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Inside The Bills

Whaley: Adding another QB not likely

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 10:34 am

This week the Bills parted ways with veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb. With three “green” quarterbacks on the roster, there is some thought outside the organization that they might consider adding a free agent with more experience to compete for a backup role. Bills GM Doug Whaley put that thought to rest Friday.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley confirmed that right now there are no plans to add another quarterback though he would not completely rule it out.

“At this time no, but again we will keep all options open,” said Whaley.

When asked if the team would feel comfortable going into training camp with the three quarterbacks currently on the roster, EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel, Whaley said they would be.

“Comfortable, very comfortable and then you throw Dennis Dixon in,” he said. “All those guys are going to be another year in the system, so if you bring someone else in they’ll be new in the system. So we’re comfortable with where we are with the quarterback position.”

Dixon was on Buffalo’s practice squad as a quarterback last season.


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Tuel turned heads at NFLPA bowl last year

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2014 – 9:30 am

Bills QB Jeff Tuel wasn’t on the radar of many NFL clubs heading into the all important run up to the NFL draft at this time last year, but his presence on the National team roster in the 2013 NFLPA Bowl and more importantly his performance drew the attention of NFL scouts.

Tuel, whose college career was compromised by injuries, a subpar supporting cast and a coaching change, had a strong outing in the NFLPA bowl game last year. The Washington State QB was 8-for-8 passing for 64 yards and a touchdown, an eight-yard throw to Xavier Boyce in what wound up being a 34-0 win over the American team.

Bills WR Marquise Goodwin had also accepted an invitation to play in the NFLPA Bowl game, but later withdrew after receiving an invite to the Senior Bowl.

The 2014 NFLPA Bowl is being played today at 6 pm ET on ESPN


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills dress just 2 QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on November 10, 2013 – 11:50 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone hinted at it, but it’s official now. Buffalo is going into today’s game with just two quarterbacks.

It’s far from unusual, but EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis are the two active QBs. Jeff Tuel is inactive for the first time this season.


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Marrone may only dress 2 QBs Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2013 – 7:40 am

Doug Marrone is expecting to have both EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis available for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Provided they both continue on their current full participation path in practice there’s a good chance that third quarterback Jeff Tuel could be inactive Sunday.

“I probably get more concerned with linemen because there’s more positions,” said Marrone of his choices for his Sunday inactive list. “We go into the game with seven (linemen), but if someone maybe a little bit tweaked or injured, maybe you go into a game with eight.  I think the same at quarterback.  If someone is 100-percent healthy you may go in with three, but for limited number of people that are active… if I felt that someone was injured to the point that he could play, but if he gets a hit or a twist or a strain, for me I put him in there thinking I can at least get a half out of him. If I feel like that I usually add an extra guy.”

When asked if he’ll still dress all three quarterbacks, Marrone said he’s still weighing the options, but is leaning toward just keeping two active Sunday in Pittsburgh.

“That’s what I’ve been looking at,” he said. “I feel very good about EJ playing, I feel good about Thad and that’s why (Wednesday) I didn’t want to say this guy’s starting, this guy’s backing him up. I wanted to make sure they were healthy, they practice and how they feel after practice. I’m probably not ready to make that decision yet, but right now they both look good, and if they both look good them I’m only going to dress two.”


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Stevie: Chiefs CB Smith lucked into INT

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2013 – 4:11 pm

Bills WR Stevie Johnson was wide open in the end zone on the failed 3rd-and-goal pass play to T.J. Graham because the man assigned to cover Johnson was not in position to cover Buffalo’s top receiver. As Johnson explains it Smith being the right place at the right time was none of Smith’s doing.

Johnson describes why Smith was where he was when Jeff Tuel tried to hit Graham on the slant.

“I shook him, he almost fell and he basically fell into an interception and that was it,” said Johnson.

When asked if Smith lucked into an INT, Johnson said, “Definitely.”

Johnson did not have a problem with Tuel going to Graham on that pass play.

“No, it’s not on him,” said Johnson of Tuel. “He felt like the outside route would work and you’ve got to go with it. It worked in practice and in the game it didn’t. We’ve got a 50-50 chance on whether it’d be a touchdown or incomplete pass. In this case it was an interception.”

Tuel for the record did accept 100 percent responsibility for the outcome of the play.


