Tonawanda News — Manuel was cleared to play earlier this week after spending most of last week working out individually.
On Wednesday, Manuel showed no signs of a limp while dropping back to pass, and he completed several throws into gusty winds during a 20-minute portion of practice open to the media.
“Yeah, very confident. Pushing off it fine. Running around and making plays,” Manuel said. “It’s still up to coach as far as what we want to do as a team, but I definitely feel confident going into Sunday.”
Coach Doug Marrone liked what he saw, and acknowledged that Manuel is expected to start barring any setbacks.
“From a standpoint of being healthy, he’s fine,” Marrone said. “Now it’s just to the point of really trying to get him back.”
Plan B would be starting Lewis, who also returned to practice Wednesday.
Manuel might not have all that much more experience than Lewis or Tuel. But he has had the most time in learning Marrone’s offense, and showed a capability of running it in going 2-2 before he was hurt.
In four-plus games, Manuel went 85 of 150 for 985 yards passing with five touchdowns with three interceptions and a lost fumble.
Lewis and Tuel combined to produce similar numbers in going 88 of 162 for 961 yards and four touchdowns.
They struggled in protecting the ball by committing eight giveaways: five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns; and three lost fumbles.
At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Manuel has a strong arm and provides an element of mobility to the Bills’ up-tempo attack.
The only issue with him is avoiding hits, as happened against Cleveland when he elected to keep running rather than get out of bounds before being struck in the right knee by safety Tashaun Gipson. Manuel also missed the final two preseason games with a left knee injury.