according to the head coach. During the portion of practice available to the media, Manuel was the third quarterback to take a snap during individual drills with the running backs behind Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel.
The rookie missed his fifth start of the season last Sunday after injuring his knee during the Bills' Week 15 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, marking the third time in 2013 he's had to miss a game because of a knee injury.
Buffalo's head coach is contemplating all the angles of what would be the best for his team heading into the final game of the season in New England.
"I think there's a lot of things that go on to that decision. But it's not easy, it's one that I think about quite a bit because of the importance of that position," Marrone remarked. "Is [the knee] stable enough to do what we want to do? You know, field conditions, weather. How's the game plan? How's he know it? The confidence level of the team in doing it."
So how does Manuel go about proving that his knee is ready to go up against the Patriots on Sunday? The coach continued breaking down the complexity of the situation.
"I just wanted to see the confidence to be able to do the things that we're asking him to do to win the game," Marrone said. "That's the responsibility, that's where it gets a little tough. You've got to make tough decisions. The responsibility of the player that wants to play and go in there, and you have the responsibility of the team -- and not just EJ, but anyone -- of saying, 'is he ready?'"
The Bills will resume practicing on Friday and continue their evaluation of Manuel as they get ready to take on the Patriots Sunday.