QB E.J. Manuel probably will need to be cleared for full practice by next Wednesday for the Buffalo Bills to be comfortable enough to start him in the season opener against the New England Patriots.
Bills coach Doug Marrone gave insight into a realistic timetable that would allow Manuel to return from a knee procedure and play Sept. 8. If Manuel can't play, then Jeff Tuel would become the first undrafted rookie to start on opening day in the modern NFL.
"If the doctor said, 'You're not going to get him on that field until Thursday, and then he'll be ready to play on Sunday,' I would be concerned about doing that," Marrone said. "If they said, 'Hey, we can get him on that field on Monday or Wednesday, I would see how he played and make a decision."
The team is preparing to go with rookie Jeff Tuel if Manuel can't play. We now have a cutoff date in place, so those with Manuel should have a good idea about Week 1 well in advance. The Patriots defense could present a decent enough matchup to make Manuel an option to consider - at least 2QB leagues.