Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone informed quarterback EJ Manuel that he will remain the starter next season despite lingering questions about the rookie's durability and uneven development.

Manuel, the Bills' first-round draft pick last April, missed six games this season after suffering three separate knee injuries. In his place, the Bills turned to backup Thad Lewis, who posted a better completion percentage, yards per pass attempt and passer rating in half as many games.

Asked Monday about his status entering next season, Manuel said Marrone assured him he would remain the starter, adding that he can't take that role for granted.

"With the season that we've had, I don't feel like I can just sit here and be comfortable," Manuel said. "You know changes are going to be made all the time. I know for me personally, I'm going to always continue to work hard and make sure I'm ready to go. I do know I'm the leader and the quarterback right now of this team."

Manuel brushed off questions about whether he has improved since being named the Bills' starter in September.

"Even though the record is 4-6, my record as a starter from start to finish is 4-6, I think there are at least two or three games that we could have won," he said. "We put ourselves in position to win and we didn't. The record is what it is but I know, like I said, there's a lot of things to really take from it.