Bills’ Ryan won’t rule out QB Taylor despite sprained knee
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Quarterback Tyrod Taylor believes he can play on a sprained left knee, and coach Rex Ryan is going to keep everyone guessing – particularly the Cincinnati Bengals – on who will start for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Ryan refused to rule out Taylor from playing, and particularly disputed speculation the quarterback could miss up to three weeks after tests revealed he sprained his medial collateral ligament.
”I know it’s been widely reported that Tyrod is not playing. That’s news to me,” Ryan said Wednesday. ”That may or may not be the case. But it’s certainly not official. So we’ll see how it goes.”
At practice, backup EJ Manuel took a majority of snaps with the starting offense as Buffalo (3-2) prepares to host Cincinnati (5-0).
Taylor wore a brace on his knee while practicing on a limited basis three days after being hurt in a 14-13 win over Tennessee.
Though he had no difficulty jogging in a straight line, Taylor was hampered when moving laterally during the 20-minute portion of practice open to reporters.
”I don’t see it as a big deal,” Taylor said, referring to moving sideways. ”To me, it feels better than it did yesterday whether it’s moving straight ahead of moving laterally as well.”
When it comes to the possibility of playing against the Bengals, Taylor said ”that’s the plan,” and added, ”I’m comfortable with me going out there and playing the way I’m feeling right now.”
He said he had no issues planting his feet while attempting passes, and didn’t rule out the possibility of wearing a brace.
Taylor cautioned the decision on whether he plays will involve the coaching and medical staff.
The question is whether the Bills would risk Taylor to further injury because his dual-threat ability as a passer and runner exposes him to being hit.
That’s how Taylor was hurt in rallying Buffalo to score two touchdowns in the final 16 1/2 minutes against Tennessee. He missed one play after his left leg bent awkwardly after being pulled down by the back of his jersey by linebacker Zach Brown following a 24-yard scramble midway through the fourth quarter. Brown was penalized 15 yards for a horse-collar tackle.
Taylor returned and capped the victory with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan. Taylor also scored on a 22-yard scamper, and finished with a team-best 76 yards rushing – the most by a quarterback in team history.
The Bills’ offense is already banged up.
Starting running back LeSean McCoy (left hamstring) practiced on a limited basis for just the first time in two weeks. Backup running back Karlos Williams is still being monitored for a concussion. At least, receiver Sammy Watkins is set to return after missing two games with a right calf injury.
On defense, starting safety Aaron Williams will miss at least eight weeks with a neck injury after being placed on the reserve-injured designated to return list.
Manuel said he’ll be ready in the event he makes his first start since being benched a month into last season. He has a 6-8 record and been hampered by inconsistency and injuries since being the only quarterback selected in the first round of the 2013 draft.
”I’ve just continued to learn, continued to ride with the ups and downs,” Manuel said. ”My goal is if I go out there and play is just to help us win. I’m a team player.”
The Bills, who traded veteran Matt Cassel to Dallas three weeks ago, addressed their depth at quarterback by signing six-year journeyman Josh Johnson on Tuesday.
The quarterback position has been unsettled since Jim Kelly retired following the 1996 season, and a revolving door since Manuel arrived. Taylor became the fifth quarterback to start a game in Buffalo since the start of the 2013 season.
Taylor is a first-time starter who won a three-way competition this offseason. He signed with Buffalo in March after spending his first four seasons backing up Joe Flacco in Baltimore.
”I’ve definitely waited for this opportunity (to start), but I’m going to be smart moving forward,” Taylor said. ”I want to be able to play at a high level. If I can’t do that, then the coaches make a decision off of that.”
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