The Buffalo Bills need first-round quarterback E.J. Manuel to practice by Wednesday next week in order to play against the New England Patriots, otherwise they will be forced to start a different rookie quarterback in undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel. Although the Bills are plenty high on Tuel after a big preseason thus far, it’s not ideal to throw a UDFA QB into the fire, especially one who couldn’t hold onto the Washington State Cougars starting gig in college. I like Tuel, but the Bills have to clearly rather have Manuel starting against a rival and contender in the Patriots.
According to the Buffalo News, E.J. Manuel has not begun throwing yet, and he is still rehabbing following surgery. He will still need to practice at least three times before the Patriots game, but it looks like Manuel could be on track for that. Even though the Bills will likely slow things down in an effort not to rush their long-term investment at QB, there is still plenty of hope and a chance of Manuel playing behind center in the opener. While the Bills stated they are planning on starting Tuel, Bills head coach Doug Marrone seems to believe that Manuel has a pretty good chance of being healthy enough to play.
Manuel quickly began rehabbing following knee surgery on the 18th, and the fact that he hasn’t started throwing yet tells us that he’s still rehabbing (the Buffalo News termed it as “working out”). The clear plan made by the Buffalo Bills is to have E.J. Manuel practice three times before playing, and it appears that they are comfortable with playing Jeff Tuel for a game if Manuel can’t. It’s a very fluid and vexing issue, and you can’t help but feel bad for the Bills right now.