Mike Leach curious to see Tuel play

Updated: August 27, 2013, 12:12 PM ET
By Mike Rodak | ESPN.com

With a 4-22 record at Washington State, Buffalo Bills rookie Jeff Tuel has taken an unlikely path to starting at quarterback in the NFL. Mike Leach, his college coach, said Monday in a radio interview to count him among those who will be interested to see how Tuel performs as a pro.

[+] EnlargeJeff Tuel
Patrick Smith/Getty ImagesIf Jeff Tuel starts for the Bills in Week 1, he will become the first undrafted rookie quarterback in the common draft era (since 1967) to start a season opener, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Bills coach Doug Marrone said Monday that he plans on starting the undrafted Tuel at quarterback in the regular-season opener, when Buffalo hosts the New England Patriots.

"He's never really won any games," Leach said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. "His entire college career and maybe his high school career as well, he's never really gotten into a rhythm, between injuries and just being moved around a bit, with new coaches."

Leach said he didn't think Tuel's win-loss record "means he's a bad quarterback" and that the rookie "needs to go out there and expect success."

He also said he believed Tuel had more upside than Matt Leinart and Thad Lewis, the two quarterbacks the Bills brought in Sunday in the wake of injuries to EJ Manuel (knee procedure) and Kevin Kolb (concussion).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tuel would be the first undrafted rookie quarterback in the common draft era (since 1967) to start a regular-season opener.

It's possible that Manuel, Buffalo's other rookie quarterback, can return in time for Week 1, but the Bills are proceeding as if Tuel will be their starter.

"If he can get in a rhythm in Buffalo, I'm really interested to see how it will turn out," Leach said.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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