Doug Marrone: “It’s possible” for Jeff Tuel to start vs. Bengals
The undrafted rookie Tuel is the Bills’ only healthy quarterback on the roster after Manuel sprained lateral collateral ligament in the 37-24 defeat to the Cleveland Browns earlier on Thursday. Tuel went 8-for-20 passing for 80 yards and an interception in relief of Manuel, during Thursday’s game. But teammates still expressed confidence him, and seemed to have the understanding that it must have been difficult for Tuel to step-in during a “primetime game”, especially after getting virtually no reps in a short week.
“I like Tuel. I think he’s a good player. Obviously it’s tough for a backup to come in, primetime game on the road midway through the game when everyone is kind of in a rhythm already,” Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood told buffalobills.com. “And credit him he showed poise and he’s going to give it his all and I have a lot of confidence in Jeff as a player.”
“He’s a strong quarterback. He understands our offense and our system. We’ve got to be confident,” rookie wide receiver Robert Woods added. “We’re still a good offense, have good running backs, good receivers and a confident quarterback. He can make plays for this offense now.”
Tuel, who isn’t making any excuses for his performance against the Browns, is committed to use that experience to continue improving his game, and planned to get some extra work in this weekend.
“I’m going to continue to get better off of that more than anything, just by experience. There’s obviously some plays I want back and some things I want to do better,” Tuel said. “I’m going to meet with Coach (Nathaniel) Hackett, watch the film and just get better. Any little thing I can do to get better I’m going to do it.”
Marrone said Tuel could still be the Bills starter for Week 6, but he’s also keeping all options other options open. The Bills have been combing the free agency for talent that would serve as a good fit for their offensive scheme.
“I would say it’s possible in what we do, only because we’re going through the process right now,” Marrone said. “By the end of the weekend I’ll have a lot better feel of what we’re trying to accomplish in who we bring in.”
According to former Washington and Miami quarterback Pat White worked out for the Bills on Saturday. FoxSports.com reported that former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon was also scheduled for a workout with the Bills on Sunday. Marrone said it won’t be a “stretch” if the Bills start a newly signed quarterback next week.
“No, it’s not,” Marrone told the reporters. “I think it all depends on who it is and what we get and what their background is in their system.”
But Tuel considers he is more than capable of holding down the starting role after filling in for Manuel at the spot during the preseason as well.
“In the beginning of the year, when I was called to start against the Patriots if EJ couldn’t go, they assured me and said that they felt really comfortable with me,” Tuel said. “We’ll meet with them and see what happens.”