The Buffalo Bills have named rookie EJ Manuel to be their starting quarterback for the 2013 NFL season. Manuel did undergo minor knee surgery in the middle of August, but veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb’s health issues stemming from a concussion have cleared the way for Manuel. Should the Bills be excited about the youngster leading them into battle on Sunday against the mighty New England Patriots?
The first quarterback chosen in the 2013 NFL Draft will certainly be tested in his first career start. The Patriots are heavy favorites to go the distance this season, which means they will want to do whatever they can to start out on the right foot. There is a good chance the defense will eat Manuel alive, but some believe the 16th overall pick will surprise in his debut.
The good news is his health should not be an issue. The Bills believe his knee is ready to go, which should not hold him back from being able to run the entire playbook.
“He’s 110 percent healthy,” head coach Doug Marrone said, according to ESPN.com. “He looks good out there. So that’s what we’re going to go with.”
There is no question the expectations for Manuel are high in Buffalo. Even though the Bills have not made the playoffs since 1999, this Sunday represents the start of a new season. Any team in the league has a shot at making the postseason and contending for a Super Bowl. If Manuel can lead Buffalo past New England, the confidence of the team would be at a high it has not seen in quite some time, which could make the Bills very dangerous going forward.
As far as expecting anything less than a stellar performance from Manuel, do not look at any of the players or coaches on the team.
“I’d be lying if I’m standing here saying that I don’t expect him to do great things,” Marrone told ESPN.com. “That’s why he’s out here. We expect not just EJ, but all of our players that are out there, to perform at a high level. If I lower my expectations of anybody on this team, am I doing my job as a coach?”
One thing is for certain, it will be interesting to watch the rookie get tested to the max in his debut.