NFL Wire News

Bills stick with Orton in finale against Patriots


ORCHARD PARK, N. Y. — There will not be a quarterback change for the Buffalo Bills’ season finale in New England against the Patriots.

Now that the game means nothing in the playoff race, there was chatter in Buffalo about coach Doug Marrone possibly starting second-year quarterback EJ Manuel over Kyle Orton to give Manuel one more game. Marrone put the kibosh on that quickly.

“I can understand the question, but the game means a lot to me and we’re going to play the best players that we feel give us the best chance to win and that’s just the way that I’m wired,” Marrone said Tuesday. “That’s what my responsibility is to the team, and I have to make those decisions each week. My focus is on winning the game.”

One fan website conducted a poll and the results were lopsided with about 90 percent voting for Manuel to get the start. But Marrone made it pretty clear that he doesn’t think Manuel is up to the task of beating the Patriots.

“Kyle has gone in there, it’s been tough, there’s been times he’s done an outstanding job, he’s done a good job managing, done a good job being a leader off the field as well as on the field,” said Marrone. “Right now he gives us the best chance to win from a standpoint of efficiency, control, things of that nature, than EJ or Jeff (Tuel).”

Marrone was not pleased with his offensive line after the loss to Oakland, a game in which they were manhandled up front. So Tuesday, he met with the starting five and had a heart to heart.

“It’s one of the few positions where you’re judged as poorly as the worst player plays,” said Marrone. “In other words, four guys play great and one guy doesn’t play well, your overall performance is going to be judged on that.

“There are other things that get into it — running backs, tight ends, receivers on the perimeter blocking — but make no mistake about it, that group has been inconsistent. I told them that’s on tape and we can’t deny that. But there have been times where each of them have played well during the course of the year and our challenge is that come Sunday we’re going to need the best performance of the year out of all five of you. And if you do that we’ll have an opportunity to win the game. That’s what I told those five guys today and I met with those five guys collectively.”

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