It’s been two months since the draft, and NFL rookie quarterback and former Coug Jeff Tuel is settling into life as a Buffalo Bill.
Adjusting to a new offensive system has been somewhat of a commonplace for Tuel.
Tuel began his collegiate career under former WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff and former Offensive Coordinator Todd Sturdy.
Sturdy’s offensive scheme incorporated a weekly offensive package designed to exploit weaknesses in each opponent’s defense. This is something current Cougar quarterback Connor Halliday said should help Tuel shift into a NFL caliber-type offense.
Tuel had to learn a new system when current Head Coach Mike Leach took over the position in 2012.
Many thought Leach’s Air Raid would be similar to that of Sturdy’s pass-heavy offense, but Halliday said Tuel and himself found them to be very different.
Tuel said his past experience of shifting into new offensive systems has led to him taking a more simplistic approach to the matter.
“I keep it really simple, it’s just spending time in the playbook,” Tuel said. “You can’t do it enough. The quicker you know it inside and out the better. I think it increases your chances of sticking around.”
Tuel’s approach must have worked. Former Bills quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was released in June, placing Tuel on the roster as the third quarterback behind first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel and veteran Kevin Kolb.
The three quarterbacks will share a learning curve with the Bills because they also have an all-new coaching staff.
“Everybody knows that E.J. and Kolb are kind of duking it out for the one-two and then I’m the third. We will just have to see how it pans out,” Tuel said.
Halliday said he would have been surprised if Tuel didn’t make a team.
The biggest difference he faced since entering the NFL is not the defensive backs, safeties or receivers, but rather the defensive front seven, Tuel said.
“The whole D-line is a lot faster, a lot more active in the pocket,” Tuel said. “It collapses on you quick, the D-ends are just complete freaks.”
Tuel is considered to be mobile in the pocket, Haliday said, which should help him.
“He is really good at being able to keep things under control, especially when things aren’t going well, which should really carry over into mini camp and preseason games,” Halliday said.
After having the longest active streak of losing seasons, this is a quality the Bills are sure to be looking for, not having finished above .500 since 2004. With their last playoff appearance in 1999, they have the longest playoff drought in the NFL.
“Buffalo is on the rebound right now,” Tuel said. “They have had some hard times and are looking forward to the future. I think the Bills can help with that by getting the program to the playoffs. It’s a good area. Blue-collar people that are really hard workers and great fans that pack the stadium every week. Its almost just like a giant Pullman.”