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Analytics site shows EJ Manuel is NFL's least-accurate passer

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills essentially are into evaluation phase for the rest of the season.

No player needs to absorb experience over the last four games more than rookie quarterback EJ Manuel.

The Bills and their weary fans still are learning about Manuel, who missed four games while recovering from a knee injury. He has looked good at times, and showed a flair for the dramatic with his game-winning touchdown drive against the Carolina Panthers in Week Two.

But one area of concern is his accuracy. Analytics site ProFootballFocus.com says Manuel has been the NFL's least-accurate passer this year.

Manuel ranks dead last out of the 30 quarterbacks who've handled at least 50 percent of their teams' pass plays. When the field is broadened to include quarterbacks who've handled 25 percent of their teams' pass plays, he is tied for 36th out of 38, ahead of only St. Louis Rams backup Kellen Clemens.

PFF's "quarterback accuracy percentage" metric takes a deeper look than standard completion percentage.

PFF gives the passer credit for dropped passes and does not consider the following incompletions: throwaways, spikes, batted passes or attempts while being hit.

Manuel's adjusted accuracy percentage is 66.4 percent, two-tenths of a percent worse than that of New York Jets rookie Geno Smith, who has completed 29 passes over his past four games.

On Manuel's 249 attempts, PFF counts 15 drops (he gets credit for a completion on those) plus two throwaways, one batted pass and four while being hit (he doesn't get faulted for any of those).

PFF's data tags Bills receiver Stevie Johnson for a team-high five drops, although that total also includes passes thrown by Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel. Tight end Scott Chandler and receiver Robert Woods have four drops apiece.

But Manuel is in decent company at the bottom of PFF's chart. Tom Brady is ranked 20th, Colin Kaepernick 24th, Andrew Luck 25th, Eli Manning 26th and Joe Flacco 27th.

Aaron Rodgers ranks first, followed by Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees.

Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods are back and other Bills notes

By Tim Graham

Some notes from the start of Buffalo Bills practice today in the field house:

Wide receivers Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods were on the field and appeared to be participating in all the drills for the portion of practice reporters are allowed to watch. Johnson (groin) missed the Bills last game. Woods (ankle) missed the past two.

"They looked good," Bills coach Doug Marrone said of Johnson and Woods. "They looked fresh."

Rookie cornerback Jonathan Meeks (ankle) was on the field today, the earliest he could return to practice since being placed on recallable injured reserve. The Bills can activate Meeks in two weeks.

Marrone said running back Ronnie Wingo wasn't at practice today because of a missed flight.

"He'll be fined," Marrone said.

The Bills signed tackle Manase Foketi to the practice squad and released guard Bryant Browning.

Bills should be healthy coming out of bye week

By Jay Skurski

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said today running back Fred Jackson would be able to play Sunday -- if the team had a game.

The Bills don't, of course, as they head into the bye in Week 12, giving Jackson and Co. plenty of time to heal up before Buffalo's next game, which comes Dec. 1 against Atlanta in Toronto.

"He's fine. No problems at all," Marrone said of Jackson, who suffered a left knee injury against during the Bills' 37-14 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, but was able to return to the lineup. "He would be able to play this week."

Marrone also sounded optimistic about the chances of both his starting receivers, Stevie Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (ankle), playing against the Falcons. They both sat out Sunday.

Woods told The Buffalo News earlier in the day his plan was to return to the lineup in the Rogers Centre. That would mean the Bills would have all 53 players on their roster healthy enough to play.

Ed Reed to start for Jets; David Nelson will be captain

By Tim Graham

No major announcements when it comes to the scratches for today's game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

But the Jets have announced Ed Reed will start at safety. The Jets signed him three days ago after the Houston Texans cut him.

You also can bank on former Bills receiver David Nelson being a captain. Jets coach Rex Ryan likes to do that when his players go up against their old teams.

All the inactives:

New York Jets

  • Quarterback David Garrard
  • Running back Alex Green
  • Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley
  • Guard William Campbell
  • Tackle Ben Ijilana
  • Tackle Oday Aboushi
  • Linebacker Garrett McIntyre

Buffalo Bills

  • Quarterback Jeff Tuel
  • Running back Ronnie Wingo
  • Wide receiver Stevie Johnson
  • Wide receiver Robert Woods
  • Guard Antoine McClain
  • Cornerback Justin Rogers
  • Cornerback Brandon Smith

Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods had 23 targets in first Jets game

By Tim Graham

The last time the Buffalo Bills played the New York Jets, quarterback EJ Manuel targeted Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods 23 times.

Johnson and Woods have been ruled out for Sunday's rematch in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Bills coach Doug Marrone said they would go with their four healthy receivers.

