Interchangeable Infinite Sadness

How do you want this post to go? Doug Marrone said undrafted rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel is penciled in as the Bills’ opening day starter, and people are kind of freaking out. Should I freak with them, or should we talk this thing out?

If you’re looking for freakout, just go here and cool off for a bit. Let’s try to do the rational thing because Benjamin Franklin invented words as proof that he loves us and wants us to be happy.

What we’re talking about is a hypothetical. It’s imaginary. It has not happened yet. More importantly, it’s brilliant. The idea of Jeff Tuel starting for the Buffalo Bills in Week One is so terrifying that it becomes the only narrative for the Buffalo Bills.

Kevin Kolb’s career might be over because he took a knee to the head. C.J. Spiller’s step-grandfather killed two people and then himself. Stephon Gilmore is out for months and Jairus Byrd won’t see action in the preseason. Any of those things would have been story enough for a Monday in late August.

But, as usual, we’re not talking about the horrors of concussions in football. We’re not talking about Spiller’s terrible family crisis, or even his injury on Saturday against the Washington football team. We’re no longer talking about the secondary and what could be a disaster for a team that might blitz once or twice this year. What we’re talking about is something that may or may not happen. Joe Strummer quotes and mystery and whatnot.

We often minimize the importance of press conferences in sports because we think that nothing actually happens during most of them. This is unquestionably true, but what makes the media assemble is 1) obligation and 2) the chance that something actually could happen. Doug Marrone made something happen after practice on Monday. Reporters went looking for answers for all of the above and came away with something new entirely. We’ve all lost the script, and Marrone is the one who handed out the dizzy bat and gave us a spin.

Whether Tuel starts on opening day or not, the timing of Marrone’s announcement was perfect. Even if it’s not a smokescreen, even if Tuel really does face off against Tom Brady, changing the narrative of this team at this moment is smart. Let people laugh. Let Bills fans panic. If it gets the heat off of Spiller or Kolb or Coolguy Matt Leinart, it’s well worth the tweets of misery and woe from fans and media.

I want to joke about Leinart and the expanding quarterback menagerie the Bills are suddenly collecting. I want to feign panic about the Bills this season and talk about getting Jadeveon Clowney in next year’s draft. But the truth is that it’s totally going to be fine, you guys. Manuel will be back. This, too, shall pass. We all know the best case scenario for this team is that E.J. Manuel is a good quarterback and the team doesn’t win many games. Short of actually making the playoffs, the best result of this season is a good draft pick and loads of potential from the important players.

But if Spiller goes down, set your house on fire and walk into the ocean. Pray the sharks get to you before the Dolphins.