Jeff Tuel will be the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback against the New England Patriots for Week 1 of the regular season, head coach Doug Marrone announced Monday. With Kevin Kolb potentially hanging up his cleats after sustaining a concussion and rookie E.J. Manuel recovering from minor knee surgery, the Bills are now down to their third-string quarterback for the time being.
Manuel has not been ruled out to play, but considering his wide lead on the competition before his knee injury, it stands to reason that he still needs recovery time. Marrone stated that he hopes Manuel will be ready for the Sept. 8 opener, which isn't a ringing endorsement. Bills blog Buffalo Rumblings breaks down Tuel thusly:
Tuel, 22, is an undrafted free agent out of Washington State. Heading into training camp, there were doubts as to whether or not he'd even make the team, as the Bills seemed to prefer the idea of keeping two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. A strong start to the preseason made it clear that he'd make the team as a third quarterback, but clearly, the fact that he's now likely going to be squaring off against Tom Brady in his first professional start was not the team's plan by any stretch.
Tuel completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 2,087 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 games played for a 3-9 Washington State team.
Time to re-iterate something on the Jeff Tuel front: if Manuel is healthy, he'll play. Manuel's not healthy yet. Ergo, Tuel's up next.— Buffalo Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) August 26, 2013