Bills Camp Preview: "All Eyez on QB"

11:13 PM, Jul 25, 2013   |    comments
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PITTSFORD, N.Y.- To quote and alter the eternal lyrics of late rapper 2Pac, "All Eyez on QB."

With no disrespect to the proper spelling of "eyes," Buffalo Bills quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Kevin Kolb will not be the only ones using theirs over the next three weeks of training camp.

Sources tell me there's only one football, so only one of them will take the reins before Week 1 against the New England Patriots.

Head coach Doug Marrone and his staff will watch the next 20 practices in hopes of "seeing one of them separate themselves."

Meanwhile, thousands of pedestrian eyeballs will invade Rochester, New York to get a glimpse of their next starting quarterback. Will it be rookie EJ Manuel or veteran Kevin Kolb?

EJ Manuel: At 6'5", 240 lbs. and dressed in red white and blue, EJ Manuel looks like SuperMan. ("SuperManuel," anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

But, even SuperMan has a weakness. For Manuel, inexperience is his kryptonite.

According to offensive coordinator Nate Hackett, "He's gotta work on a lot of things, from footwork to progressions to plays to formations, everything."

That's where Training Camp comes in.

Manuel will have hands-on time with coaches and teammates, in an effort to absorb as much as possible as quickly as possible.

"I expect to come in and learn, but to me, the biggest thing is to come in and earn the respect of my teammates," explains Manuel. "And, I think the best way to do that is not do a lot of talking, come in and try to learn as fast as possible."

While becoming an NFL QB is a transition, Manuel went 25-6 at Florida State. And, as most of us know, numbers never lie.

"I think I'm a winner. I have a leadership about me and I have a competitive edge about me that I think helps rub off onto my teammates."

The learning curve takes time, and it may mean Manuel opens the season on the sideline.

But, even SuperMan is Clark Kent before he saves the day.

Kevin Kolb: Like Manuel, Kevin Kolb faces pressure as well.

But, a different kind of pressure: history.

Kolb's mindset is focused on the future.

"I'm here to win a superbowl. Period."

But, his fragile past is what may hold him back.

Derailed by four injuries in three years and sporadic play, Kolb has never played more than nine games in a single season.

"If I focus on myself, if I do things right myself and play the game the way that I can play it, then things will take care of themselves."

As if staying healthy wasn't enough, Kolb will have to beat out Manuel for the starting role.

"Doesn't scare me, doesn't concern me. It's just part of the job and you move on. It's all about competition in this league, and I'm competing against everybody."

Kolb's attitude is in the right place, but there's no guarantee he'll start week one against the Patriots.

It's worth noting, though; Kolb led the Arizona Cardinals to a road win against the Patriots last season.

Something a Bills quarterback hasn't done since Doug Flutie in 2000.


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