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EJ Manuel will run smarter for Bills, Doug Marrone says

A good argument could be made that the Buffalo Bills' season would be much different if EJ Manuel didn't injure his LCL on a scramble back in Week 5.

It was the second time this year Manuel injured himself on a scramble play. When the rookie quarterback returns as Buffalo's starting quarterback Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bills believe he will be smarter outside of the pocket.

"What you have is a young player that's still learning and what you'll see the next time, is someone who's going to be a lot smarter and making the right decisions on when to go down and when to go out of bounds without jeopardizing the win," coach Doug Marrone said, per the team's official website.

Marrone said knowing when to sell out to get an extra yard and when to play it safe is a learning process for young quarterbacks.

"I think that's what it is," he said. "It's very difficult. Just like when it happened, and everyone was trying to say do you teach the quarterback -- obviously we teach him. What I was trying to express at that time was that these players are so competitive and there's a fine line between being very, very competitive and then for someone in that position just to be smart. I think he'll be better -- he'd better be better. And I do feel confident in that, I really do."

Manuel was showing improvement prior to the injury that caused him to miss the past four games. The Bills have exciting young talent to complement Manuel, but he needs to stay healthy to grow over the final seven games.

On Sunday, Manuel will face a Steelers defense led by coordinator Dick LeBeau, who is 17-2 in the regular season against rookie quarterbacks. If Manuel scampers away from an exotic blitz, hopefully he'll have learned his lesson and slide.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" previews every Week 10 game, including the heavyweight battle between the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.

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