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Rookie, EJ Manual, and six year veteran, Kevin Kolb, learn Doug Marone's new system, while battling for the starting quarterback job (Photo courtesy of the Buffalo News)

The Fight for Bills starting QB

Many draft experts were surprised to see former Florida State quarterback, E.J. Manuel, drafted at number 16.  Some may be surprised that Kevin Kolb didn’t pan out with stints in Philadelphia and Arizona.  In Buffalo, no matter which of these two win the Bill’s starting quarterback job, it shouldn’t be a surprise either way.

Manuel’s raw athletic talent, his rocket arm, and his drill performance in bad weather conditions were enough to convince head coach, Doug Marone, and the Bill’s front office.  I sang his praises the night Manuel was drafted, despite multiple counts of criticism from other NFL draft experts.

Kolb was thought to be the heir apparent to replace Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia.  In the 2010 season, injuries got the best of Kolb; who only started 5 games throwing for just under 1,200 yards with 7 touchdown and 7 picks.  There was still belief that Kolb could be a franchise quarterback.  Apparently the Arizona Cardinals thought so, when they traded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the former Houston Cougar quarterback.  The injuries continued in Arizona; starting 9 games in 2011, and only 5 last season.

It’s now a fresh start for Kolb, and the beginning of a career for Manuel.  Yes, Manuel is competing with a quarterback who has 6 year’s of NFL experience.  Yes, Kolb is competing with a raw but athletically gifted quarterback.  These two may very well be even, due to the fact that both QB’s are learning Marone’s new offensive system.

Just as both quarterback look to get a leg up on one another, both are also needing to focus on learning the offense the Bills will use this season.  Due to Kolb’s experience, I would expect him to earn the starting job, but young E.J. Manuel will be hot on his tail.  If Kolb earns the starting job, but his own history repeats itself, it will likely be Manuel’s time to shine.  Regardless of who wins the starting job, the only thing that matters to me is which of these two will win football games.

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