Well, just when the Bills appeared to finally have a starting quarterback, he’s done – at least for the immediate future.
The team announced today that E.J. Manuel, their rookie quarterback who has been turning heads this preseason, experienced swelling in his left knee, and was examined by team doctors.
“An MRI revealed that he will need to have a minor knee procedure and that has been scheduled,” the team said in a statement. “He will miss the remainder of the preseason and then be re-evaluated at that time. Kevin Kolb will be our starting quarterback for this weekend's game at [the Washington Redskins].”
The next logical question to answer is, what’s next for the Buffalo Bills?
Well, despite the team’s claim that the knee procedure is “minor,” we all know that there are no minor procedures on an NFL player’s knee. In addition, Manuel relies heavily on his mobility to move around both inside the pocket and outside the pocket when plays break down or when it’s simply a designed rollout.
The other “what if” question to answer is, what happens if Kevin Kolb does a great job early in the season. Frankly, I’m operating on the assumption that the Bills won’t rush their young quarterback back from knee surgery, and if they know he’s done for the rest of the preseason, it seems likely he’ll miss a couple early season games as well.
Should Kevin Kolb take over and do a great job as the Bills’ starting quarterback, it would be tough for the Bills to pull the plug on Kevin Kolb if he’s winning football games, even with Manuel’s impressive performances in preseason action.
Finally, the Bills have to be at least a little concerned about their quarterback situation, considering their oft-injured starting quarterback. Should Kevin Kolb slip on another mat between practice drills, the Bills would then be forced to turn to third-string rookie Jeff Tuel.
Obviously, we’re operating on the assumption that Manuel may not be back for the start of the regular season. We’ll likely learn more details about Manuel’s injury in the coming days, but the injury will no doubt set the Bills back at least a couple of weeks. Not only is Manuel missing valuable game time during the preseason, he’s losing ground on challenger Kevin Kolb through no fault of his own.