Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Does everybody know what time it is? TUEL TIME! That’s right, the Buffalo Bills are proud to present, Jeff ‘The Tuel Man’… Tuel! Well, I don’t know if they’re “proud” about it, but the Buffalo Bills may be forced to present an undrafted rookie quarterback out of Washington State named Jeff Tuel in Week 1 against the Patriots. Why has it come to this, you might ask? The Bills are stuck in this position because their top two quarterbacks are currently injured. Kevin Kolb suffered a possibly career-ending concussion in last weekends preseason loss to the Redskins, and first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel underwent knee surgery during the preseason and is unlikely to return for Week 1. The Bills more recently signed veteran quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and Detroit Lions backup quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to give them a few more solid options at the position, but Tuel being the only healthy quarterback that knows the playbook gives him a clear advantage going into Week 1.
After Jeff Tuel’s first preseason game, the 44-20 beat down of the Indianapolis Colts, all of Buffalo was having a good laugh about Tuel’s incredible statistics. Tuel went 19-for-23 passing for 212 yards and 2 touchdowns (against the Colts backups-backups?). I even recall myself proclaiming “why don’t we start this Jeff Tuel guy, he’s the best thing we’ve seen since Doug Flutie”… three weeks later I am eating my words. But who could have predicted it would come to this? Every NFL team holds a developmental 3rd string quarterback on their roster to see what he can do, not expecting him to see any real in-game action. While Kevin Kolb is injury prone, the chances Kolb and Manuel would both go down before our season opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium were very unlikely. But here we are…
If Tuel is the starting quarterback on September 8th, he’ll become the first undrafted rookie to start his first game out of college since sometime before 1950… I presume. But there is some hope. Technically, Tuel outplayed Kolb in the preseason anyways, so there’s that. The Bills have also said that Manuel is still on track to start Week 1. With Manuel back at full health, Tuel may never see the field this season anyways. But if he does happen to start the game next Sunday, here are my two bold predictions of The Tuel Man’s performance.
The best case scenario: Tuel comes out swinging, throwing for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns while leading the Bills over the mighty New England Patriots on Opening Day. Twitter trends “Tuel Time” or “Fuel for Tuel” and hits social media superstardom as “Linsanity” and “Tebowmania/ Tebow Time” did before it. Jeff Tuel is the most surprising story of the NFL season and he is on the front of every newspaper and magazine in America. He goes on to start for the Bills helping Buffalo to 6 straight wins until going down with a knee injury, ending the “Tuel Time” hype.
The less-awesome, more likely scenario: For all those who understood my opening reference to the 1990’s American television sitcom Home Improvement in the opening line of this article, you’ll know that every episode of Home Improvements meta-program or show-within-a-show Tool Time ended with a massive disaster from Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. This is more realistically what we will see from our new pal Jeff Tuel. A complete and utter disaster. Throwing for 40 yards and 4 interceptions in a Patriots blowout. But who knows, maybe C.J. Spiller can act as our Al Borland and save the day from complete catastrophe?
With all this being said, my advice would be to start the Patriots defence in Week 1 of your Fantasy Football League. And remember Bills faithful, we probably would have lost to New England in Week 1 anyways…