The Buffalo Bills face a quarterback crisis as they get ready to host Detroit in the preseason finale for both clubs.
With injuries to presumptive rookie starter E.J. Manuel and veteran Kevin Kolb, undrafted rookie free agent Jeff Tuel is in line to start Week 1 of the regular season according to head coach Doug Marrone.
"I've been preparing to be the starter since the beginning. It can happen," Tuel said.
Manuel, the 16th overall pick in this April's draft, had minor surgery on his left knee and will not be ready for the opener while Kolb is dealing with his latest concussion which he suffered during Saturday's 30-7 loss against the Redskins.
With Tuel the lone quarterback remaining on the depth chart the Bills signed former first-round pick Matt Leinart over the weekend and then traded for Thaddeus Lewis.
"Really excited and thankful for the @buffalobills for giving me the opportunity," said Leinart on his Twitter account. "Been working hard for 8 straight months. Time to go!!"
Lewis, who spent the 2011-12 seasons on the Practice Squad and 53-man roster of the Cleveland Browns, was acquired from the Lions for linebacker Chris White.
Kolb started for the Manuel against Washington but lasted just two series, completing 2-of-4 for 16 yards before leaving with concussion-like symptoms.
Tuel was given the remainder of the snaps under center but failed to lead a scoring drive. Tuel went 10-for-17 for 63 yards as the Bills lost for the first time this preseason.
Prior to departing, Kolb led a 66-yard touchdown drive, capped by C.J. Spiller's 2-yard touchdown plunge. Spiller picked up 39 yards on the ground on eight rushes.
Marrone also confirmed that starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks with a fractured wrist that will require surgery. Gilmore, the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft, sustained the wrist injury in the first half against Washington when he was making a tackle on Redskins wideout Aldrick Robinson.
The Bills then put a cap on a trying week by excusing star running back C.J. Spiller from the team to tend to the tragic passing of his grandfather, who is the subject of an alleged shooting incident over the weekend.
Spiller's grandfather, 72-year-old Hubert Allen Jr., allegedly went on a shooting spree in northern Florida, killing two men and wounding two others before shooting and killing himself.
"I talked to (C.J.) when we landed from the Washington game and I excused him to be able to go back (home) and handle his personal situation," Marrone said. "I don't have anything more to report than really what I said before as far as what has been in the paper. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims as well as C.J. and his family."
The Lions, meanwhile, improved to 2-1 in the preseason when Matthew Stafford completed 12-of-25 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, as Detroit pounded the New England Patriots, 40-9, last Thursday.
Reggie Bush caught five passes for 103 yards, while backup quarterback Kellen Moore finished an efficient 9-of-12 passing for 150 yards and two scores for the Lions, who received a touchdown grab apiece from tight ends Joseph Furia and Tony Scheffler.
Thursday's game will be the 33rd preseason meeting between Buffalo and Detroit and the 12th year in a row the two teams will close out their exhibition schedules. The Lions lead the all-time preseason series 20-11-1.