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Tuel’s plan for Chiefs pass rush

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 12:05 pm

As Jeff Tuel gets set for his first NFL start today against Kansas City, he’s well aware of the Chiefs’ potent pass rush. Here’s how he intends to approach it in today’s game.

Job number one, avoid quarterback hits. Knowing that the quarterback depth chart is pretty much down to himself and Matt Flynn, Tuel knows he has to be quick with his decisions and not take on any unnecessary contact.

“Obviously they lead the league in sacks so they’re doing something right. They look really good on tape,” said Tuel. “We’ve got to have a great week of practice and just be prepared for that. I have to take care of myself because we’re down in quarterbacks so I’ve got to do whatever I can do to get down and do the necessary things. We’re not going to prepare any different because a team is undefeated or leading the league in sacks. So we’re just going to do our thing and continue to get better. “

A lot of three and five step drops are expected for Tuel today in the passing game, knowing Kansas City’s pass rush doesn’t allow for much success when teams try seven-step drop with their quarterback against them. The ball simply has to be out sooner than that.


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What Tuel learned vs. Browns

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 11:50 am

It wasn’t a performance that built a lot of faith in Jeff Tuel on the part of the fan base. His relief appearance in Week 5 at Cleveland wasn’t a good one. But Tuel feels he’s learned an awful lot from his first regular season NFL action and intends to improve on it today in his first NFL start.

“Really just going out there being under the lights and taking my first real official NFL snap helped,” said Tuel this week. “I mean you have a lot of adrenaline flowing you’ve got nerves and all that. I know how to handle it and prepare for it and you’ve got all these things, I just learned a lot about about myself and the system and operating it and not doing too much.”

Look for a quick passing game for Tuel today so he can get the ball out quickly to help neutralize Kansas City’s pass rush.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Jeff Tuel will start at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 11:38 am

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Bills undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, as expected, will start at quarterback for Buffalo today against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. With Thad Lewis unable to practice at all this week due to sore ribs, Tuel will make his first NFL start. Here are the other Bills inactives for today’s game.

With Thad Lewis also inactive it means that Matt Flynn will serve as the backup quarterback today.

QB EJ Manuel
QB Thad Lewis
CB Justin Rogers
LB Ty Powell
CB Brandon Smith
RB Ronnie Wingo
G Antoine McClain


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Report: Tuel to start at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2013 – 8:21 am

It won’t be official until the inactive list is announced around 11:30, but there are reports already that undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel will make his first NFL start for the Bills today against the undefeated Chiefs.

That according to CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora.

We’ll provide the official announcement when it’s made right here later this morning.


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No matter who is at QB, experience limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2013 – 4:24 pm

The Bills quarterback decision for Sunday has not been made yet as head coach Doug Marrone waits to see if Thad Lewis can throw the football effectively at practice Saturday. In the grand scheme of things however, no matter who starts at quarterback, their level of experience will be very, very limited.

EJ Manuel began the season without any NFL starts and now has five.
Matt Flynn, who just finished his third practice week with the Bills, has three career NFL starts.
Thad Lewis, who is doubtful to play this week, has four career starts now, all but one with Buffalo.
Jeff Tuel has no NFL starts.

That’s why when trying to prepare one starter for a game, the Bills offensive staff has had to put all their attention on the young, inexperienced player who is going to take the field so he’s ready to play.

“When EJ Manuel was our starting quarterback and we were coming off a short week every game for him was a new experience,” said Marrone. “So we had to put all our time and take all of our reps and put it into our starter because all of our quarterbacks right now, Thad prior to coming here had one start in the NFL. EJ had zero starts in the NFL. Jeff Tuel had zero starts in the NFL. Matt Flynn has three starts in the NFL. So the point is you’ve got to make decisions and get people ready to play.”

That was harder this week, but knowing Tuel has been in the system the longest with Manuel, he naturally feels comfortable executing the offense.

“I think the more time in the system the better the player is going to be,” said Tuel. “It’s crazy to think that we haven’t had a quarterback play who’s had a single offseason in this system with Coach Hackett. We’re all brand new it. EJ and I are rookies, Thad came into it in the tail end of training camp last preseason game. The more time in this system is going to do great things for every guy, especially at the quarterback position.”


