With rumors swirling that a quarterback change could be coming for the Bills now that their playoff chances are next to zero, coach Rex Ryan said Monday that Tyrod Taylor will remain the team's starter this week against the winless Cleveland Browns.
"I think Tyrod, the reason he's our starting quarterback is, in my opinion, he gives us the best opportunity to win," Ryan said. "And that's what we signed up for. We're trying to win these games. So that's my opinion."
Second-string quarterback EJ Manuel reportedly could be general manager Doug Whaley's choice to replace Taylor if a change is made. Others believe they've already seen enough of Manuel and have called for rookie Cardale Jones to play.
Ryan said Manuel will remain the backup quarterback Sunday, as he has all season. Asked if there was there any consideration of playing Manuel this week, Ryan said, "Not in my eyes."
"I have the final say on who's out there or whatever," Ryan said. "That doesn't mean I don't take input. But clearly that's my decision."
Manuel grabbed his belongings and quickly left the locker room Monday. Taylor typically only speaks on Wednesdays.
Jones did speak Monday, though, and said he hadn't any discussions with coaches over playing.
"Really, everything still stands the same," Jones said.
Top receiver Sammy Watkins mentioned after Sunday's loss that he'd be ready to go "whether it's Ty or EJ" under center, conveniently leaving out Jones. He put his support behind Taylor on Monday.
"Right now I’m rolling with Ty," Watkins said. "That’s our guy. At the end of the day, there can be speculation, people talking crazy. That position is one of the hardest positions. I can sit here and say, well it’s this coverage or that coverage, but really he’s got bullets flying. So we can’t sit there and point fingers at anybody."
Jones, the Bills' fourth-round pick out of Ohio State, said he has been getting comfortable with the Bills' offense while running the scout team this season, but paused to think when asked if he'd be ready to perform if his number was called.
"That’s a good question," he said, "because being comfortable within our offense, I still gotta get comfortable with the starters. I imagine myself getting a lot of extra work with guys like Sammy and guys like Robert [Woods] and our receivers, learning our center, how they snap the ball under center, things like that. It’d still be pretty difficult to get ready in a week; definitely with the guys you need time."
Jones said he'll continue to prepare as if he's the starter, just like he does every week, but he said he isn't nervous "because me, my personal opinion, my time is far, far from close," he said.
Jones was asked how he would feel if the Bills went to Manuel at some point this season instead of him.
"I’m not active, so that would be the most logical thing to do because he’s the next guy up," Jones said.
But Taylor still has the job, at least for another week. The Bills face the Browns (0-13), Dolphins (8-5) and Jets (4-9) in the final three games of the season.