Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Bills brass puts wrap on a season with no playoffs

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Bills' braintrust of head coch Doug Marrone, team president Russ Brandon, and general manager Doug Whaley met with the media to wrap up the season on Monday.

All three gave a vote of confidence for EJ Manuel as quarterback heading into next season. The 1st round draft pick had an up-and-down rookie season while dealing with a series of knee injuries.

"You can see flashes of it during the season and again it goes with the consistency. We feel very comfortable with the future with EJ," Marrone said.

"The games where we needed him most in crunch situations; he gave us a chance to win. That for me is a very high mark of a characteristic you look at for a quarterback," said Whaley.

While Manuel remains unproven, Jairus Byrd's playmaking ability is known commodity. The Pro Bowl safety due to become a free agent, and the Bills would like him back, with the option of using the franchise tag for a second time a possibility.

"We’ve had a conversation, myself and Russ, sat and talked to Jairus and we’re going to make an offer to the guy and we’re going to try to keep him. We’re going to try to the best of our abilities because we’re in the business of collecting good players and he’s a good player," Whaley said.

Whaley also said wideout Stevie Johnson is under contract and expects him to return to the Bills next season.

As the news conference neared its conclusion, Russ Brandon said to the media, "Don't plan on sitting here next year in this capacity," expressing supreme confidence that his team will be able to snap its 14-year playoff drought.

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