Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- One day removed from the Buffalo Bills revealing the news that they'd be without starting quarterback EJ Manuel, the team hit the practice field without their rookie signal caller.
Manuel injured his left knee against Jacksonville last Sunday and will miss the upcoming contest against Miami. That means backup Thad Lewis will get his fourth start of the season, and he took the first-team repetitions during Thursday's practice.
A native of the Miami area, Lewis will make his second start against the Dolphins this season.
"You never think that you’re going to be able to play against your hometown team twice, at least in the same season, let alone being the backup, you never know when your next start is going to come," he said. "You’re just kind of sitting in a waiting game."
Earlier in the season when Lewis got his first opportunity to start due to Manuel's previous knee injury, he was still a relative newcomer to the team and the offense. Now with an extra two months of seasoning, the backup feels fully equipped heading into the contest with the Dolphins.
"The game is a chess match, even if they’re in a defense that counters this play, I can get us in the right situation now, where I couldn’t have done that the first game being my second start and things like that," he said. "The playbook still was open, but just missing little things."
Lewis and the rest of the Bills will likely have to deal with weather conditions that are less than ideal. At this point in the week, Buffalo and Miami will have 50-degree weather, 22 mile-an-hour winds and an 80-percent chance of rain.
Lewis, who made his first career start in a wintry mix of weather for the Cleveland Browns when they took on the Pittsburgh Steelers, feels fully comfortable with whatever mother nature brings this weekend.
"The weather is not a factor when you’re playing. It’s only a factor when you’re just standing there watching," he said. "It’s just like anybody in the stands. The weather won’t be a factor. You’re playing a football game, and I’ll just go out there and play as usual."
Head coach Doug Marrone said on Wednesday he expects Manuel to be ready to play against the New England Patriots in Week 17, but for now, Lewis is the leader of the Bills offense.
Buffalo and Miami are set to square off on Sunday at 1 pm at Ralph Wilson Stadium.