Bills shuffle backup QBs; Palmer in, Lewis out

Created: 08/26/2014 3:51 PM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press

Thad Lewis is out and Jordan Palmer is in following the Buffalo Bills' late preseason shuffle of backup quarterbacks.
Palmer was signed Tuesday, two days after being cut by the Chicago Bears, where he lost the backup competition to Jimmy Clausen. In five NFL seasons, Palmer has appeared in just four games and completed 10 of 15 passes for 59 yards and two interceptions.
Lewis' release comes as a surprise after he went 2-3 last year while filling in for injured rookie starter EJ Manuel. Acquired in a trade with Detroit last August, Lewis went 93 of 157 for 1,092 yards passing with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Lewis, however, struggled during training camp and fell behind Jeff Tuel in the competition for the No. 2 job.
Coach Doug Marrone said Monday he hasn't been pleased with the play of his backups, and indicated the team was interested in upgrading the position.
The switch comes two days before the Bills (1-3) close their preseason hosting the Detroit Lions (2-1).
The Bills then open the season at Chicago on Sept. 7.
In a separate move, the Bills placed starting linebacker Kiko Alonso on the reserve/non-football injury list. The second-year player is expected to miss the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee working out in Oregon on July 1.
Palmer is the younger brother of Arizona Cardinals' starter Carson Palmer. He was selected by Washington in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, but failed to make the Redskins' roster. Palmer then spent three seasons in Cincinnati and another in Jacksonville before signing with the Bears.
Despite his lack of playing time, Palmer has developed a reputation for mentoring quarterbacks. Earlier this year, he oversaw Blake Bortles pre-draft workout during Central Florida's pro day. Bortles was selected third overall by Jacksonville.
The backup spot in Buffalo has been unsettled since Marrone took over last year. And the latest shuffle leaves Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley open to being second-guessed as to why they failed to add an experienced veteran this offseason.
Last season, injuries to Manuel (knee) and veteran backup Kevin Kolb (season-ending concussion) led to the Bills scrambling to fill the position. They signed Matt Leinart, who was cut after struggling in his lone preseason appearance, acquired Lewis and signed free agent Dennis Dixon, who spent last year on the team's practice squad.
The Bills stuck with Lewis and Tuel as their backups this offseason with the expectation both can grow and develop because of their familiarity with receivers and the offensive system.
Buffalo's offense has lacked finish this preseason no matter who's at quarterback.
The Manuel-led starters combined for four field goals on their first 18 possessions before finally scoring touchdowns on consecutive third-quarter drives in a 27-14 loss to Tampa Bay last weekend.

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