Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- The Buffalo Bills are preparing to face the only remaining undefeated team in the National Football League, and now they may have to do it without quarterback Thad Lewis.
Missing Wednesday's practice with not only sore ribs, but a bout with the flu, Lewis' status for Sunday is in question.
"Thad is truly 50-50, obviously we'll know more," head coach Doug Marrone said after the session. "I don't know if it was 'a hit,' it was a couple. I'm being honest. X-rays came back negative. The doctors called it a contusion, and in layman's terms I call it sore."
Also calling Lewis' chances of practices on Thursday "50-50," Marrone didn't necessarily rule out the notion that the Bills' starter through the past three games could play after just one day of on-field work on Friday.
"It would depend on how he practiced on the Friday. It really would. Like I said before, each player is different," the head coach said. "We're preparing him mentally. Then we just have to make sure physically he can play."
WIth EJ Manuel already ruled out for the upcoming contest against the Kansas City Chiefs, that leaves undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel and veteran Matt Flynn as the options to play on Sunday.
"Coach Marrone walked in the room and said, 'It could be anybody,'" Tuel revealed to reporters Wednesday. "We don't know. I know as much as you guys do."
Since Flynn has spent only the past two weeks with the Bills, Tuel would be the likeliest candidate to start in the case that Lewis can't play. However, both players received first-team repetitions to open up the week of practice.
"Those two guys were told to prepare like they're going to be able to start this game," Marrone said. "Working them rep by rep. Just trying to figure it out."
Flynn was unemployed following an unceremonious tenure with the Oakland Raiders to start the season. He was the starting quarterback at the beginning of the preseason. During that same preseason, he was relegated to be Terrelle Pryor's backup and started one game during the regular season because of an injury to Pryor. After that performance, he was once again demoted to third-string behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin.
Now with the Bills, Flynn is trying to cram the new offense into a small window to attempt to be ready for the game if the team chooses him to start.
"It's definitely been an adjustment. But I've kind of gone through the process before of trying to learn a new offense. I've kind of got a routine down that helps me," Flynn said. "This is my job. This is what I do so, I've been spending a lot of time in the playbook. I think I felt like every day I'm getting more and more familiar, more and more comfortable with what I'm doing."
At the very least, the team's wide receivers had to get comfortable with the idea of Jeff Tuel starting in the beginning of the season when Manuel's status was still uncertain. As for players like Stevie Johnson, he has zero familiarity with Flynn.
Johnson was asked if he can count how many passes he has been on the receiving end from Flynn through these past two weeks.
"Nah, I haven't caught any from him," he replied. "It's okay. As long as I'm out there I feel like I can get space on DBs, so the passes should be okay. I can't say it's gonna be great. It was still work to build chemistry with EJ, it was work to build chemistry with Thad. And now if Matt's out there, same thing. It's gonna be work."
Besides Manuel, the only other quarterback in-house that has been ruled out of the conversation to be the starter is practice squad player Dennis Dixon. The rather murky situation could gain some clarity with the return of Lewis to practice, but as Marrone told his players, it could be anybody that plays against the Chiefs.