ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — "Feel good. He's 100 percent healthy. He looks good out there. That's what we're going to go with," said head coach Doug Marrone.
The health questions have been answered, and EJ Manuel is ready. On Sunday, he goes up against the New England Patriots - a team the Bills have beaten just twice in the Tom Brady era.
He's been injured. He's missed two preseason games. Doug Marrone still says Manuel is ready.
"It’s his first game, he’s going to go in there, we’re going to give him everything he needs to be successful and he’s going to out there and play," Marrone said.
"I think it’s a special game because it’s the first. We want to go out there; it’s a divisional game as well, so it’s definitely a game we need to have to get to the goal that we want to get to. I don’t really look at it as far as going against Tom Brady; I’m playing against their defense, not him. It’s just another game," said Manuel.
It's a tough draw to begin your NFL career against a Bill Belichick scheme, and so EJ Manuel will have to rely heavily on 1,200-yard back CJ Spiller and three-time 1,000-yard receiver Stevie Johnson, who earlier in the week told us, "They don't have anyone who can stop me, for real."
That's heavy confidence, but the point in what those players need to do remains.
"For us to be going into a season with two rookie quarterbacks, it's going to take a lot of veteran leadership to make sure those guys are good. We're going to have some ups and downs. We've just got to make sure he's got a calm demeanor. So far, he has," said Spiller.
"We expect him to make plays when he has the opportunity. He knows what he's doing. All we can do is go out and do us," said running back Fred Jackson.
"I just look at it as, we’re a football team. We prepare to go out and win. Prepared this week to go out and execute. That’s what we have to do to go out and win this game," Manuel said.
It's a tall task, but why not start with the toughest of challenges.