From the FanPosts -Joel
It may be only Monday night, but I'm already looking ahead to the Kansas City Chiefs' next game. For the fourth time in five weeks, the Chiefs will face a team without their starting quarterback. Of all the Chiefs’ opponents this year, the Bills have been arguably the most snake-bitten under center- their top three quarterbacks have all been injured at some point, leading to significant playing time for a man who the national media seems to think is just a walking pun. With so much uncertainty about the position (not only before the game but after it starts as well), Chiefs fans may be wondering: who are the many quarterbacks of the Buffalo Bills?
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably state here that due to deep family roots in the Buffalo area, I am a fan of the Bills as well as the Chiefs. However, this is not a fact that I readily admit… I’ve seen more of these quarterbacks than I’d like to.)
First, some of the career statistics for each of the quarterbacks on the Bills' roster:
|Matt Flynn||Kevin Kolb||Thad Lewis||E.J. Manuel||Jeff Tuel|
|Experience||6 years||7 years||2 years||Rookie||Rookie|
|Games Started This Year
Games Started Last Year
Here are the many quarterbacks of the Buffalo Bills, listed in an order based on how likely they are to line up under center this Sunday:
Thaddeus Lewis has arguably the most fun name to say of any quarterback in the NFL this season. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shout "THADDEUS" every time the player has come up in casual conversation this year.
THADDEUS originally started the season on the Bills’ practice squad, but was promoted to start against Cincinnati in Week 6 after E.J. Manuel went down against Cleveland the week before. He has been an adequate replacement, averaging a little over 200 yards and a touchdown per game. THADDEUS was able to knock off a decent Miami team in Week 7, and took the Bengals to overtime the week before. However, THADDEUS’s wheels fell off last week against New Orleans, as he fumbled three times in a blowout loss.
Either the football gods or Matt Flynn himself have decided that Matt Flynn will never play a substantial role in any football game ever again. Ten years from now, during a game of two-hand touch at a family barbecue, Flynn will be benched in favor of Uncle Roger, who has an arm strength equal to the Six Million Dollar Man after the plane crash but before the operation.
Flynn will likely be active for the Bills for the first time this Sunday, but won't face action on the field unless THADDEUS gets injured (which, given the Bills’ track record this season, is actually pretty likely). Despite being signed several weeks ago, he was inactive in recent games against Miami and New Orleans because he hadn’t gotten a firm grasp on the Buffalo offense. In the one game Flynn has started this year, he suffered a disappointing loss to Washington, taking seven sacks in the process.
Jeff Tuel, an undrafted rookie out of Washington State, was the backup quarterback for the early part of the season after Kevin Kolb went down during training camp. He was called upon after E.J. Manuel was injured on Thursday Night Football against the Browns in Week 5, and promptly threw a pick-six to seal the victory for Cleveland. THADDEUS would take the reins from there, and Tuel hasn’t seen the field since. (He’s been forced to turn around and look at the stands during games)
Here are some fun facts about Jeff Tuel:
· Jeff Tuel went 4-22 in college as a starting quarterback
· Jeff Tuel did not have a Wikipedia page until after this year’s third preseason game
· Jeff Tuel was almost the first undrafted rookie to start at quarterback in Week 1 in the NFL, but then the Bills forced E.J. Manuel to recover faster from his knee operation because there was no way they were going to let that happen
· Jeff Tuel has thrown for 80 more yards in the NFL than you have
The Bills drafted E.J. Manuel substantially higher than they needed to this year and he was dubbed their "Quarterback of the future." (Remember those days?) Manuel would go on to have an operation on his knee during the preseason, and then sprained his LCL in Week 5. Manuel has occasionally shown flashes of brilliance (leading a game-winning drive over Carolina in Week 2) and flashes of things that aren’t brilliance:
Unfortunately for Bills fans, E.J. Manuel won’t be playing on Sunday unless he discovers the miraculous healing powers of Wolverine.
Kevin Kolb and Brad Smith
During training camp, Kevin Kolb threw his hat in the ring for Most Ridiculous Preseason Injury Ever when he slipped on a rubber mat, didn’t fall down, and still managed to injure his knee. He recovered from that injury, only to suffer a severe concussion against Washington early in the preseason that not only ended his season but also might end his career. Kevin Kolb could be the unluckiest player to ever play football. May his recovery be a speedy one.
While looking things up about Kevin Kolb, I was reminded of another Bills "quarterback" who was placed on injured reserve earlier this year: Brad Smith, who has occasionally been listed as a third-string quarterback but is also a wide receiver/running back/return man/hey is that Dexter McCluster’s long-lost brother? Smith injured his ribs in a preseason game against Detroit.
Neither Kolb nor Smith will play Sunday against Kansas City; in fact, it seems unlikely that either will play ever play quarterback for the Bills again.
Bonus: Brian Moorman
Brian Moorman is the Bills’ punter- the one who repossessed Jeff Tuel’s uniform number, because after twelve prior years with the Bills, he’s substantially more popular than "that undrafted rookie who threw a pick-six and lost us a game." Moorman is evidently the best option to play under center of all the players on Buffalo’s roster, as he has a passer rating of 117.9, much higher than any quarterback listed on the depth chart. (He is 3/7 for 68 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs over his career). Should the Bills lose all of their other quarterbacks to injuries or freak lightning strikes, in my mind, Moorman should be the choice to fill the void.
* * *
Even despite all of their issues at the quarterback position, the Bills are a tough team. They are 3-5 on the year, but nearly beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 1, the Jets in Week 3, and the Bengals in Week 6. That’s right: if things had swung their way, the Bills could very easily have been 6-2. They’ve had strong defensive play this year, with Mario Williams busting out of his slump, and LB Kiko Alonso looking like a solid candidate for Rookie of the Year. And I’m sure no Chiefs fans have forgotten how tough the Bills have played us in the last few years.
The only thing holding the Bills back right now seems to be their unintentional quarterback carousel. Manuel should return in November, but if any other QBs go down before then, well- there must be some reason that JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow were still included in my fantasy football draft client.