At this point in time, it appears as though Kevin Kolb has the edge in the Buffalo Bills‘ quarterback competition. Even though the seven year veteran may see himself as more than just a placeholder for the position, in reality he is the very epitome of a stop-gap option and will prove it during the upcoming months.
On the one hand, there’s still plenty of training camp left and rookie EJ Manuel is determined as ever to improve his own game and make his teammates better as a result. Speaking on his personal goals heading into training camp, Manuel had this to say:
“I’m still trying to learn, still trying to get a great feel for my teammates, still trying to earn the respect of the veteran guys as well as the rookies. We’re all just trying to get on the same page.”
And then there’s Kolb’s long history of season-ending injuries. It can be tricky to discern who is truly ‘injury-prone’ and who just has bad luck in the NFL, but for Kolb, there are some concrete reasons to believe that he is much more likely to get injured than say, a 6-foot-5, 237-pound 23 year old. For one thing, he is not a very mobile quarterback. In fact, even that’s a bit of an understatement. Kevin Kolb is like an arthritic dinosaur in the pocket and would sooner take hit after hit from Vince Wilfork than think about running the football. Aside from the fact that this type of game management is blatantly incompatible with Nathaniel Hackett‘s West-Coast style progression offense, it also doesn’t bode well for the prospect of Kolb staying healthy.
Fans might be quick to point to the Bills’ stellar O-line last season as a reason for hope, but any sort of close examination leaves the actual quality of the offensive line very much in question. Yes, the Bills may have given up close to the fewest sacks of any team last season, but that’s mostly due to the lightning-quick release of the Amish Rifle (may he rest in peace in Tennessee.) Make no mistake, Kolb will get hit early and often.
All of these factors point toward EJ Manuel taking the reigns of the offense sooner rather than later, and that’s assuming Kolb even manages to hold him off through training camp. Impatient Bills fans have nothing to worry about. Chances are we’ll be seeing what ‘Manuel Overdrive’ can do before we even see the next episode of Walking Dead.