Despite the extensive praise that the Buffalo Bills‘ new head coach Doug Marrone has been heaping on rookie QB E.J. Manuel, it appears as though Kevin Kolb has the leg up in the team’s quarterback competition. This news comes as no surprise, as Manuel was close to universally viewed as a long-term project when the Bills made him the first quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL Draft.
When asked about the current state of the competition in a recent interview with John Murphy of BuffaloBills.com, Marrone answered in his typically cryptic way, but did provide some clues as to which way he was leaning.
“I think that, obviously, Kevin is a little bit more experienced going into this situation,” Marrone said. “I think that at the end of the day, when it separates itself and a decision’s made, I think everyone’s on board with that. Meaning that everyone has seen the separation.”
Fans of the Bills have been split into two schools of thought when it comes to the quarterback position. Some think it makes sense to sit Manuel his rookie year in order to let him develop, while others would rather see the No. 16 overall draft pick contribute to the team immediately. If there is a unanimous opinion, it’s that Kolb is nothing more than a mediocre quarterback, and a temporary stop-gap option at best.
Hall of fame quarterback Jim Kelly recently weighed in on the competition as well. After attending several of the Bills’ spring practices, Kelly had this to say:
“Both are throwing the ball very, very well. I think Kevin Kolb might be a little bit ahead because of the mental approach. He’s been in the league for a number of years. E.J. Manuel is a very smart, bright guy. He has the athletic ability that maybe Kolb might not have. I’d say the early pick would probably be Kevin Kolb at this time, but they picked E.J. Manuel for a reason. That’s for the future.”
If I were a betting man, I would guess that Kevin Kolb starts week one against the New England Patriots, continues to solidify his status as an immobile pocketurd (TM), gets hit way too many times, incites the rage and high blood-pressure of Bills fans that has been slowly building for 20 years and gets either injured or pulled around week four in exchange for Manuel, who ends up struggling but still manages to make a few big plays en route to another 6-10 record. But hey, I’m an optimist.