BUFFALO, N.Y. – Former Duke standout quarterback Thaddeus Lewis will make his second NFL appearance today, starting under center for the Buffalo Bills against the Cincinnati Bengals at 1 p.m. in Buffalo.
Lewis got word of the assignment this past Monday, less than a week after Bills starter and former Florida State star E.J. Manuel was injured.
“He can run and he can extend plays. He can run the read option. He can throw the ball extremely well,” Bills head coach Doug Marrone said. “He’s made some great gains because he knows the whole system. Now we just have to fit and game plan what we think he does best. One of the questions people normally ask is ‘does he know the system?’ He does. He knows everything. He’s bright as hell. Now it’s the point of making sure we give him a plan that he can be successful with.”
Lewis has impressed Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
“I was blown away when I first started talking to him,” Hackett told the Buffalo News. “I started asking him all these questions, and he knew the answers. I said, ‘How’d you know all this stuff? He said, ‘Well coach, this is my job. I’m learning it just like I’m the starter.’ ”
Lewis made his NFL debut last December as a member of the Cleveland Browns, completing 22-of-32 passes for 204 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“My goal this week is to be prepared and help the team win,” Lewis said.
Lewis will line up against a former Blue Devil teammate in Vincent Rey, a linebacker for the Bengals.
At Duke, Lewis started 46 games between 2006-09, and became just the second player in ACC history to throw for 10,000-plus yards. He finished his collegiate career with 67 touchdowns. Undrafted following his senior campaign, Lewis spent time with the St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions before being traded to Buffalo from Detroit this past August.