Buffalo Bills: Jeff Tuel

Bills offseason preview: Quarterbacks

January, 26, 2015
Jan 26
10:00
AM ET
With their coaching staff now settled, beginning a position-by-position look at the Buffalo Bills' roster with an eye toward free agency and the draft:

Position: Quarterback

2014 snaps:
Stat of note: The Bills were one of six teams -- along with the Saints, Bears, Chiefs, Redskins and Rams -- whose quarterbacks completed more passes to running backs and tight ends (183) than to wide receivers (180).

Tuel
Manuel
Pending free agents: None

2015 cap hits (position rank):
  • Manuel: $2.423 million (31st in NFL)
  • Jeff Tuel: $510,000
Money line: The Bills had the seventh-lowest quarterback spending (by cap value) in 2014 and currently are among the bottom five teams for 2015. They have some money to spend, but where do they spend it?

Market watch: Pending free agents include Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick, Shaun Hill, Jake Locker, Brian Hoyer, Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett and Matt Moore. Potential trade or release candidates include Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon and Nick Foles.

Draft need: High -- the Bills are in desperate need of help here. They don't have a first-round pick but they can take another swing at finding their franchise quarterback with their second- or third-round selections.

Scout's take: "I am not totally ready to write off Manuel, but counting on him right now seems ridiculously risky. Kyle Orton is gone and well, good riddance, as he was never vaguely close to being the answer. Maybe more than any other team in the NFL, the Bills are presently in QB No Man’s Land and if an option like Bradford becomes available, or even an option like Mallett in free agency or trading for Glennon, Buffalo needs to be proactive." -- ESPN NFL scout Matt Williamson

Quote of note: "I feel like [Manuel] has a lot of traits that you look for in a quarterback. He’s smart, he’s dedicated. I think he has movement skills. I’d like to see him use his legs more than he has. Sometimes, just like we mentioned through coaching and even playing quarterback, I think a little more experience, the better you are going to be, the more comfortable you are going to be. He’ll certainly be given an opportunity here." -- Bills coach Rex Ryan, during his introductory news conference
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Kyle Orton's retirement -- one that both general manager Doug Whaley and coach Doug Marrone said caught them by surprise Monday morning -- casts the spotlight yet again on the Buffalo Bills' quarterback position.

At the Bills' season-ending wrap-up news conference Monday afternoon, Whaley set the stage for what will be the team's glaring top priority this offseason.

Manuel
"We'll leave all of our options open for acquiring a quarterback," Whaley said. "We don't want to put ourselves in a corner and show our hand."

The Bills enter the offseason with two quarterbacks on their roster: EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel, who was re-signed from the practice squad on Monday. After being benched after a 2-2 start this season, Manuel's future as the Bills' franchise quarterback is in doubt.

"Well, that's something we'll look at throughout this offseason," Whaley said. "By sheer numbers, we're going to have to add one, maybe two more. But that's something that we're going to go through with a fine-tooth comb and see if we can figure it out."

The Bills continue to characterize the decision to draft Manuel as being the consensus of the front office.

"I always say it’s a Buffalo Bills pick," Whaley said. "You guys can assign blame wherever you want but when we’re in draft meetings it is a consensus recommendation for our whole organization of where this guy is valued and where we should pick him in the draft."

When asked what he meant by assigning "blame" to the pick, Whaley clarified that he doesn't yet view Manuel as a bust.

"I wouldn’t say it was a failure," he said. "His career is not over. It’s just getting started. So that’s how I feel about it."
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Jeff Tuel takes the scout team to a whole new level.

The Buffalo Bills' practice squad quarterback is tasked each week with simulating the opposing quarterback in practice. Part of that is mimicking the cadence and mannerisms at the line of scrimmage, but Tuel goes even deeper than that.

Tuel showed up at Thursday's practice in his full Tom Brady get-up, complete with a glove and a play-call wristband on his left hand, a towel tucked into his shorts and tape over his ankles just the way the New England Patriots' star quarterback does it.

