The Buffalo Bills were forced to start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel in yesterday’s game due to a rib injury to Thad Lewis, who handled the previous three starts and was somewhat effective. Tuel played well at the beginning against the NFL’s top pass defense, but things went downhill when Tuel threw an ill-advised ball that turned into a long, relatively easy pick six for Kansas City Chiefs corner Sean Smith. So yeah, Tuel looked like a UDFA at the end of the day, and he’s even more raw than starter and first-round pick E.J. Manuel.
The good news is that ESPN NFL Nation’s Mike Rodak reported that the Bills have cleared E.J. Manuel to practice, but Manuel states that the final decision on whether or not he is able to play this week will come from head coach Doug Marrone. This week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is one that the Bills could certainly win, and I have a feeling they are more likely to allow Manuel to play if Thad Lewis’s recovery from a rib injury continues to go slower than planned.
One thing that the Bills showed early in the season was a lot of caution regarding potential injuries to Manuel, because they understand that he is an investment for the future. The Bills are smart enough not to try and rush Manuel, but it’s clear that he’s the best quarterback on the roster despite his status as a raw rookie. If Manuel can put in some good practice sessions throughout the week, then he should be a full-go against the Steelers.