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Stevie focused on making plays, not QB decision

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2013 – 10:55 am

Buffalo’s quarterback situation is again in flux this week with Thad Lewis nursing some sore ribs. It could mean that the Bills have to start Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn on Sunday. Despite the frequent changes at quarterback Stevie Johnson isn’t focused on who might be throwing to him this weekend.

“I don’t even think about that,” said Johnson. “I’ve got to think about who I’m going to catch passes from this week and that’s pretty much it. I can’t think of if I had this quarterback, and this guy was healthy, I can’t think about that, I just got to roll with what we have.”


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Flynn focused only on his preparation

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 5:27 pm

Whether it’s viewed as a competition to be the starter this week should Thad Lewis be unable to play due to sore ribs, Matt Flynn isn’t worried about how he looks in practice in comparison to Jeff Tuel. His only concern is knowing the game plan backwards and forwards.

“I’m in a competition with myself to learn the playbook and get myself as ready as I can,” said Flynn. “That’s the nature of the beast in the NFL, especially at the quarterback position, if you’re not that starting guy, you’ve got to be ready no matter what.  I’ve been in that situation plenty of times before in the past.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re the first guy or the fourth guy or whatever it is, you’ve got to prepare yourself like you’re going to be up there playing.  You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your teammates, just in case you get that call, no matter what happens.  You can’t control it, anybody else does, all I can do is control how prepared I am.”

Flynn has three starts in his NFL career.


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More QB shuffling, Lewis not working

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2013 – 11:42 am

Thad Lewis finished Sunday’s game after taking a licking in the loss to the Saints. All those body shots however, have had a cumulative effect as he’s not practicing here on Wednesday.

Rookie QB Jeff Tuel is working with the starters on offense here in practice Wednesday.

In other developments EJ Manuel is dressed for practice, but not expected to be an option Sunday against the Chiefs. That would make Matt Flynn the backup to Tuel if Lewis is not healthy enough to be available.

We’ll get the full lowdown from Coach Marrone post practice.


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Tuel the backup QB again

Posted by Chris Brown on October 25, 2013 – 12:36 pm

Buffalo’s backup quarterback this Sunday will be the same player as last week.

Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed it would be Jeff Tuel who will handle backup QB responsibilities this week.

Marrone said Matt Flynn is still getting a handle in Buffalo’s offense.


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QB Tuel the backup

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 11:42 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said late this week that his backup QB would be decided right before game time. That decision has been made.

Jeff Tuel will serve as the b kip to starter Thad Lewis against the Dolphins today.

Matt Flynn is inactive as he’s probably too new to the Bills play book to make the offensive staff comfortable that he could step in and execute the game plan.

With Lewis coming off a sprained foot it may only take one good shot to re-aggravate it.


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Tuel met with Marrone Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 14, 2013 – 5:35 pm

No doubt aware that the Bills were bringing in Matt Flynn for a workout Monday morning, rookie QB Jeff Tuel took it upon himself to go talk with head coach Doug Marrone to find out if his status on the Bills quarterback depth chart was in for a change.

“His status hasn’t changed and Jeff came in to see me,” said Marrone. “I told him (his situation) hasn’t really changed. Here was our plan in the beginning, this is what we wanted to do. This is how we see you, a young quarterback that’s developing. I really just reaffirmed all the things that I’ve said here. I said, ‘We like you, you’re a young developing quarterback. In a perfect world we were probably thinking practice squad, you played extremely well we were nervous about someone taking him and I told him the same thing.’

“Nothing has changed from that point. If Thad (Lewis) is not ready to go (Sunday) and we can’t get Matt (Flynn) ready then we’ll put Jeff in there and play with him.”

“There’s a chance there will be (more snaps for me) and I’m ready for it and I’m prepared for whatever the coaches need me to do,” Tuel told Buffalobills.com.

As we covered on Buffalobills.com, if the newly signed Flynn can demonstrate a sufficient ability to run the team’s game plan this week, he’ll likely be tabbed as the backup, otherwise it will be Tuel this week as the number two QB.


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Prepping from the practice squad

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2013 – 1:08 pm

Some might not see the practice squad as a great launching pad to a starting role, but Thad Lewis will have the chance to prove it can be. Here’s what he did to stay prepared for just the opportunity that sits in his lap for this Sunday.