All it takes each week, Tuel said, is a simple Google search of how each opposing quarterback dresses.

How fine is Tuel's attention to detail? On Thursday, he was still wearing a rubber band around his right wrist from practice last week, prior to the Bills' win over the Detroit Lions.

Search for photos of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and you'll find -- you guessed it -- a rubber band on his wrist.

The Buffalo Bills re-signed seven players who were waived Saturday to their practice squad Sunday:
Tuel fills one of two additional practice squad spots that the NFL added this season. Those spots can be filled with players who wouldn't normally qualify for the practice squad -- Tuel was on the 46-man roster for more than eight games last season -- but still have less than three years of experience.

The Bills have three open practice-squad spots remaining.

Buffalo Bills cut-down analysis

August, 30, 2014
8/30/14
4:55
PM ET
Most significant move: The Buffalo Bills parted ways, for now at least, with backup quarterback Jeff Tuel. Of the four quarterbacks who started training camp with Bills -- EJ Manuel, Tuel, Thad Lewis and Dennis Dixon -- only Manuel remains. To replace Tuel, the Bills signed veteran Kyle Orton on Saturday. It's a significant upgrade, although the Bills will hope Orton doesn't have to play soon. He'll have to learn the playbook on the fly this season. Meanwhile, Tuel has a chance to return to the practice squad under the NFL's revised rules.

New-look offensive line: The Bills' shuffling on the offensive line resulted in Doug Legursky, an 11-game starter last season, being released. He was in a battle for his roster spot with Kraig Urbik over the last two preseason games. While Urbik was reportedly on the trade block, he'll stick for now. If left guard Chris Williams can't play in the season opener, expect rookie Cyril Richardson to start in his place. That would make Urbik the top interior backup. He edged out Legursky for that spot.

What's next: The Bills will scour the waiver wire as other teams make their moves. The claiming period ends at noon Sunday and it wouldn't be shocking if the Bills tried to upgrade positions. They could use help at tight end, where Scott Chandler (knee) and Lee Smith (toe) missed the preseason finale with injuries. They could also look to replace backup offensive tackle Chris Hairston. The team is also cycling through specialists, having claimed punter/kickoff specialist Jordan Gay and signed punter Colton Schmidt on Saturday. If another one becomes available, they may make a move.

Bills' moves: Released S Deon Broomfield, LB Jimmy Gaines, WR T.J. Graham, WR Caleb Holley, DE Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, DE Bryan Johnson, S Kenny Ladler, C Legursky, G Antoine McClain, QB Tuel, LB Xavius Boyd, DT Landon Cohen, TE Dominique Jones, CB Kamaal McIlwain, CB Sam Miller, P Brian Moorman, QB Jordan Palmer, FB Evan Rodriguez, WR Naaman Roosevelt, C Jared Wheeler. Placed on injured reserve: TE Tony Moeaki, CB Mario Butler, CB Bobby Felder.

Buffalo Bills waive QB Jeff Tuel

August, 30, 2014
8/30/14
4:15
PM ET
The Buffalo Bills' quarterback carousel continued to spin Saturday as the team waived backup Jeff Tuel.

Tuel's roster spot was in jeopardy following the signing of Kyle Orton, which the Bills made official Saturday. Orton, 31, will backup EJ Manuel.

For now, the Bills only have Manuel and Orton on their 53-man roster at quarterback.

The Bills began training camp with Manuel, Tuel, Thad Lewis, and Dennis Dixon on their roster at quarterback. They waived Lewis and Dixon earlier this week, while the team also signed and released quarterback Jordan Palmer this week.

Tuel, 23, started one game last season -- a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs -- as an undrafted rookie from Washington State. He played in four games this preseason, completing 64.4 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Under the NFL's new rules, Tuel is eligible to return to the practice squad as soon as noon Sunday.

Following up on Orton, Bills' moves

August, 30, 2014
8/30/14
11:00
AM ET
The Buffalo Bills got a head start on trimming their roster to 53 players, making 13 roster moves Friday.

