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Jeff Tuel to start Buffalo Bills' opener if EJ Manuel can't

With first-round draft pick EJ Manuel recovering from knee surgery, Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone said Monday that the plan is for undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel to start the season opener versus the New England Patriots.

The question isn't whether Tuel will start over recent additions Matt Leinart and Thaddeus Lewis. It's whether Manuel will make it back on the field in time to practice and prepare for Week 1.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Manuel is "on track" to return for the Patriots game. Marrone confirmed that he's "still hoping" that's the case, but the coaches have to get Tuel ready to start until Manuel proves healthy enough to play.

Marrone revealed that Manuel progressed Sunday to working out on the field with trainers and was starting to move around. "When he comes back," Marrone added, "he'll be our quarterback."

What's clear now is that Kevin Kolb no longer is in the picture as a starting quarterback option. This is Manuel's offense.

For now, though, fantasy football drafters should note the attractive matchup on offense and defense for the Patriots in Week 1.

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