ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.- First there were three, now only two remain. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was released the night before the Bills openedtheirthree day minicamp. While still a long way from making a decision on a starter head coach Doug Marrone can focus on the two remaining contenders for the starting postion.
"I think it's very difficult in what we're trying to accomplish when we're trying to get a starting quarterback in that competition and when you look at it from a standpoint of reps, there's just not enough reps to really do a good job of evaluating," said Doug Marrone. "We made a decision I think there's tough decisions that are made and we made a decision to go with the three quarterbacks and the competition out there right now. I think it will be a lot clearer for all of us or especially for myself as a coach with the amount of reps now that Kevin and EJ will get."
It's only been a day since the competition was reduced from three players to two. But in that short time, the team can already see the positive impact it's had. Kevin Kolb points out the element of his game that's improved since the move. "The flow, the flow really I mean having a lot more reps like that just communication coming off the sidelines. So there's already three or four things that we've picked up that maybe we didn't before. That's why you got to make those tough decisions I think and make sure it puts your team in the best position to be successful. I can already see a difference today in the ones."
EJ Manuel also noticed a change in the tempo of the game. After all, he now only has to split time with one player instead of two. That's why Manuel says it's easier to get into a rhythm. "I would say the only difference is just your body continues to stay warm. You get a lot of continuity in the offense and you kindof get in a groove you don't just take three plays and then you're done. You don't have to wait two other sets now Kolb will go then I'll go then Kolb will go then I'll go so it's a lot better," Manuel pointed out.
Marrone seems to agree with Manuel and Kolb. The increase in reps between the two might be the key to finding the Bills next starting quarterback. "I think I need to concentrate on having a lot of reps with those two quarterbacks because I think the more reps you give them I think it's going to be easier to tell it apart where if you're going around and you're giving three players reps I think it's tough to keep track of that. We keep track of everything but I think when you go in there with two, and two people are competing I think it's going to be something that we're all going to see not just a decision that's made," Marrone said.
It appears Marrone has full confidence moving forward that one of these two will advance higher than the other because of the reps they're receiving. "And when I say we're all going to see it I believe that we'll be able to see it at training camp, I think the players on the team are going to be able to see that separation and that's the most important thing," Marrone explained.
Kolb explained that he'll deal with this competition by just worrying about himself. He seemed excited for the challenge but his only thought process is to play the game the way he knows how. EJ Manuel on the other hand, has a similar approach to handling the situation. "I'm always going to be confident, as an athlete you always have to believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself nobody else will so I try to exude confidence to my teammates and get those guys playing at a high level," Manuel said.
The Bills minicamp concludes Thursday.Training camp officially startson July 28th at St. John Fisher College.