With Bills veterans joining the rookies for OTA's this week, the quarterback competition is officially underway. YNN's Andy Young has more on the opening stages of the battle for the starting job in Orchard Park.
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — "It starts as soon as people are acquired, you start the competition," said Bills head coach Doug Marrone.
All the pieces are now in place and the fight to find the opening day starter takes to the turf at One Bills Drive.
It's likely a three-man race. First, there's EJ Manuel, the 1st round draft pick and the Bills hopeful quarterback of the future, who's still getting used to life in the NFL.
"It was an adjustment because I'm like, wow, this is an actual locker room with grown men with families. You see guys with pictures, they got kids and stuff, so it is an adjustment. But obviously, you're in the NFL now, you have to treat yourself like a professional and just try to learn from these veterans," said the first-round pick from Florida State.
Those veterans being Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson, who both have one obvious advantage over Manuel, and that's experience, and experience in competing to be a starting signal caller.
"I knew that was in the plans. It doesn’t scare me or concern me. It’s just part of the job and you move on. Like I told you before, it’s all about competition and competing against everybody, but he seems like a great kid and I’m happy to work with him," Kolb said.
"If you can just tune it out and the other guy might do something right and the other guy might do something wrong. You want to learn from his mistake and learn from what he does right. You just try to add it to your game," said Jackson.
Through the first two days OTAs, Kolb and Jackson have received more reps than Manuel in practice, but Marrone says he hopes to make it equal once the rookie gets up to speed.
In the meantime, Manuel is just trying to soak up all he can from the veterans.
"I think for me, I watch those guys all the time. Whether it’s in the film room or warming up out here on the field, seeing what they do throughout the practices, seeing how they talk to the teammates, direct guys out there on the field. They obviously help when I ask questions, but probably the biggest thing is leading by example," Manuel said.
Doug Marrone declined to give a time frame for when the Bills would like a decision on the Bills starting QB, saying it's ultimately up to the players to determine how long the quarterback competition lasts. It's certainly something we'll be talking about for the next several months leading up to the season.