T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Chris Hogan and Marcus Easley will need to pick up the slack. Goodwin is the only one of that group with a touchdown this year. Easley made his first NFL catch last week.

Tight ends Scott Chandler and Chris Gragg will be even more important. Gragg also caught his first NFL passes last Sunday, but one of them was a touchdown.

Johnson leads the Bills with 41 catches, 471 yards and three touchdowns. Woods is second among wide receivers with 26 catches, 349 yards and two touchdowns.

Stevie Johnson's chances of playing Sunday not looking good

By Jay Skurski

Stevie Johnson missed his second straight practice Thursday, putting his availability for Sunday's game against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium in serious doubt.

"I don't feel as good about him being able to play, but I can't officially rule him out yet," coach Doug Marrone said after practice.

Johnson injured his right groin in a Week 10 loss at Pittsburgh.

Marrone said the team will not call up a receiver from the practice squad, meaning the options for EJ Manuel at the position will be T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Chris Hogan and Marcus Easley. Rookie Robert Woods has been ruled out because of an ankle injury.

Safety Da'Norris Searcy returned to practice on a limited basis today after sitting out Wednesday because of a hamstring injury.

"I have no issues there. Unless he has a setback during the week, he should be in great shape," Marrone said.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (Achilles) was also back as a full participant at practice today after taking his usual rest day Wednesday.

Robert Woods ruled out for Sunday; Stevie Johnson TBD

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone already has declared rookie receiver Robert Woods' injured ankle unprepared for Sunday's game against the New York Jets in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The status for leading receiver Stevie Johnson is uncertain. Johnson suffered another groin injury three days ago against the Pittsburgh Steelers and did not practice today.

"Stevie's working hard on the rehabilitation," Marrone said. "He wants to see how it feels later on, and then he's going to see how it feels to go."

The only two other Bills on today's injury report were defensive tackle Kyle Williams with his usual Achilles rest day and safety Da'Norris Searcy with a hamstring issue. Neither practiced today but are expected to be on the field Thursday.

The Jets listed three players as not practicing: receiver Jeremy Kerley (elbow), defensive end Leger Douzable (illness) and linebacker Garrett McIntyre (knee).

Bills at Steelers inactives: Robert Woods, Jeff Tuel scratched

By Tim Graham

PITTSBURGH -- The Buffalo Bills won't have rookie receiver Robert Woods today against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Woods is out with an ankle injury that kept him from practicing. He has 26 catches for 349 yards and two touchdowns.

Here are all the inactives:

Buffalo Bills

  • Quarterback Jeff Tuel
  • Running back Ronnie Wingo
  • Wide receiver Robert Woods
  • Guard Antoine McClain
  • Linebacker Ty Powell
  • Cornerback Justin Rogers
  • Cornerback Brandon Smith

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Quarterback Landry Jones
  • Wide receiver Derek Moye
  • Tight end Richard Gordon
  • Defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo
  • Linebacker Kion Wilson
  • Linebacker Chris Carter
  • Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke

EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis appear ready for Pittsburgh

By Tim Graham

Looks like Jeff Tuel will go from starter one week to inactive the next.

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone announced today that recovering quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis made it through practice fine and are on track to dress for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. A final determination has yet to be made, but Tuel seems the odd man out.

"EJ wasn't sore or anything," Marrone said of Manuel's response to Wednesday's practice. "That was the one thing we were waiting for. Barring any setbacks the next couple days, both he and Thad are ready."

Unless Manuel's knee experiences a problem between now and kickoff, the Bills will start their third quarterback in three weeks.

Marrone added that as long as both are healthy, the Bills will continue their habit of keeping only two quarterbacks active for the game.

The concern with dressing a third quarterback is wasting an active roster spot on a player with a better likelihood of contributing. Teams like to have as many linemen or special-teamers on hand as possible.

"If someone's not 100 percent healthy, you might go in with three" quarterbacks, Marrone said. "But a lot of times you've got to be careful because a lot of times the position it affects the most are special teams."

Rookie receiver Marquise Goodwin was limited at today's practice, while colleague Robert Woods was absent.

Marrone said Goodwin "will be ready to go from what I've seen today. Woods will make the trip to Pittsburgh and probably be a game-time decision.

Marrone also announced newly signed fullback Evan Rodriguez will play Sunday, at least on special teams.

Marquise Goodwin practices; Robert Woods still missing

By Tim Graham

One rookie receiver was on the field, the other was not.

Robert Woods was nowhere to be found during the portion of today's Buffalo Bills practice that was open to reporters. He injured his ankle in Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

As expected, Marquise Goodwin was at practice. Bills coach Doug Marrone on Wednesday said Goodwin would be a limited participant today because of a hamstring issue.

Goodwin's status for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is up in the air, while it's less likely Woods will play.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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