Bills Plan to Start Jeff Tuel Against Patriots, Would Be First Undrafted Rookie Quarterback to Start in Week 1


Jeff TuelThe Buffalo Bills’ quarterback carousel has been spinning out of control lately, and things aren’t shaping up well for their Week 1 game with the Patriots.

Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel‘s timetable for return is unknown after he underwent a minor knee operation over the weekend, and veteran Kevin Kolb suffered a career-threatening concussion in the Bills’ third preseason game on Saturday. So, that leaves undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel as the only quarterback left on the roster with extensive knowledge of the Bills’ system and enough preparation to lead the offense.

Well, head coach Doug Marrone apparently sees it that way, too. Marrone said during his press conference on Monday that, as of now, he plans to start Tuel in their season opener against the Patriots. There is still a chance that Manuel could return from his injury or newly signed veteran Matt Leinart will pick up the offense before the game on Sept. 8, but, as of now, Tuel is getting the nod.

Tuel has looked pretty good so far this preseason, completing 31 of 43 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. He played the majority of the snaps against the Redskins after Kolb’s injury and completed 10 of 17 passes for 63 yards on the day. In four seasons at Washington State, Tuel threw for 33 touchdowns and nearly 6,000 yards during an injury plagued career. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback completed almost 64 percent of his passes as a senior in 2012 while throwing for 2,087 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.

If Tuel does indeed get the start, he’ll be marking some history. He would be the first undrafted rookie quarterback to start his team’s season opener in the common draft era, which began in 1967, according to ESPN.

The Bills were expected to have a tough time against the Patriots in Week 1 even with Manuel or Kolb starting under center. Now, there’s no predicting what the spread might be on this game.

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