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Buffalo Bills news, 12/28: Thad Lewis to start for EJ Manuel

Between the injury report and the Pro Bowl, it's a uniquely eventful Saturday morning in our links post.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Inside The Bills | Fan Friday 12-27

After a guy grammatically barfs all over Nate Hackett, Chris Brown naturally disagrees and explains why Doug Marrone chose the first-time offensive coordinator. Brown also answers questions on Chris Gragg, EJ Manuel's slow starts, Jim Leonhard's future, and using T.J. Graham over Goodwin.

Manuel doubtful

EJ Manuel doubtful for Sunday's finale, Thad Lewis to make 5th start -
"I think we all, starting with EJ, have a sense of frustration but there’s also a sense of excitement," Marrone said. "Here’s a guy that did play 10 games and he probably practiced less than anyone else who played 10 games. There were points in those games where he played well, either won the game for us or put us in a position to win. And there were points where he did not play well. From that standpoint, there’s a sense of excitement of having someone coming back, full offseason, getting ready to go and really seeing his game take off."

Thad Lewis hopeful his play can solidify his role -
"Hopefully it can be a long term opportunity to be here and be a backup like that," Lewis said.

Inside The Bills | Training plan in place for EJ in offseason
"We have a plan for after the season to strengthen both of those knees, to build the muscles around the LCL so the risk factor becomes low, even though LCL injuries are one of the lowest risk injuries in football."

Inside The Bills | EJ lobbied coach to play Sunday
"I mean you have a player, he’s telling me he’s ready to go, whatever we have to do it’s going to get better. That’s why I think it’s difficult to say from the field, you see the little things, like the lateral stability not being where I’d like it to be. That’s what it came down to. The ability to vertically move is there, it’s the lateral stability. He has an LCL (sprain) and we feel our quarterback is going to have to move laterally at some point during this game."

Bills notebook: Lewis ‘excited’ by challenge of facing Pats - Sports - The Buffalo News
"It’s just an opportunity to go out and play and do something you love," Lewis said. "It’s a challenge to go up there, so you can get over a hump as a team. You have to be a team that can win on the road as well as at home."

MEILER: Manuel finishes season trending downward " Sports " Niagara Gazette
"In 10 games (really 9 1/2 after leaving the Cleveland game early), Manuel finished 33rd of 38 qualified quarterbacks in yards per game (197) and yards per attempt (6.44). He was 30th in quarterback rating (77.7) and 28th in completion percentage (58.8). His home-road splits were terrible, too. Going by QB rating, Manuel’s 91.8 at home would’ve been good for 10th best, while his 64.4 on the road would rank last in the NFL."


DB Aaron Williams to I-R; WR Cordell Roberson called up -
"Roberson (6-4, 205) was signed to the team’s practice squad on Oct. 29th where he has spent the past two months."

WGR 550 SportsRadio - EJ Manuel Will Not Start Sunday For Bills
"Running back Fred Jackson (ribs), defensive lineman Kyle Williams (Achilles), quarterback Thad Lewis (left shoulder), wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (knee) and wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee) are all probable."

W2W4: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, Week 17 - ESPN
Last chances abound for the Bills this week. Will we see Jairus Byrd's last game in Buffalo? Scott Chandler? Is it Duke Williams or Jonathan Meeks' time to get some reps? Mike Rodak talks about all of it here.

Bill Belichick Says He Does Not Plan on Paying Attention to Scores of 1 p.m. Games Before Patriots Play Bills |
"They know that if we win, we’re into the second round of the playoffs. If we don’t win, we’re most likely playing in the first round of the playoffs, and that’s really all there is to know," Belichick said.

Patriots set to face Bills | Pro32: Head to Head | AP
"I know he's been playing good. I know he throws that ball down the field," cornerback Aqib Talib said after word came that Lewis will make his fifth start of the season in place of injured rookie EJ Manuel. "They get a lot of explosive plays while he's in the game because he's not afraid to throw the ball down the field."

It Is What It Is " 5 things you have to know about the Bills - WEEI Boston
"The Patriots host the Bills Sunday in the regular-season finale. Here are five things you have to know about the Bills (6-9), who are looking to end the season on an up note."

Pro Bowl

Defensive trio earns Pro Bowl nod -
"The three defensive selections mark the first time since 2004 (Sam Adams, Nate Clements, Takeo Spikes) that a trio of Bills defenders have been selected to the league's annual All-Star game."

Bills end Hawaii drought, send three to Pro Bowl - Sports - The Buffalo News
"Alonso, the Bills’ rookie second-round draft pick, stands fourth in the NFL in tackles, behind Cincinnati’s Vontaze Burfict, Jacksonville’s Paul Posluszny and Carolina’s Luke Kuechly. Burfict and Kuechly made the Pro Bowl."