CINCINNATI -- At this point, Marvin Lewis could care less who will be taking snaps for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
That's because the Cincinnati Bengals head coach contends his focus isn't solely on EJ Manuel, nor is it specifically directed toward Tyrod Taylor. His mind remains affixed upon his own players, and ways he can help them attack the Bills' offensive scheme.
"It's not my concern. It's not our concern," Lewis said Friday about the Bill's signal-calling uncertainty. "Somebody's going to be quarterback."
All week it's been anyone's guess as to who will end up under center for Buffalo. Even Bills coach Rex Ryan joked with Bengals reporters during a conference call Wednesday that he had no clue which of his quarterbacks he would start. Taylor, hurt last week against Tennessee, was diagnosed with an MCL sprain that could prevent him from making his sixth straight start. Manuel, the former Buffalo first-round pick who had a two-touchdown, 170-yard performance on just seven completions in the Bills' preseason win against Pittsburgh, would replace Taylor if he can't play.
Taylor was listed as questionable on Buffalo's Friday injury report.
Since Taylor was limited in each of this week's practices, it appears Manuel stands the best chance of starting. No matter who starts, the Bengals believe they will be ready.
"He was a starter last year. He has starting-quality reps up under his belt," Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "You can't sit here and say, 'Oh, they're going to be missing [Taylor].' We have to go out here and prepare for whoever the quarterback is. If they had Peyton Manning back there, you have to go out there and prepare to beat the Buffalo Bills. It's going to take all of us to do that."
Bengals practice squad running back James Wilder Jr. played one season with Manuel at Florida State. If his former teammate starts Sunday, he's expecting him to bring a chip-on-the-shoulder approach to the game.
"Knowing him, his mindset is that 'this is my opportunity to go out there and to try and ball out and earn my position back and lead my team back again,'" Wilder said. "But at the same time, our defense, their mindset is always torture; to make it a nightmare for every quarterback they face.
"That's my dawg, but we've got to make it hard for him."
Lewis believes if Manuel plays, he won't make it easy on the Bengals.
"To me, he's been an impressive guy," Lewis said. "Being able to stand in the pocket and throw. He's been a very accurate thrower, and he's a big man who can move. He's done a good job."
In 14 games, Manuel-led offenses have contributed to a 6-8 Bills record. He also has a career 39.2 QBR and 78.5 passer rating. Along with his 16 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions, he also has rushed for three scores. He has been sacked 34 times in his 14 games.
Taylor, by contrast, has been a catalyst in Buffalo's 3-2 start, and he has a career 60.9 QBR and a 92.1 career passer rating. This season he has 187 rushing yards and two rushing scores.
"It doesn't mean anything to me that we might or might not play Tyrod," Bengals safety George Iloka said. "It's the NFL and everybody's good. There's no slouches out there."