A few eyebrows were raised in Western New York on Thursday evening when the Buffalo Bills put quarterback EJ Manuel on their inactive list, elevating Josh Johnson to the No. 2 quarterback role for last night's 22-17 win over the New York Jets.
After the game, head coach Rex Ryan was asked to explain the decision to keep Manuel in street clothes, and Ryan was quick to assure everyone that it was a one-time deal, and that the team still considers Manuel the backup quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor.
"We had a short week, and Josh was really, he knew the game plan going in," Ryan explained. "He'd played against this opponent before when he was in San Francisco... He knew the thing like the back of his hand - probably knew it better than Tyrod did. And so that's the only reason. EJ Manuel is our backup quarterback, and will be for the rest of the things. But it was such a short week, that's why we decided to go that route."
Ryan's explanation is a bit confusing; Johnson was only in San Francisco in 2014, when Ryan himself coached the Jets. Johnson did spend a little over a week with Todd Bowles' version of the Jets this past preseason, after being released by Cincinnati. (He also spent time with Indianapolis.) It's possible that Ryan was referring to Johnson's familiarity with Bowles from the latter's time in Arizona, where Johnson would have prepared for the Cardinals' defense when Bowles was their defensive coordinator.
Either way, the point seems to be moot, because the next time the Bills play, Johnson will be back in street clothes and Manuel holding the clipboard.