Bills QB Taylor out, Manuel to get start
WATFORD, England (AP) Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor will not play in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.
Bills coach Rex Ryan said Taylor has not recovered from his left knee injury and did not practice on Thursday.
”He still has some soreness in that knee. That means basically when you touch it and it’s still sore, that it hasn’t healed all the way,” Ryan said. ”We’re not going force this young man out there, put him out there, when he’s really not 100 percent.”
With Taylor out, EJ Manuel will again start for the Bills (3-3). The backup quarterback is 6-9 as a starter, including a 34-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last week.
Manuel will be making a second consecutive start for the first time since going 2-2 to open last season before being benched by former coach Doug Marrone and replaced by journeyman Kyle Orton.
”For me yesterday it was a 50-50 thing,” Manuel said of his prospects of starting against the Jaguars (1-5) at Wembley. ”I wasn’t too surprised.”
Taylor started the first five games of the season but sprained a ligament in his left knee in the 14-13 win over Tennessee on Oct. 11. He practiced on Wednesday and said his knee was getting better.
But Ryan said Thursday that the doctors looked at him after practice and determined he wasn’t ready.
”We would have played him this week had it been healed, but it hasn’t healed,” said Ryan, who added that Taylor looked a bit off in practice on Wednesday. ”I noticed he was more arm. He wasn’t stepping into his throws, especially early in the practice.”
The Bills have plenty of other injury worries, too, with Ryan saying defensive tackle Kyle Williams also won’t play. Williams was carted off in the fourth quarter in last week’s loss to Cincinnati with a left knee injury.
The Bills defense has been struggling and has so far failed to play up to its high-priced expectations, and the injury to Williams is a big problem for a team already missing starting safety Aaron Williams, who is out until at least December because of a neck injury.
Others who are injured and won’t play include running back Karlos Williams (concussion), tackle Seantrel Henderson (concussion) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ankle).
Receiver Percy Harvin also isn’t expected to play. Harvin did not travel with the team to England after missing last week’s game against Cincinnati. Although Harvin’s been bothered by a hip injury, Ryan didn’t go into specifics in saying the receiver is absent because of personal reasons.
Buffalo has missed the playoffs for 15 consecutive seasons – the NFL’s longest active playoff drought. And over that stretch, they’ve had just two winning seasons, 9-7 finishes in 2004 and 2014.
Ryan was supposed to usher in a new era, but the Bills are 1-3 at home with three straight losses in Buffalo.
Playing another game without their starting quarterback isn’t the best way to turn things around, but Ryan said he was happy with the way Manuel has been progressing after last week’s loss.
”We threw the ball so much last week, some of that he reverted back a little bit, turning the ball instead of staying with his fundamentals,” Ryan said. ”I think his accuracy has really improved. He had a great day today throwing the football.”
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