After his NFL debut against the Colts last Sunday, Jeff Tuel made Bills fans everywhere consider him a contender in the ongoing quarterback competition. Tuel isn't focusing on the past, though. Moving forward, he's only thinking about improving himself.
"I did some good things, but definitely some things to learn and grow from," Tuel said this week at St. John Fisher College. "I'm just going to get better here every day and that's what I'm really focused on. If I'm getting myself better, I'm getting the team better and that's all I care about."
Tuel went 19-for-23 for 212 yards, earning a 134.1 quarterback rating. Despite the apparent success, Tuel knows where he needs to get better moving ahead.
"Really just my reads and getting through things faster, not holding onto the ball," Tuel said. "The one that got batted out of my hand is just on me. Just stuff like that, as well as the protections and knowing the playbook like the back of your hand. I think if I can continue to get better at those things then I'll be headed in the right direction."
Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett agreed, complimenting Tuel on his performance but adding there is room for improvement for "'Joe Cool' Jeff." Tuel and Hackett have been working together closely to improve his game.
"He just goes out there and just makes plays. He trusts the reads, he trusts his progressions and it was fun to watch," Hackett said. "He had some critical errors that we need to clean up and get better at but he is going to continue to get better."
Tuel said he learned a lot from both Sunday's game and the team's live scrimmage the second week of camp.
"There are a lot of things you can learn from, good and bad," Tuel said. "Some of the things I discussed earlier like footwork and climbing the pocket and making my calls. Communication in this offense is huge, so I definitely have to get better with those things."
Tuel added the only thing an athlete can do to improve is to continue to work on their craft every day, which he plans on doing. Prior to Kevin Kolb returning to full health, Tuel worked predominantly with the second team offense. Tuel said he feels comfortable working with them and believes they're all learning from each other.
Hackett added that as a quarterback, Tuel needs to remain comfortable and keep trusting his teammates.
"I think that one issue with a quarterback is when you get out there and you get comfortable and you get some completions, you think you're Superman," he said. "They just have to continue to understand it's about the play, it's about the players, it's about the communication. And as long as they kind of stay within themselves in the system, I think that will make them even better."
Tuel likes throwing the deep ball, he said. He credits the talent and speed of Buffalo's receiving corps.
"It's unbelievable. Everybody can play so I think you'd be stupid not to give them a shot out there just because I think we're going to win those battles," Tuel said.
Tuel believes he's gotten better as training camp and the preseason has progressed. Nonetheless, he wants to get better.
"I've been taking (Hackett's) coaching, I've been working really hard. He's tough on all the quarterbacks which makes us better. So I'm just trying to get better every day."