Bills QB Matt Leinart starts in preseason finale vs. Lions
The Bills are currently without their top two quarterbacks – E.J. Manuel (knee) and Kevin Kolb (concussion) – who had been battling for the starting spot but are now likely to begin the regular season on the injured reserve. That forced the Bills into adding depth at the quarterback by signing Leinart and trading for Thaddeus Lewis, later the same day. Lewis spelled Leinart at during the fourth-quarter of Thursday’s game.
The two new acquisitions – Leinart and Lewis – could be in competition for a roster spot, given the Bills’ quarterbacking carousel of horrors this preseason. At the very least, Leinart can avail this opportunity to audition to get back in the NFL and had plenty of time to do so during Thursday’s preseason game.
While Jeff Tuel was also listed on the active roster, the Bills had him limited to the sidelines as they do not want to risk an injury to another quarterback. Besides, if Manuel or Kolb remain out by Week 1, Tuel is expected to start the first game of the regular season against the New England Patriots on Sep. 8.
However, the status of the E.J. Manuel has been lately the number one question for Bills ahead of the regular season. The Bills posted a video that returned some of the focus to the rookie first-rounder’s health status after an offseason knee surgery, as he was caught on tape throwing a few passes on the field before Thursday’s game. Manuel, however wasn’t doing any running. He has yet to participate in a full practice with the team and remains uncertain for the season opener.
"It's really in the doctor's hands at this point", Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon said when asked about Manuel’s chances of playing against the Patriots. "EJ's going through the process and the rehab process coming off his procedure. We'll just play it by ear and see, as coach Marrone said, see where he stands next week and see if he's available.”