It’s never too early to get some advance scouting in on a regular season opponent, and the New England Patriots’ week one foe, the Buffalo Bills, have recently been dealt a tough hand at the quarterback position.
2013 first round draft choice EJ Manuel underwent a procedure on his knee earlier in the month, putting his status for the start of the 2013 regular season in question. Then, on Saturday, the Bills had veteran Kevin Kolb go down with a concussion that is being considered career threatening.
This has left the Bills with a whole lot more question’s at a position that the team already was uncertain (although hopeful) about heading into 2013. Today, Bills head coach Doug Marrone announced that the plan is to go forward with rookie free agent quarterback Jeff Tuel as the team’s week one starter.
That doesn’t rule out Manuel starting, but it means that the Bills have no choice but to prepare as though he won’t be. As for Tuel, Patriots fans might be a bit familiar with him as the Patriots worked him out prior to the 2013 draft. He’s got good size, and is considered a dual-threat guy. Nonetheless, as Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings writes, Tuel wasn’t even a lock to make the roster heading into training camp:
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.
And to make things more unfortunate for the Bills, they have also lost budding star cornerback Stephon Gilmore for eight weeks due to a hand/wrist issue.