Word came down on Wednesday that Buffalo Bills starting QB E.J. Manuel‘s timetable for a return is within the next 4-6 weeks. That means that Manuel will miss no less than four games and most likely five or six, taking the Bills into early December. That news comes on the heels of the Bills signing QB Matt Flynn to bolster that position.
There’s been a lot of talk about the Flynn move in the few days following it, but there shouldn’t be so much attention put on that move. Last week’s starter, Thad Lewis, will be the man for the Bills in replacement of Manuel. Flynn has been brought into Buffalo for one thing and one thing only — to back up Lewis and, eventually, Manuel. The only way that Flynn will see the field is if the Bills are so bombarded with injuries that they lose their first two options. If that’s the case, then the Bills’ season has already been sunk anyway, so there really doesn’t seem to be a need for any hand-wringing over the Flynn signing.
As for Lewis, the guy who will actually take the snaps for the next 4-6 weeks, he showed an encouraging grasp on Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense in his first game. The Bills will be looking for more of the same in the coming weeks. It was clear that Hackett was not afraid to use Lewis’ legs, nor was he afraid to let Lewis try and sling the ball down field. I’d expect more of the same going forward, particularly with speedster Marquise Goodwin back in the lineup.
As far as Manuel goes, it’s his team as soon as he’s healthy and that has never really not been the case even when they were flirting with signing Josh Freeman a few weeks ago. The Bills brought Manuel in to be their franchise QB and I’ve seen nothing in his first five games that would motivate the Bills to give up on him. Now, it’s just a matter of getting him back on the field and surviving in the meantime.