Bills To Start Rookie QB Jeff Tuel vs. Patriots In Week 1

BOSTON (CBS) – When the New England Patriots take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, they’ll be facing a rookie quarterback — just not the rookie quarterback people expected.

On Monday, Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone said he plans on starting undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel in their regular season opener against New England if first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel cannot play.

Read: Patriots Release 5 Ahead Of Tuesday’s Roster Deadline

Manuel, the 16th overall pick in this year’s draft, underwent a minor procedure on his left knee last week that has put his status for the season-opener in doubt.

Tuel, who went undrafted out of Washington State, saw action in Buffalo’s preseason loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday when backup QB Kevin Kolb left with a severe concussion. Kolb is out indefinitely, and his concussion could be career-ending according to ESPN.

After replacing Kolb, Tuel went 10-for-17 for 63 yards.

Roche: Projecting The Patriots’ 53-Man Roster

The Bills also signed free-agent quarterback Matt Leinart, and traded for Thad Lewis on Sunday, but for now it appears they’ll go with the undrafted rookie for Week 1.

Tune in to the Patriots preseason finale Thursday night against the New York Giants on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. on 98.5 FM, and at 7.p.m. on WBZ with a special edition of Patriots GameDay. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., which a full post game show on 98.5 and a special Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV!

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