Yet it's the one they haven't yet announced -- agreeing to terms with quarterback Kyle Orton -- that could have the biggest effect.

Here are some thoughts on that move and where the Bills stand entering Saturday's cut-down deadline at 4 p.m. ET:

Orton
Best backup QB available: For the time being, Orton was the best backup option on the open market. Like the Bills' hire of Jim Schwartz this offseason, when Schwartz was the best available defensive coordinator, it's a move that should be applauded. It took the Bills longer than it should have, but their backup quarterback situation is better than it was earlier this summer. It would have been more ideal if Orton was in Buffalo sooner and could have learned the playbook, but at 31, he's more experienced and a better bet if EJ Manuel suffers an injury.

Spotlight still on Manuel: Unless the Bills change their tune down the road, Orton isn't going to challenge Manuel for the starting job. So while they have one of the NFL's better backup quarterbacks, the Bills' overall quarterback situation still isn't where it needs to be. A few days ago, it was the worst in the NFL. Now it's in the bottom-third. It's hard to place the Bills' quarterback group any higher than that until Manuel proves in the regular season some of his preseason woes were a fluke or the product of a "vanilla" offense.

Punting situation problematic: The Bills cut veteran punter Brian Moorman after he ended the preseason with two sub-par performances. While the team claimed punter/kicker Jordan Gay off waivers, he only punted once in Thursday's game. The Bills didn't feel as though he was "ready" to punt yet and wanted to evaluate him more as a kickoff specialist. Whether that changes in the next eight days is not known. One way or the other, the Bills will need a punter for their opener in Chicago. Expect them to keep an eye on the waiver wire and try some players out. They had a similar situation at kicker around this time last season and struck gold with Dan Carpenter.

Parting with Cohen: Of the Bills' 13 roster moves Friday, the most surprising may have been the release of defensive tackle Landon Cohen. He quickly earned praised after signing early in training camp, proving to be a disruptive player in some of the Bills' preseason games. There are a few important factors to remember with Cohen: (1) He played mostly against lesser competition later in games, (2) He's a seventh-year, journeyman veteran who remained a free agent most of this offseason and should be available if needed during the regular season, and (3) The Bills likely only need two backups at defensive tackle and those roles were filled by Stefan Charles and Corbin Bryant. Cohen was a nice story during the preseason but he wouldn't have seen much, if any, playing time in the regular season.

Urbik on block? The Bills have already placed wide receiver T.J. Graham on the trade block, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan, but he may not be the only player. Guard Kraig Urbik, who started 16 games last season, could also be available, according to a tweet from CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora. The Bills seemingly tried everything they could do to push Urbik out of the starting lineup this preseason, shuffling players in and out of his right guard spot. Eventually the return of Cordy Glenn at left tackle had the trickle-down effect of moving Erik Pears to right guard. That could be the final blow to Urbik.

Marrone not set with Tuel as backup

August, 28, 2014
8/28/14
11:30
PM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills skipped over Jeff Tuel on their quarterback depth chart in Thursday's preseason finale, a 23-0 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Jordan Palmer, signed earlier this week, played the final three quarters, completing 9 of 22 passes for 73 yards and three interceptions.

The combination of Palmer's shaky performance and the Bills jettisoning Thad Lewis and Dennis Dixon means that Tuel should have an inside track for the backup job, right?

Not quite.

"No, I wouldn't say that's the situation," coach Doug Marrone said.

Instead of Tuel or Palmer as their backup to EJ Manuel in the regular season opener against the Chicago Bears, the Bills could look elsewhere.

"I don't want to speak without having spoken to [general manager] Doug [Whaley] yet, but we're both on the same page that if we can better our football team, no matter what, we will do it," Marrone said. "The big question is, do we go out right now?

"If we can go out and get someone that's better, absolutely. I don't think anyone would be disappointed in us doing that."

