“This morning, in a meeting this morning,” said Lewis as to when he got the news while appearing on the John Murphy Show. “I didn’t know much going into it, but when you’re a backup quarterback in this league you have to be ready for whatever. So every week in and week out I’ve been preparing with (Jeff) Tuel and EJ (Manuel) as if I was the starter. Just doing the little things to make sure I knew what was going on, so basically if I had this opportunity to contribute I was ready.”
Lewis was sitting in the team meeting room waiting for the morning meeting, when
“I met with coach and he said, ‘We’re going to start you,’” said Lewis. “And I was like, ‘Okay.’ It’s not something you’re expecting, but it’s something you’re ready for no matter what happens.”
Lewis has actually been through this kind of an accelerated promotion before. Last December with the Cleveland Browns, he went from practice squad quarterback to starter after Cleveland’s top two quarterbacks went down with injuries.
“The same circumstances,” recalled Lewis. “(Brandon) Weeden got hurt and unfortunately Colt (McCoy) went in and got hurt too. So I got the call. It was a little different, they said, ‘Get ready you’re going to be active.’ Then 10 minutes later they said, ‘You’re starting.’”
Signed just a few days before the Bills final preseason game this past August, Lewis admits he’s been playing catch up with the offense. At this point however, he feels he knows the Buffalo playbook backwards and forwards. The challenge now is executing the plays with split-second decision making.
“That’s what you have practice for,” said Lewis. “You go out there and they’re going to give you the looks quick, they’re going to give you the play call quick, but that’s when you have ample time to snap the football. So you’re going fast, but not as fast as people think, so you have time to think and see what’s going on out there.”
Lewis has some familiarity with Cincinnati as well having been with Cleveland for the better part of the last two years.
“They’re pretty good, especially up front,” said Lewis of the Bengals eight-ranked defense. “I played against him the last couple of years in Cleveland, four times. So I’ve played those guys four times. It’s a great bunch and they’re going to present some pressures and things that we have to pick up. On offense we just have to execute. If you execute you can get the guys out of the pressures a little faster, instead of dealing with them the whole game.”
After getting his first career start in Cleveland’s season finale last season, Lewis didn’t know when, but thought he would get another chance to play eventually.
“You never know when it’s going to come, so that’s why they say you always have to be ready,” said Lewis. “I’ve taken it seriously. That’s why I’ve prepared like I’m the starter week in and week out even though I was helping out. Hopefully I can transition this week to being the starter.”