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Buffalo Bills believe quarterback Jeff Tuel can excel

If Jeff Tuel is the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback on Sept. 8, he'll become the first undrafted rookie to start in Week 1 in his first season out of college since at least 1950.

This is the type of tidbit that would hint at very bad things for the Bills, especially with the mighty New England Patriots on tap.

But the Bills have reason for hope if rookie EJ Manuel is unable to return from knee surgery in time. During a Monday appearance on "NFL Total Access,"'s Ian Rapoport relayed a conversation he had with Bills general manager Doug Whaley during a visit to Rochester, N.Y., this month.

Rapoport said he asked Whaley if the organization felt it had hit on something in Tuel, who wasn't even a regular starter his senior season at Washington State.

"If he keeps progressing, we think we may have," Whaley said, according to Rapoport. "This guy's got a little something to him."

Tuel has had a nice preseason, posting a 106 passer rating. He's actually outplayed Kevin Kolb, whose career is in jeopardy following a serious concussion this weekend.

Rapoport has been told that Manuel still is on track to start Week 1, meaning Tuel's star moment might not ever actually arrive. Still, the Bills don't sound like a team that believes all is lost if Tuel takes the field.

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