In four games this preseason, Tuel has completed 64 percent of his passes, with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 73.9 quarterback rating.

Bills Camp Report: Day 32

August, 20, 2014
8/20/14
5:00
PM ET
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Buffalo Bills training camp:
  • Another day, another practice where receiver Sammy Watkins suited up but wasn't a full participant. Watkins was in full pads, taking part in warm-up drills and stretching before watching the rest of the practice from the sideline. Coach Doug Marrone said the Bills' medical staff hasn't made a decision on Watkins' status for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At this point, it doesn't make sense to play Watkins unless he's completely healthy. The opener in Chicago is most important.
  • Tempers flared for some of the players who did practice. The highlight (lowlight?) of practice was a brawl in the end zone during a goal-line drill. Center Eric Wood, a team captain, and defensive end Bryan Johnson, an undrafted rookie, were at the center of it initially before it spilled off to the side. At one point, tight end Scott Chandler had to be restrained from Johnson. The language used between some of the players wasn't too family-friendly.
  • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin had just seemed to ramp his participation up to normal levels this week when he left Wednesday's practice with a groin injury. It's unclear if McKelvin will be available for Saturday's game. It has to be frustrating for McKelvin, who has taken several months to recover from offseason hip surgery and also dealt with a hamstring injury early last season. However, the Bills have some depth at cornerback to withstand any long-term blow.
  • It was another sharp day for quarterback EJ Manuel, who has been running against the scout team defense this week in practice. He went 11-for-15 in full-team drills, delivering his passes on-time and accurately on mostly shorter routes.
  • After Jeff Tuel received 26 snaps and Thad Lewis saw nine reps Tuesday, the two backup quarterbacks switched Wednesday. Lewis was the first to replace Manuel and finished practice with 25 snaps (compared to 33 for Manuel). Tuel had nine. Coaches are still giving both players a chance to win the backup job, but Tuel appears to be the front-runner. It wouldn't be surprising if he saw more reps Thursday.
  • Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (torn patella) was placed on injured reserve, and cornerbacks Mario Butler (ankle) and Bobby Felder (groin), as well as safety Jonathan Meeks (neck) were held out of practice. Tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring) continues to be limited; he spent team drills working with trainers on a side field.
  • The Bills will wrap up training camp at St. John Fisher College with a practice Thursday afternoon. They are off Friday before playing the Buccaneers on Saturday.

Bills Camp Report: Day 31

August, 19, 2014
8/19/14
9:00
PM ET
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Buffalo Bills training camp:
  • Sammy Watkins returned to practice in pads, although his participation was very limited. He took part in warm-up drills and stretching and then watched the remainder of practice from the sidelines. Watkins said afterwards that he could have practiced and could play in a game, but coach Doug Marrone took a more cautious route when speaking about Watkins' status for Saturday. The key is having Watkins healthy for the season opener, not the remainder of the preseason.
  • Marrone and quarterback EJ Manuel said after practice that it was more of a regular season-style practice. While there isn't likely much game planning for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bills' first-team offense ran against a "scout team" defense that included mostly third-team defensive backs. It wasn't too surprising, then, that Manuel went 15-for-15 in full-team drills. Here's how his completions broke down: Marquise Goodwin (4), Scott Chandler (3), Robert Woods (2), Mike Williams (2), Fred Jackson (2), C.J. Spiller (1), and T.J. Graham (1). His second-to-last throw was a deep ball down the left sideline to Graham, while one of his completions to Goodwin and both of Williams' catches were more downfield throws. The rest were flares, hooks, and shorter crossing patterns.
  • Given it was a "regular season" practice, it wasn't surprising that Manuel took the first 11 snaps of team drills, followed by eight snaps from Jeff Tuel. That's an indication that Tuel could be the first backup after Manuel comes off the field Saturday. Overall, Manuel took 29 snaps, Tuel took 26, and Thad Lewis took one set of nine. After Lewis' rocky outing last weekend, it's not a stretch to say he's fallen behind Tuel in the race to be the No. 2 quarterback, which could put his roster spot on uneven footing.
  • Couple of roster moves from the Bills on Tuesday, as they waived wide receiver Kevin Elliott and offensive lineman Edawn Coughman to bring their roster to 88 players. It's likely the case of the Bills wanting to give both players a chance to hook on with another team before the end of the preseason. They were a notch above the inexperienced players on the bottom of the roster but not within range of making the 53-man roster.
  • Not practicing Tuesday: linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (knee), Mario Butler (ankle), Jonathan Meeks (neck), and Bobby Felder (groin). In addition, tight end Tony Moeaki seemed to be limited in team drills as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
  • The Bills will practice again Wednesday morning before wrapping up training camp Thursday afternoon.

