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Doug Marrone on E.J. Manuel: “He probably practiced the least” of anyone in the league


The Bills have big plans for quarterback E.J. Manuel as he heads into his second NFL season.

The team wants to see him make significant strides over where he was as a rookie and they’ve tweaked their coaching staff to help them realize that goal. Todd Downing is the new quarterbacks coach and former Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler as a senior offensive assistant, putting more eyes on the quarterback after offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett handled those duties by himself last season.

Extra coaching shouldn’t be a bad thing, but it won’t help much if Manuel can’t stay on the field. At a Thursday press conference in Indianapolis, Bills coach Doug Marrone stressed the need for Manuel to stay healthy in order to make the improvements that the team wants to see.

“He played last year and really didn’t practice that much,” Marrone said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “If you think about all the players that played in the league, he probably practiced the least and played. For us, the priority, just like all the players, is to make sure that we keep him healthy. It’s important for us, important for his development.”

Marrone said that the team could also add a veteran quarterback to back up and mentor Manuel. Kevin Kolb’s salary and concussion history may make him a poor choice for that role a year after his brief competition with Manuel, but he is still on the roster in Buffalo at the moment.