When Jeff Tuel signed with the Buffalo Bills following the 2013 NFL Draft, it was with the understanding that he'd have to fight for a spot on the 53-man roster. However, after injuries to E.J. Manuel and Kevin Kolb that are likely to keep both from starting in Week 1, Tuel now looks to be the most likely starter when the Bills kickoff their regular season against the New England Patriots.
On Monday, Tuel spoke to Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News about what it was like to practice with Matt Leinart and Thaddeus Lewis, two quarterbacks added shortly after Kolb suffered a potentially career-ending concussion:
"I don't know if ‘awkward' is the right word, but it was a little strange, odd," Tuel said. "It was just a completely different scenario. It was just two new guys. I'm the veteran all of a sudden, and I have to tell these guys the footwork, the progressions and stuff like that. I was telling Matt that it's funny how things circle around."
Suddenly the most tenured quarterback on the roster among the ones at practice, Tuel hasn't looked overwhelmed in preseason. In fact, through three games the undrafted rookie has completed 31-of-43 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Following the news that Tuel was now in-line to make the start for the Bills in Week 1, Brian Galliford of SB Nation's Buffalo Rumblings shared some thoughts on the rookie passer:
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.
During his senior season with the Washington State Cougars, Tuel completed 211-of-332 passes for 2,087 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions behind an offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 35 times.