Breaking down Bills' offensive snaps

August, 17, 2014
8/17/14
5:35
PM ET
The Buffalo Bills' starters saw their most significant action of the preseason in Saturday's 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here is a breakdown of the offensive snaps, grouped by the order in which players entered the game on offense:

Offensive line
LT Seantrel Henderson -- 46 of 88 (starter)
LG/C Doug Legursky -- 50 of 88 (starter)
C Eric Wood -- 45 of 88 (starter)
RG/LG Kraig Urbik -- 50 of 88 (starter)
RT Erik Pears -- 46 of 88 (starter)
LT Chris Hairston -- 43 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
RG Cyril Richardson -- 42 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
RT Cyrus Kouandjio -- 43 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
LG Antoine McClain -- 38 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
C Macky MacPherson -- 38 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
RG J.J. Unga -- 0 of 88 (special teams only)
LG Jared Wheeler -- 0 of 88 (special teams only)
LT Edawn Coughman -- 0 of 88 (did not play)
LG Chris Williams -- 0 of 88 (injured/did not play)
LT Cordy Glenn -- 0 of 88 (medical/did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Different look from last week, as Williams was held out with a lower back injury. Legursky started in his place at left guard and played the entire first quarter before moving to center early in the third quarter. Unlike last week, Urbik played the entire first half at right guard and didn't rotate with Richardson. That could be an indication that he's ahead of Richardson in that battle. Also notable: Unga receiving no snaps on offense. He was on the Bills' 53-man roster late last season.

Quarterbacks
EJ Manuel -- 46 of 88 (starter)
Thad Lewis -- 16 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Jeff Tuel -- 26 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Dennis Dixon -- 0 of 88 (did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Lewis got the nod as the No. 2 for a second straight week, but the results weren't there. He went 1-for-6 and threw an interception, handing the ball over to Tuel beginning on the final play of the third quarter. Tuel's performances, while not great, have been better than Lewis' through three preseason games. Despite being the No. 3 quarterback in each of the last two games, he has the inside track to be Manuel's backup. That could put Lewis on shaky ground during final cuts.

Running backs
Fred Jackson -- 26 of 88 (starter)
C.J. Spiller -- 12 of 88 (entered in first quarter)
Anthony Dixon -- 18 of 88 (entered in second quarter)
Bryce Brown -- 18 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Ronnie Wingo -- 14 of 88 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: Quieter night for Spiller, with Jackson receiving double the workload of last week (13 snaps). Dixon entered the game before Brown after it was the other way around last week. It's possible that only one of them could be active on game days this season, so that's a battle worth watching.

Fullbacks
Frank Summers -- 17 of 88 (starter)
Evan Rodriguez -- 29 of 88 (entered in third quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: Another week of Summers leading the charge at fullback. Rodriguez could be in a tough spot to make the final roster.

