Did you feel that pain in your gut late Saturday afternoon when that out-of-left-field email arrived from the Bills? EJ Manuel injured and out for the preseason? When did that happen?
It was a bad Saturday for Manuels on Twitter. Between EJ’s wounded knee and the continued reaction to Charlie’s firing in Philadelphia, you couldn’t search Manuel and not get crossed up. The best phraseology I saw came from The Bulldog of WGR Radio, who simply tweeted, “Nooooooooo!!!!” Of course, he did it by using 135 Os (140 minus the four exclamation points and the ‘N’).
Without saying specifically it was something like a meniscus or a simple draining, the Bills said Sunday that Manuel had a minor procedure in Buffalo and have not yet ruled him out for the season opener. That’s good news. You can breathe again.
The word had me thinking back to when my son finished elementary school a couple years ago and the teachers wrapped up “graduation” by performing the old Bob Marley ditty “Three Little Birds.” It featured the lyrics “every little thing gonna be all right.” They had placards, did a little dance. It was campy and corny. But it was an effective way to allay the kids’ fears about the future.
So with thanks to the Glendale Elementary Players, my message to Bills fans right now is much the same: Do not panic. It will be all right.
EJ might be back for the opener. At worst, he’ll be back some time next month. Let’s not forget, this could have been a whole lot worse. Think of what the Redskins experienced with the knee of Robert Griffin III last January.
Imagine if that scenario had cropped up with the Bills in August. This is a big disappointment but it’s not a crisis. For now, you just let Kevin Kolb shepherd the club through the final two preseason games and see where you stand.
Yes, the Patriots are going to be in Orchard Park in 20 days but there’s no need to bemoan Manuel’s injury as some Revenge of the Rubber Mat.
Nor should you blame Doug Flutie, or Tom Donahoe, Dick Jauron or Chan Gailey. Home Run Throwback hasn’t cursed this franchise forever. Or so we hope.
Sunday at St. John Fisher, someone channeled their inner Marley and asked Kolb if it was his job as a veteran to help tell the team that everything is going to be all right. Kolb agreed with the notion.
Coach Doug Marrone admitted he was surprised as anybody about the injury.
This is a setback for Manuel, no question. He’s going to lose valuable practice reps and the chance to play a good chunk of Saturday’s game in Washington with the first team. We still need to see Manuel throw deep.
For that matter, we still need to see Kolb and Jeff Tuel stretch the field too. Kolb was clearly rusty Friday night against the Vikings and heard it from the crowd in the Ralph. He has to get up to speed fast on the assumption he’s playing against the Patriots.
Kind of odd that Tom Brady sounded like he might be seriously hurt in practice last week and he’ll be all right for the opener, and nobody knew a thing about Manuel and he might not make it.
But again, things are never as bad as they seem. Take the case of the Bears. They added another quarterback to their competition Sunday. You might have heard of him.
Trent Edwards. Suckers.