Every time a team takes the field there is a chance that history will be made, but when the Buffalo Bills face off with the New England Patriots to open the regular season, it looks like all they will have to do in order to make history is show up.
Thanks to injuries to E.J. Manuel and Kevin Kolb the Bills will be starting Jeff Tuel at quarterback. According to ESPN, when Tuel takes his first snap he will become the first undrafted rookie to start the season opener in the common draft era (circa 1967).
“That’s cool. Didn’t know that,” said Tuel when told of the circumstance. “It’s pretty cool, it would definitely be an honor if that’s the case. I’m surprised that I’m the first if that’s the case, but like I said it’s a cool thing.
The reason Tuel was chosen to lead the team in Week 1 is pretty simple: No one else knows the offense as well as him.
Manuel had a minor knee procedure over the weekend. The initial word from the team was that he would be out for the preseason, but it is hard to believe that anything requiring surgery would need just a couple weeks to heal.
As for Kolb, the veteran quarterback may have taken his last snap. Against the Washington Redskins he suffered what has been classified as a serious concussion. After losing time to concussions in 2010 and ’12 there is concern that this one could be the end of the line for the 29-year-old.
Even thought the situation looks pretty bleak for the Bills, it may not be as bad as it seems. During preseason action Tuel has completed 31 of 43 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. He wasn’t half bad at Washington State either–when he wasn’t hurt. In his last season, he completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 2,087 yards and eight touchdowns along with eight interceptions.
In case something happens to him as well, the Bills have gone ahead and acquired a pair of quarterbacks, Matt Leinart and Thaddeus Lewis. Leinart had been a free-agent and Lewis was acquired from the Detroit Lions via trade.