Wide receivers
Sammy Watkins -- 8 of 88 (starter)
Mike Williams -- 23 of 88 (starter)
Chris Hogan -- 23 of 88 (entered in first quarter)
Robert Woods -- 38 of 88 (entered in first quarter)
T.J. Graham -- 27 of 88 (entered in second quarter)
Marcus Easley -- 12 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Kevin Elliott -- 12 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Chris Summers -- 27 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Caleb Holley -- 13 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Tori Gurley -- 26 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Naaman Roosevelt -- 3 of 88 (entered in fourth quarter)
Marquise Goodwin -- 0 of 88 (injured/did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Much longer look at Graham than last week, when he played just nine snaps. Graham even saw time with Manuel, a trend that began last week in practice. That could mean the Bills want to give their former third-round pick one more look with Manuel before making a decision on his roster spot. Graham had one catch for 16 yards and is still on very unstable footing to make the 53-man roster. At the top of the depth chart, Woods (38 snaps) benefited from Watkins' injury, taking his place alongside Williams and Hogan. Woods finished with a team-high 49 receiving yards.

Tight ends
Lee Smith -- 22 of 88 (starter)
Scott Chandler -- 29 of 88 (entered in first quarter)
Dominique Jones -- 20 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Chris Gragg -- 22 of 88 (entered in third quarter)
Tony Moeaki -- 0 of 88 (injured/did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Jones was part of the Bills' heavier offensive package, which is why he entered the game before Gragg. Still, Gragg is squarely on the roster bubble. The Bills will need to make a decision soon about Moeaki: Can they rely on him being healthy during the regular season? If not, then Gragg should be in a good spot to make the team. Otherwise, it's a tough call.

W2W4: Buffalo Bills

August, 8, 2014
8/08/14
12:00
PM ET
The Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers will meet in a preseason contest Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET) at Bank of America Stadium.

1. Can EJ Manuel rebound? Manuel's 2-for-7 performance Sunday against the New York Giants hardly inspired confidence in the second-year quarterback, but he should have a greater opportunity to prove himself Friday. Expect Manuel, Sammy Watkins, and the first-team offense to stay on the field longer than their stint in the opener. The areas to watch with Manuel remain the same: Is he holding the ball too long? Is he locking in on a single receiver? Is he tucking and running when there are possible targets downfield? These are all problems that have cropped up in training camp practices and ideally will be corrected in live action.

2. Focus on offensive line, again: Not much has changed in the five days since Sunday's game. The Bills still have question marks at almost every position on their offensive line. Seantrel Henderson had a few hiccups against Jason Pierre-Paul, but how will he hold up against Greg Hardy? After Kraig Urbik rotated with Cyril Richardson in Sunday's game, which one gets the start Friday and who has the upper hand? And at right tackle, can Cyrus Kouandjio get back on track with the second team after a rough performance Sunday?

3. Does Tuel Time continue? After going 12-for-17 against the Giants, Jeff Tuel looks to have a leg up on Thad Lewis in the battle to be Manuel's backup. However, Lewis saw extended reps with the second team in Wednesday's practice and may get his shot with that unit Friday. If he does, does Lewis take advantage of the opportunity after a rocky training camp? Or does Tuel get the nod after Manuel and continue to impress? There isn't a quarterback controversy in Buffalo, but there is an important competition behind Manuel.
Before the Buffalo Bills kicked off their preseason in the Hall of Fame game, we identified six offensive players to keep an eye on during the contest.

Let's circle back on their playing time and performances Sunday against the New York Giants:

T.J. Graham -- As they've done lately in camp, the Bills gave Graham plenty of action Sunday night. He played in 25 snaps -- second-most of any Bills receiver -- entering late in the first quarter and playing through the end of the first half. The same deficiencies that the Bills have seen from Graham the past two seasons cropped up again. On his first play, Jeff Tuel targeted Graham down the left sideline. The ball was slightly underthrown but at 5-foot-11, Graham didn't have the catch radius to haul it in, instead batting it down to prevent an interception. In the second quarter, Graham had a pass on a quick slant go through his hands. On a similar play later in the quarter, a Giants cornerback reached in front and deflected a pass into the air, causing an interception. Graham's hands and concentration need improvement.

