FOXBOROUGH -- It didn't matter if it was E.J. Manuel or Jeff Tuel getting the nod, the Patriots were going to be prepared for whichever quarterback the Bills trotted out onto the field Sunday, said Bill Belichick.
"We have to be ready for everybody," Belichick said. "We all know that could change in one play so we have to be ready for all the guys on the active roster."
While there was uncertainty over Manuel's availability after he suffered a left knee injury in the preseason, the 16th overall pick in this year's draft was officially named Buffalo's starter Wednesday, just days after returning to practice.
"An athletic guy," Belichick said. "He hasn’t played a lot; he played against Indianapolis. Good arm, good athlete, and a very productive player in college."
Belichick cautioned against focusing too much on the rookies, Manuel and Tuel.
"We’re playing against some individual players but we’re playing against an entire team, too, and their scheme and what they do," he said. "We have to have an awareness of the players that are in there but we have to defend the scheme that they run against us and we have to carry out our responsibilities. It’s kind of a combination of those things.
"We’ll be aware of the skills that Manuel has, that Tuel has, that [C.J.] Spiller has, that [Fred] Jackson has, that [Tashard] Choice has, whoever they are in there, we’re going to have to be ready for all of them.
"We still have to play our defense and maybe we have a little bit better awareness specifically of one player over another, and we should. We still have to play our defense, still have to play football."