The Buffalo Bills entered training camp with E.J. Manuel and Kevin Kolb competing for the starting quarterback job. Kolb, who was signed by the team in the offseason, seemed like the leader to start Week 1 because of his experience. But through two preseason games, it’s looking more and more like Manuel will open the season as the team’s starter.
Kolb, who missed the first preseason game because of a knee injury, got the start against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. He went 13-of-21 for 111 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception on a tipped ball. He scrambled one time for seven yards.
Manuel came in after Kolb and went 10-of-12 for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Both quarterbacks operated mostly out of the shotgun and threw short, quick routes. They each were faced with pressure from Minnesota’s four-man front, which frequently got in their face quickly. The Vikings’ defense led Kolb to look to release the ball quickly on many of his attempts.
Though neither quarterback was particularly impressive, Kolb has not given the Bills a reason not to go with the rookie. The Bills boldly selected Manuel with their No. 16 overall pick, making him the first quarterback taken in the draft. They were impressed by his build, abilities, and intangible qualities. Team GM Doug Whaley even admitted they would love to have Manuel run away with the job.
“Absolutely, it helps if he becomes the starter and becomes successful, there’s no doubt about it,” Whaley admitted to NFL.com during the week.
Through two preseason games, Manuel is now 26-of-33 for 199 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also rushed four times for 29 yards. He’d have to get injured or have a disastrous third game preseason game to lose this competition.