Barring a remarkable physical turnaround by Thad Lewis, the Buffalo Bills will enter rarely seen quarterback territory in Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Lewis’ sore ribs prevented him from practicing with the team Friday. But coach Doug Marrone, holding out slim hope that Lewis might improve, hedged on naming a starter against the Chiefs.
“Obviously we’re trying to hold out to see if Thad will be ready,” Marrone said. “When you’re dealing with muscle injuries, they kind of take you all the way up to game time.”
Lewis officially is doubtful. Jeff Tuel took the majority of the practice snaps over third-stringer Matt Flynn.
“Really just being able to turn and throw is the one thing,” Marrone said. “That’s the one thing that’s holding him back, being able to turn his torso and throw. That’s it. If he can get by that, then he’ll be able to play.”
Marrone suggested they would see if Lewis can throw today and in pregame warmups. He said he would confer with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and General Manager Doug Whaley on who to start.
Presuming Tuel or Flynn starts, it will mark the first time in 45 years, since the 1969 season, that the Bills will have used three different starting quarterbacks over the first nine games of the season, not counting the strike season of 1987.
In ’87, Jim Kelly started the first two games, then Willie Totten, Dan Manucci and Brian McClure started three strike-replacement games.
In 1969, James Harris started the opener, Jack Kemp started the next six games and Dan Darragh started the next two. In 1968, Darragh, Tom Flores and Kay Stephenson started over the first nine games.
Bills running back C.J. Spiller is ready to return to action after sitting out last week with a sprained ankle. Spiller is listed as probable on the injury report. Receiver Chris Hogan (back) is questionable. Also probable for Buffalo are: Fred Jackson (knee), Stevie Johnson (hip), Mario Williams (hip), Marquise Goodwin (elbow), Kraig Urbik (knee), Kyle Williams (Achilles) and Manny Lawson (hamstring).
Chiefs back Jamaal Charles (knee) and receiver Dwayne Bowe (groin) both are probable.
Former Bills QB Daryle Lamonica will be the “Leader of the Charge,” waving the flag as the team is introduced. … Fans are encouraged to wear white. The first 50,000 through the gates will get white pom poms. … The Penn State Band will perform. … Fans are welcome to bring warm clothing for the Salvation Army.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid appeared on a nationally televised Monday Night Football game in 1971 as a 13-year-old participant in the Punt, Pass & Kick Competition. The Bills’ local qualifier for the Punt, Pass & Kick national finals will be held at the stadium Sunday.