By Jay Skurski
CLEVELAND -- On a few different occasions since becoming the Buffalo Bills' coach, Doug Marrone has gone out of his way to ask reporters what they would have done in a certain situation.
Marrone did just that Thursday night following his team's 37-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. I asked Marrone whether he would have liked to have seen his rookie franchise quarterback, EJ Manuel, step out of bounds on the play in which he was injured in the third quarter.
“I'm sure the kid wanted to score a touchdown," Marrone said.
"I don't think I'm ever going to, you know, tell someone not to score a touchdown," the coach continued. "You know, EJ's a tough kid. He took a shot. He scrambled. He made a first down. He's trying to score a touchdown. You know, what do you say? Don't scramble? Don't what? Don't score touchdowns? I mean, what do you think?"
A reporter responded: "Go out of bounds."
"Go out of bounds? I'm sure he was working his way to the sideline," Marrone shot back.
Could Manuel have ducked out of bounds and thus avoided the injury? The player who made the tackle thinks so.
"He could have gotten out of bounds. He didn't," Browns safety Tashaun Gipson told ESPN.com. "So it's my job to bring the ball carrier down."
Manuel had picked up the first down by a full 5 yards when he was hit. Contrary to his coach’s opinion, Manuel never made a move toward the sideline.
And if Marrone honestly wants a reporter’s two cents, I'll give him mine: The quarterback should have. Yes, he was trying to make a play in a tight game, but there was no hope of scoring a touchdown in that situation. Gipson had closed on the play and left Manuel with nowhere to go.
The smart play would have been for him to simply step out of bounds and line up for a first down in the red zone. It's a mistake plenty of quarterbacks make, but in this case, it could prove to be extremely costly to the Bills' 2013 season.
taggedDoug Marrone | EJ Manuel