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Jeff Tuel's uncommon company among undrafted rookie starters

By Tim Graham

Jeff Tuel became the 46th undrafted quarterback to start as a rookie since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, according to data.

If that number seems high, then consider 17 of those were strike replacements in 1987. A slew of quarterbacks who came through other pro leagues (Warren Moon, Jeff Garcia, Bobby Hebert, et al) also count toward the total.

So for the proper context to underscore Tuel's lack of pedigree and experience, know that he became only the 13th undrafted rookie under 25 years old and not from the strike season to start since the merger.

  • Rick Arrington, 1970 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Don Gault, 1970 Cleveland Browns
  • Bill Demory, 1973 New York Jets
  • J.J. Jones, 1975 New York Jets
  • Jim Zorn, 1976 Seattle Seahawks
  • Mike Lloyd, 1980 St. Louis Cardinals
  • Brad Goebel, 1991 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Kelly Holcomb, 1997 Indianapolis Colts
  • Jake Delhomme, 1999 New Orleans Saints
  • Doug Johnson, 2000 Atlanta Falcons
  • Anthony Wright, 2000 Dallas Cowboys
  • Matt Moore, 2007 Miami Dolphins
  • Jeff Tuel, 2013 Buffalo Bills

Willie Totten, a 1987 strike replacement, was the only other undrafted rookie to start at quarterback for Buffalo.

Tuel became Buffalo's third starter this year. That has happened three times in the past six seasons, with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards and Brian Brohm doing it in 2009 and 2010.

Week Nine is the earliest the Bills have started three quarterbacks since 1969, when James Harris, Jack Kemp and Dan Darragh were called upon.

The Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns are the only other teams to have started three quarterbacks this year.

Poll: With EJ Manuel out, which QB should Bills acquire?

By Tim Graham

With pedigreed rookie quarterback EJ Manuel out of commission for "a few weeks" and undrafted rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel looking unprepared to play regular-season NFL games yet, the Buffalo Bills are in the market for some outside help.

Doug Marrone today announced the Bills are on the lookout and whomever gets added to the roster could start Oct. 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

As the list below illustrates, options are far from rousing.

The free-agent market includes several quarterbacks the Bills have employed in the past or granted tryouts. Maybe there are a couple trade possibilities, too.

Tell us who you would go after if you had your druthers.

With Bills down to two, a rundown of QBs who didn't make final cuts

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills this afternoon cut their second quarterback in 24 hours, releasing the recently acquired Thad Lewis.

That leaves the Bills with rookies EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel on the QB depth chart. While some teams keep only two quarterbacks on the active roster, going with an injured rookie and an undrafted rookie would seem like a trailblazing (i.e. reckless) idea.

Manuel is coming off a knee procedure and might not be ready for the Sept. 8 opener against the New England Patriots. Tuel didn't start a preseason game and didn't play a down Thursday night against the Detroit Lions.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the quarterbacks other teams cut over the past two days to reach their 53-man rosters by 6 p.m. today:

  • David Carr, New York Giants
  • Jimmy Clausen, Carolina Panthers (injured)
  • Aaron Corp, Miami Dolphins (injured)
  • Dayne Crist, Baltimore Ravens
  • Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams
  • Dennis Dixon, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Trent Edwards, Chicago Bears
  • Ryan Griffin, New Orleans Saints
  • Caleb Hanie, Baltimore Ravens
  • Chandler Harnish, Indianapolis Colts
  • Mike Kafka, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • G.J. Kinne, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Greg McElroy, New York Jets (injured)
  • Jordan Palmer, Chicago Bears
  • Brady Quinn, Seattle Seahawks
  • Matt Scott, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • John Skelton, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Rusty Smith, Tennessee Titans
  • Alex Tanney, Dallas Cowboys
  • Tim Tebow, New England Patriots
  • Seneca Wallace, San Francisco 49ers
  • Vince Young, Green Bay Packers

Poll: Disaster! Lone options are JaMarcus Russell, Trent Edwards

By Tim Graham

Unemployed former Buffalo Bills starter Trent Edwards reportedly will be one of three quarterbacks the Chicago Bears bring in this week for a tryout.

Captain Checkdown, however, isn't the headliner. Not even close.

The Bears are taking a look-see at 2007 top draft choice JaMarcus Russell, considered by many the worst draft pick of all-time.

Continue reading "Poll: Disaster! Lone options are JaMarcus Russell, Trent Edwards" »

Bills quarterbacks don't find greener pastures elsewhere

By Tim Graham

Not that Buffalo Bills fans were worried to begin with, but there shouldn't be any regret about Ryan Fitzpatrick leaving town.

Of all the former Bills who have come back to haunt them, quarterbacks haven't been a concern.

That could be viewed two ways. Either the Bills have been adept at moving on from an ineffective player, or they haven't been able how to identify a quarterback to begin with.

Continue reading "Bills quarterbacks don't find greener pastures elsewhere" »

Buffalo's next QB will be the 11th starter since Jim Kelly retired

By Tim Graham

Amid all the mystery about what the Buffalo Bills' offense will look like under new head coach Doug Marrone, one thing is certain.

On opening day, the Bills will use their 11th starting quarterback since Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season.

The Bills today released incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started the previous three seasons. Whether it be Tarvaris Jackson, a free agent or a rookie, the next quarterback will be someone who hasn't taken a snap for the Bills.

Continue reading "Buffalo's next QB will be the 11th starter since Jim Kelly retired" »


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 |