Jeff Tuel's Playing Time Poses Dilemma for Buffalo Bills in Preseason Week 4
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
As we speak, the Buffalo Bills' entire quarterback situation is one giant dilemma. Rookie first-rounder EJ Manuel is nursing a knee injury. Veteran Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion that could end his career.
Enter undrafted free-agent Jeff Tuel, who has been penciled in as the Week 1 starter according to head coach Doug Marrone and is now primed to become the first undrafted rookie quarterback to start Week 1 in the modern era.
Now, the Bills face a new dilemma: what to do with Tuel in the final preseason game.
On one hand, they could use the game to give Tuel as much playing time as possible with the first-team offense. That would make sense, given the possibility that he could be asked to start Week 1. Tuel has only played with the second- and third-team offensive groupings in the team's three preseason games to date and could use some live game action to get on the same page with a different group of players.
On the other hand, the Bills are already down to their third-string quarterback and would probably rather not open themselves up to the possibility of the last quarterback standing getting injured in a meaningless preseason game (er-hem, Jets).
Unless they plan on not playing him at all, there's the potential risk that he could get injured. The Bills will have to assess how they feel about that risk and take the necessary action one way or the other.
Tuel has earned plenty of playing time in the preseason, with 107 total snaps, the most of any quarterback on the roster.
No one is going to confuse him with EJ Manuel, though. He doesn't have the arm strength of his first-round compatriot, and although he has enough mobility to extend plays with his legs, he's not going to reel off any "wow" runs.
Tuel isn't going to evolve into a brand-new quarterback simply by playing more in the preseason finale, but the game reps with the first-team offense could go a long way in building rapport between Tuel and his receivers and also building Tuel's confidence.
How long should Jeff Tuel play?
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand or via team news releases.
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