“I have a great sense of the game plan, a great grasp of it,” said Lewis. “Every week you don’t just sit on the practice squad and don’t prepare as if you’re the starter. That’s your job. This is what you’re supposed to do. You have to learn and know the things you need to do. I’ve been doing that every week so it’ll be a regular week. I just get a chance to start this Sunday.”

As Eric Wood pointed out running the scout team every week in practice, Lewis, even though he wasn’t running Buffalo’s offensive plays still had more of a chance to impress the coaching staff and progress by getting more snaps during the week than backup Jeff Tuel.

“Thad has looked really good in practice. Your practice squad quarterbacks are generally going to get more reps throughout the year than your backup because he’s running the other team’s offense,” Wood said. “I think they liked a lot of what they saw in Thad throughout the season in the show team reps.”


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Where Tuel’s head is at

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2013 – 5:44 pm

For Bills QB Jeff Tuel the past five days have been anything but easy. Despite the injury to EJ Manuel, Tuel is going to remain the backup quarterback with Thad Lewis starting and he surrendered his jersey number to Brian Moorman, who re-signed with the club over the weekend. But captain Eric Wood said Tuel’s head is on straight and he’s in a healthy frame of mind.

“I talked to Jeff and I don’t know if disappointed is the word,” said Wood. “As a competitor he probably wanted to get the start, but he understands the coaches thinking. A mature kid and a guy that’s going to do all he can to help Thad this week and that’s a good mindset to have.”

Tuel is now wearing jersey number 7.


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Marrone talked to Tuel

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2013 – 10:06 am

Just a few days after stepping in as the relief quarterback for an injured EJ Manuel, Jeff Tuel again finds himself as the backup quarterback this week to Thad Lewis. The turn of events naturally led to head coach Doug Marrone having a one-on-one conversation with Tuel.

“I talked to him this morning,” said Marrone in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “We had a situation where he played very well in the preseason and we didn’t want to put him on the practice squad and lose a good, young developing quarterback. Jeff (Tuel) we’re excited about. He’s still developing.

“This is what I told Jeff. What happened to him was tough. On a short week he didn’t get any reps during that week because we had to get EJ all the reps possible with the defense being different from the one we faced the week before. We really put Jeff out there in the toughest situation we can. A rookie free agent quarterback, who’s had some success in the preseason and taken some snaps, but mentally for me I think that was a tough situation to put him in. Jeff told me he was ready to go, which is what you want from a player.”

In the way Marrone went back and described how things unfolded in the preseason leading up to final cuts, Tuel’s performance in the preseason games forced the club to carry him on their active roster for fear of losing him to another club if he was put on their practice squad. It sounds as if prior to the preseason the Bills thought they’d be able to carry Tuel on their practice squad with minimal risk of losing him, but once he performed well it removed that as an option.

So when Thad Lewis was brought in and appeared in just the preseason finale with no measure of familiarity with the offense that even came close to that of Tuel, the club decided it would be Lewis that went on the practice squad at the start of the season and Tuel would be Manuel’s backup.

 


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Confidence in QB Tuel

Posted by Chris Brown on October 4, 2013 – 3:30 pm

He may not have looked great on Thursday night when he was thrust into a difficult situation, but the players on the offensive side of the ball for Buffalo remember the rookie QB not named EJ Manuel, who was one of the league leaders in passer rating this past preseason.

Jeff Tuel had a strong preseason, so strong that if EJ Manuel were not ready to start the opener in a return from his first knee injury Tuel would’ve started. Now six weeks later, Tuel is in the same type of scenario, only head coach Doug Marrone hasn’t made Tuel a lock to start.

Still, there is confidence in Tuel in Buffalo’s locker room.

“He’s a strong quarterback,” said fellow rookie Robert Woods. “He understands our offense and our system. We’ve got to be confident. We’re still a good offense, have good running backs, good receivers and a confident quarterback. He can make plays for this offense now.

Woods thinks with Tuel getting first team reps for the better part of two weeks in the preseason would serve as a benefit to him and the receiving corps if he’s taking first team reps again this coming week.

“He did play in some preseason games for us and he does have a little bit of game experience and that’s a plus for us,” said Woods. “This week right here is just pushing to get better. More reps with him would be better for us.”

“Yeah I’ll be ready to go,” Tuel said. “If they called on me in Week 1 if EJ wasn’t going to be ready to go I took all the reps and felt very comfortable with it. I felt like I had a great week of practice as the guy so I know what that role is like.”

 


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