Last week, current Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Thad Lewis took quite a beating. He left the game with a rib injury and returned later, but appears to be feeling the effects now that the adrenalin has worn off.
It’s so bad that Lewis could miss the Bills’ Week 9 showdown with the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs after sitting out practice on Wednesday. If that’s the case, the Bills could be forced to start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, who took the majority of the first-team reps.
Tuel impressed the Buffalo coaching staff enough this preseason to earn a spot on the regular season 53-man roster, but floundered when forced into action after starter E.J. Manuel went down in Week 3. Completing only eight of his 20 passes, Tuel managed a measly 80 yards while throwing an interception and taking two sacks. It wasn’t a reassuring performance for the raw rookie passer.
Unfortunately, the Bills might have to throw Tuel back into the fire if Lewis can’t go this weekend. Lewis missed practice while nursing the rib injury, and appears unlikely to play on Sunday. That means that Buffalo will have to choose between Tuel and recently-acquired Matt Flynn to determine their starting quarterback.
At this point, Tuel appears to be the lesser of the two evils.
While extremely raw and unpolished as a passer, the undrafted rookie showed some promise during the preseason and should have a solid grasp of the offense. Flynn, meanwhile, has only been with the team for a couple of weeks after tanking with the Oakland Raiders earlier in the season. In his only start of the year, Flynn was utterly ineffective, leading to his release a week later.
Unless Lewis undergoes a miraculous overnight recovery, Tuel will get the start on Sunday against a dominant Chiefs defense while Flynn serves as his backup. It’s a nightmare situation for Buffalo, but their options are rather limited.
If the Bills were hoping to pull off the upset this weekend, they might want to temper expectations with Tuel under center.