[+] EnlargeJeff Tuel
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsJeff Tuel had a decent showing against the Giants, going 12-of-17 for 74 yards.
Jeff Tuel -- Played 26 snaps, entering late in the first quarter and playing through the end of the first half. Tuel has arguably had a stronger training camp than Thad Lewis, the top backup last season, which may have earned him the No. 2 job on Sunday night. He had the Bills' highest QB rating of the night (74.1) and completed 12 of 17 passes for 74 yards. His best throw came on a 3rd-and-15 in the second quarter, when a pass protection breakdown forced him to scramble. On the run, he fired an accurate pass to Graham along the sideline. Graham came up a yard short of the first down, but it was the right throw. Tuel also showed off his underrated wheels on a 13-yard scramble. Not a bad night, and one that puts Tuel in the lead for the No. 2 QB job.

Seantrel Henderson -- As expected, Henderson started in place of Cordy Glenn at left tackle. He played 30 snaps, exiting before the final drive of the second quarter. Henderson held up well against Jason Pierre-Paul on the first two drives, with the exception of a second-and-11 play where there looked to be a mix-up with running back Fred Jackson, leading to Pierre-Paul getting in EJ Manuel's face to bat down a ball. Pierre-Paul then beat Henderson on the first play of the third drive to pressure Tuel. As a run-blocker, Henderson was solid. Overall, it wasn't a flawless night, but an encouraging one from a seventh-round pick in his first NFL game against one of the league's better pass-rushers.

Chris Gragg -- He played in 46 snaps, more than any player on either team. That was expected, as the Bills were without top tight ends Scott Chandler and Tony Moeaki, while Gragg is very much on the roster bubble. Gragg was in the game from start to finish, playing with all three quarterbacks. His four catches for 24 yards all came in the second half, from Thad Lewis. One of those catches came when Gragg was lined up in the backfield and flared into the flat. He wasn't used much in pass protection and didn't have any breakdowns in run blocking that we noticed.

Cyrus Kouandjio -- He played in 41 snaps, second-most of any Bills offensive lineman. He entered the game late in the second quarter and played the remainder of the contest. Kouandjio's struggles from training camp carried over quickly, as he was caught off-balance on his second play, leading to Damontre Moore sacking Tuel. On the next play, Moore beat Kouandjio inside to force a scramble. Kouandjio also allowed a sack in the fourth quarter when Kerry Wynn used a double-move to shake Kouandjio and take down a hurried Lewis. Kouandjio held up better as a run-blocker. Overall, Sunday night was a reminder that the 21-year old is a young, raw prospect who needs a lot of technique coaching.

Cyril Richardson -- The fifth-round pick played in 29 snaps, entering the game for Kraig Urbik at right guard late in the first quarter. Urbik came back into the game for the final two drives of the second quarter and again for one drive in the third quarter. Richardson was then replaced by J.J. Unga in the fourth quarter. The rotation indicates that there is a battle between Urbik and Richardson (and potentially Chris Hairston) for the starting right guard job. He generally showed well in the running game, especially as a drive blocker, but had a breakdown on a third-and-1 in the third quarter that led to a run being stopped in the backfield. Richardson could also improve his blocking in space, especially when pulling for outside runs and screen passes. Yet it was an encouraging night for Richardson, who wouldn't look out of place as the opening day starter at right guard.

W2W4: Buffalo Bills

August, 3, 2014
8/03/14
12:00
PM ET
CANTON, Ohio -- The Buffalo Bills and New York Giants open the preseason Sunday night (8, NBC) at Fawcett Stadium.

1. How much Manuel and Watkins? On Friday, coach Doug Marrone gave no indication of how much his starters -- including quarterback EJ Manuel -- would play in Sunday's game. The expectation is that it will be minimal, perhaps as little as one series. While Manuel is in the midst of a critical training camp and preseason as he tries to take a step forward in his second season, an injury in this opening game would be a major setback. The same holds true for Sammy Watkins, the Bills' top pick who has impressed in two weeks of training camp. The two will have plenty of time to build chemistry as the preseason progresses. No need to push it Sunday night.

