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Undrafted QB Jeff Tuel's value soars with EJ Manuel's injury

By Tim Graham

Kevin Kolb isn't the only beneficiary of EJ Manuel's knee injury.

Manuel's inability to play for the rest of the preseason will grant undrafted rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel meaningful practice reps and exhibition snaps for the next two weeks.

Tuel would have been looking at mop-up duty for the Buffalo Bills the rest of the way. He might not have played at all next Saturday at Washington.

Teams traditionally play their starters for as long as possible in the third preseason game, meaning Manuel likely would have gotten the start and played into the third quarter. Kolb probably would have finished the game.

Now the Bills must make sure Tuel, their only other arm, is as prepared as possible. Kolb has proven to be injury prone. One unfortunate misstep, awkward pivot or vicious hit could put Tuel in line to start on opening day.

No matter how minor Manuel's knee procedure will be, he won't be able to run full speed for a while. The Bills already have ruled him out for the last two preseason games.

There are no guarantees the Bills will want to insert Manuel back into the lineup for the New England Patriots on Sept. 8. The situation has to be proper.

He's a quarterback who likes to move. Throwing on the run is one of his prominent skills. While the Patriots' defense isn't fearsome as a unit, they do have some savage players. Remember when Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes ripped off Ryan Fitzpatrick's helmet last year?

Tuel, from Washington State, has been an efficient quarterback against the Bills' backup defensive backs and opponents' reserve players.

He played the entire second half against the Indianapolis Colts and went 19 of 23 for 212 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings, he completed two of three passes for 24 yards.


EJ Manuel | Jeff Tuel | Kevin Kolb
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |