We are officially less than a week away from the start of training camp! In just six days Bills players will put on the pads and fight for an opportunity to crack the starting roster. Today I would like to focus our attention on the quarterbacks, probably the one position on this team where the starter has absolutely been already determined. Like or not the Bills have already decided that EJ Manuel is our starting QB for the 2014-15 season and the only thing that is going to change that is if he suffers a serious injury. Nothing any of these competing quarterbacks do in camp or preseason is going to vault them past Manuel in the lineup, so I suppose the real question here is which quarterbacks stay on the roster and/or how many?
If you don’t recall we had at one point 4 quarterbacks on our active roster well into the season last year and I cant say that it wont happen again this year. They kept Jeff Tuel on the roster because they felt that another team would snatch him up if he was put on the practice squad, so they put Thad Lewis on the pratice squad instead. Then the unthinkable happened and our precious rookie EJ Manuel went down with an injury, that resulted in two things: 1. Signing Matt Flynn in an effort to secure an emergency passer 2. elevating Thad Lewis from the practice squad because he was obviously much better suited to play in an NFL game than undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. That put 4 QB’s on the the active roster because they were still not willing to waive Tuel and put him on the P.S. fearing another team would pick up the developing talent.
Once Manuel got healthy they couldn’t put Lewis back on the practice squad for the same reason they were afraid to put Tuel on it. Lewis had played well enough in his 6 games to show that he has the ability to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but they had just signed Flynn so we played with 4 QB’s on our roster for a few weeks. It seems Flynn was worth absolute garbage to us and was eventually released from the team before ever actually taking a snap for us in his short time in Buffalo.
As it stands now we have four quartbacks: EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis, Dennis Dixon and Jeff Tuel. It is not completely out of this world to think that all four of them will make the final 53 man roster either as we have seen the Bills do it just last season. Without a doubt we are keeping at least three of them, so if that is the case then who is the odd man out? I can tell you now that it is not Thad Lewis so that leaves either Dixon or Tuel without a spot on this roster.
That is going to be the quarterback match-up to watch this off-season, they are in my eyes are the only two QB’s that will be fighting for a roster spot this pre-season. If they don’t decide to keep all four QB’s (which they absolutely shouldn’t) then Buffalo is going to have to finally decide whether or not Jeff Tuel is worth their time and is developing as they had hoped. They are exceptionally high on him and I know they will give him every opportunity to show he has more potential than Dixon. Neither one of these guys are going to be handed the spot, which just might result in the most exciting battle for a 3rd string quarterback spot we have ever seen.
I know the Bills have made an extensive effort to improve the offensive line to give our quarterbacks more protection, but that doesnt mean we wont end up seeing our 3rd string QB start any games. As we seen last season two of your quarterbacks can go down in the same game, then you’re left figuring out who goes in if your emergency backup goes down. That is a situation I never want to see as a Bills fan ever again. Regardless of who makes the team as our 3rd string quarterback I can only hope that he never sets foot on the field, so whoever it is lets just keep him away from the football.