2. Backup quarterbacks in focus: This is the time of the year when backup quarterbacks receive more attention than starters. The Bills have a battle for their backup job between incumbent Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel (the third quarterback last season). Lewis has looked erratic in training camp practices, showing questionable accuracy after he arguably played better than Manuel in some games last season. Tuel's performances in practice have been up and down, but he still stands a chance at leapfrogging Lewis on the depth chart. Manuel's three knee injuries last season put his durability in question, so who wins the Bills' backup job could be called upon to start at some point again this season.

3. Offensive line carousel spins: The Bills have tinkered with their offensive line personnel more than any other position group this summer. Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn remains on the non-football illness list, while right guard Kraig Urbik's starting job is up for grabs. The team drafted three linemen this spring -- Cyrus Kouandjio (second round), Cyril Richardson (fifth round) and Seantrel Henderson (seventh round) -- and all of them should see extended action Sunday. Henderson will likely start in Glenn's place, while Richardson should replace Urbik at some point early in the game. Kouandjio has been slower to come along but can begin to challenge right tackle Erik Pears with a strong performance.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will open their preseason in Canton, Ohio against the New York Giants.

As the Bills wrap up their second full week of training camp practices, we'll begin to shift our focus to that game. While we don't expect to see EJ Manuel and the Bills first-team offense for much, if any, of Sunday's game, the playing time will be worthwhile for a number of other players.

Starting on offense, let's pinpoint which players have the most to gain from a quality performance Sunday:

T.J. Graham -- After starting 17 games over his first two seasons, Graham is squarely on the bubble this training camp. After missing all of OTAs following offseason surgery, Graham's performance in camp has been shaky. He's had more than a handful of drops. The Bills have used Graham mostly as a speed threat -- both in the screen and deep game -- but he'll need to prove himself as more than that to crack the roster. Expect Graham to get plenty of action with the backup quarterbacks Sunday. He's also expected to get some tries as a returner.

Tuel
Jeff Tuel -- There is a battle for the backup quarterback spot behind Manuel. Since Thad Lewis is more of an established veteran than Tuel, we'd expect him to get the first nod after Manuel. The bulk of the playing time could go to Tuel and journeyman Dennis Dixon. Tuel has looked better in in training camp this season than he did last summer. Lewis remains the favorite to replace Manuel if he is injured again this season, but Tuel can make a strong push in the first few preseason games, starting Sunday.

Seantrel Henderson -- We wouldn't be surprised if Henderson starts the game at left tackle and plays for a large chunk of the game. He needs the experience. If Cordy Glenn can't return by the regular-season opener, then Henderson is the likely starter against Jared Allen and the Chicago Bears' defensive line.

Chris Gragg -- Another bubble player, Gragg returned to practice in full pads Wednesday and could be ready for live action by Sunday. He's fighting for a roster spot and should have plenty of opportunities with Scott Chandler (groin) and Tony Moeaki (hamstring) out this week and likely out for Sunday's game. Gragg can help his case by proving to be a downfield and red-zone threat. He may still have to beat out Moeaki to make the final roster.

Cyrus Kouandjio -- We would be shocked if Kouandjio isn't on the field for a large chunk of the snaps Sunday. He hasn't been able to push Erik Pears for the starting right tackle job and will need to pick up the pace if he has any plans of doing that by the regular-season opener. We wouldn't be surprised to see Kouandjio see time at both left and right tackle, either. If he can't start at right tackle, then he'll need to bring value on the 46-man game day roster as a swing tackle. He's practiced exclusively at right tackle to this point.

Cyril Richardson -- With Chris Hairston leaving Wednesday's practice with a back injury, Richardson got some cracks with the first team at right guard. That could indicate more confidence from the coaching staff in the fifth-round pick. We'd expect incumbent Kraig Urbik to see some time Sunday, but Richardson can start to make a push at that job with a quality performance Sunday.

SPONSORED HEADLINES