The Buffalo Bills will hold five full practices between now and their season opener Sept. 8 against the New England Patriots.

For rookie quarterback EJ Manuel to start in that game it’s likely he’ll need to participate fully in a minimum of three of those.

On Tuesday coach Doug Marrone mapped out a realistic timetable that would give Manuel a chance of being under center in Week One.

“I think there’s two things that you look at: A. The number of times he needs to go play and then B. The number of days for that preparation” Marrone said. “If the doctor said ‘you’re not going to get him on that field until Thursday and then he’ll be ready to play on Sunday’ I would be concerned about doing that. If they said ‘we can get him on that field Monday or Wednesday.’ I would see how he played and then make the decision.”

Marrone said he expects to learn a lot about Manuel’s chances to play in the opener from his first practice.

“We’ll see how for lack of a better term rusty he may be” the coach said.

Manuel has begun working out but hasn’t started throwing. The team has not yet determined when he will do so.

“Right now he’s telling me he’s ready to go but obviously he’s not” Marrone said. “That’s the mentality of EJ. I’m excited about it; I’ve watched him do footwork drills and cones. I’ve watched him ride a bike. You talk to the kid and you’d think he’s starting on Thursday” in the preseason finale against the Detroit Lions.

Marrone said he does not have a firm rule on a player practicing a certain number of times before he will play him in a game choosing instead to make the decision on a case-by-case basis.

“It really comes down to the player and the responsibility of the coaches that if we do put him out there then we have to be able to hold him accountable for what we’re asking him to do. Meaning that what you can’t do as a coach is say that if a player gets beat you can’t sit there and go ‘Well he was injured he didn’t practice and that’s going to happen.’ That’s not fair to the club nor is it fair to the team” Marrone said.