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Since merger, no NFL club has begun season with only rookie QBs

Jeff Tuel, left, and EJ Manuel could be the NFL's first rookie-exclusive quarterback group to open a season since the merger. (Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' quarterback plan isn't according to Hoyle.

What they're about to do isn't even according to Brodie Croyle or Brian Hoyer.

The Buffalo Bills have two quarterbacks on their active roster, EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel. Both are rookies. Even when you consider Thad Lewis from the practice squad, Bills quarterbacks have combined to play one NFL game.

As writer Bill Barnwell points out, the Bills would become the first NFL team since the 1970 merger to open a season with only rookie quarterbacks on its roster.

If the Bills aren't comfortable enough with Manuel's knee injury to start him against the New England Patriots on Sunday, then Tuel would become the first undrafted rookie in the modern NFL to start on opening day.

I wonder what a robust analytics department would say about the Bills' chances to succeed with such a strategy.

Cornelius Bennett, one four linebackers on the Bills' 50th anniversary team, tweeted his reaction:

Russ Brandon warned us when he took over as team president the Bills would be outside-the-box thinkers, progressive, daring.

I'm pretty sure this wasn't what the fans had in mind.


Jeff Tuel | Russ Brandon | Thad Lewis
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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 |