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Tuel moves past Lewis QB decision

Posted Oct 11, 2013

Thrust onto the national stage in his first ever NFL regular-season action, rookie Jeff Tuel had a poor relief performance in Cleveland last Thursday night.

With EJ Manuel out injured for a few weeks, Tuel was subsequently passed over for the starting quarterback position this Sunday. But his overall outlook remains unchanged; he has a shorter memory than most.

“They talk about how you’ve got to have a short memory, but trust me it’s a lot easier said than done,” Tuel said. “Sometimes you’ve got to move on and learn from it, and I definitely will. You’ve got to move on and get better.”

Head coach Doug Marrone personally informed Tuel about his decision to make Thad Lewis the starting quarterback after promoting him from the practice squad. That decision came the Monday after the team’s loss in Cleveland.

“The competitor in me is like, ‘Dang it I want to play.’ You can do all that, but what the coaches said the team needs is not for me to sit around here and mope,” Tuel said. “So I just shrugged it off. I mean literally there, that day you’ve got to let it go, move on and do whatever you can to help this football team, and that’s what I’m about.”

Tuel completed just eight of 20 passes - a 40 percent completion rate - for 80 yards and one interception. Tuel was sacked twice after E.J. Manuel injured his knee on a scamble early in the second half. Tuel said the entire game was a lesson for him.

“Just the experience of the game, the crowd noise, everything was a big time learning experience for me,” he said. “I was ready to go when E.J. went down. What I really learned was just the speed of the game and just coming in there and just trying to settle down and find a rhythm and getting some completions to get myself going.”

Tuel said Marrone told him the organization has a plan for him going forward, and that they’re still behind him.

“My point with Jeff was, Jeff in my opinion is going to be a very good player; he can do a lot of good things and is a great young talent that works hard,” Marrone said. “Our judgment on him and our belief is that he can do it is yes.”

“They want to develop me,” said Tuel. “They’ve seen a lot of good things in me and I’ve just got to work on those things. Just try to soak everything in, be a sponge and get better at what I can.”

As Tuel sees it the goal is unchanged. He’s still the backup quarterback working every day to help the starter while further developing his own game.  

“I’m not a selfish player who’s going to want more for myself, it’s about the team and what’s best for this team,” he said. “I’m here to do whatever I can, and if that’s helping Thad, then that’s what it is."

His teammates noticed the composure Tuel projected over the past week.

“(He’s) a mature kid and a guy that’s going to do all he can to help Thad this week and that’s a good mindset to have,” Wood said.

The starting job isn’t open for competition. That still belongs to Manuel. The competitor in Tuel isn’t thrilled with the current quarterback decision, but supports the organization’s position. At the same time he’s ready to show what he’s got left to prove.

“I feel like I did a good job in preseason, but that’s the past,” Tuel said. “In this time and era and profession, the time is now. You need to get better every day and earn your job every day.”