BBD Editor: Dan Hope
The Buffalo Bills’ mandatory three-day minicamp came to a close Thursday, and with it, the last time the Bills will take the field as a team until training camp begins on July 28.
Training camp will be the first opportunity for Bills fans in the Western New York area to see how the 2013 team, led by new coach Doug Marrone and a new quarterback. Let’s take a look at how things developed in minicamp—including the battle for who that new quarterback will be—from some of the latest reports out of One Bills Drive.
Kolb vs. Manuel
Following the release of Tarvaris Jackson one day before minicamp, the competition to be the starting quarterback became a two-way battle between veteran free-agent addition Kevin Kolb and rookie EJ Manuel.
Kolb continued to take the majority of first-team repetitions, but Manuel received considerably more work in minicamp than he did when Jackson was still with the team in OTAs.
Kolb received 49 snaps at quarterback while Manuel received 39 during the first day of minicamp, according to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News. Those numbers were similar on the second day (Kolb 46, Manuel 36), according to Gaughan. Gaughan did not provide snap counts for the third day of minicamp, but said Kolb and Manuel “split most of the work, with Kolb getting the first snaps.
What do those snap counts mean? Very little. Both quarterbacks are receiving plenty of work in camp, and the slight preference toward Kolb in snap numbers is likely only because he has more experience. Reading into those numbers would be a mistake, as they could easily flip come training camp.
For now, the only thing that’s clear is that Kolb and Manuel are in a battle to be the Bills’ starting quarterback. That battle will likely continue through much of training camp and the preseason unless one of the quarterbacks makes a huge impression early in training camp. Undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, the only other quarterback on the roster, should be in line for a roster spot as the team’s third-string quarterback.
Updating the Left Guard Competition
While the Bills subtracted a player from their quarterback competition, they added one to the left guard competition. Former Pittsburgh Steelers interior offensive lineman Doug Legursky was signed by the Bills last week, and it became immediately clear in minicamp that he has a shot to win the starting left guard job.
Heading into training camp, the competition appears to be a two-way battle between Legursky and Colin Brown.
Brown received most of the first-team repetitions at left guard during the first two days of minicamp, with Legursky rotating in for the other reps, but the two split first-team reps by alternating series on the third day, according to BuffaloBills.com.
By throwing him into the fire with the first-team offense throughout minicamp, the Bills made it clear that Legursky has a legitimate shot to win the left guard job. Neither him nor Brown has been a full-time starter in the NFL, and neither is likely to be a long-term option, but they appear to be the Bills’ best options going forward to training camp.
- The Bills appeared to be preparing Duke Williams during rookie minicamp to play a significant role in the Bills’ secondary. He lined up as a first-team safety on Wednesday according to BuffaloBills.com. On Thursday, he received playing time at cornerback, according to BuffaloBills.com. The latter was in part due to Justin Rogers, Ron Brooks and Crezdon Butler all being nicked up with injuries during minicamp — while Leodis McKelvin was already out due to injury — according to WGR’s Joe Buscaglia.
- Wide receiver Stevie Johnson practiced this week at Bills minicamp — but the Bills were lucky to have him healthy. Johnson told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News that he broke a vertebra in March while filming a workout for BuffaloBills.com. Johnson also twisted his ankle earlier this offseason during voluntary workouts.