Through the first few days of camp practices, Manuel has had the edge in that competition, although that might be more about Kolb struggling than Manuel excelling. In defense of the six year NFL veteran, Kolb is seeing more exotic looks and pass rushes from the defense as opposed to the rookie from Florida State.
The 28 year old Kolb is in a strange position as he attempts to beat out Manuel for the starting job but at the same time, serve as a mentor and help Manuel out when he's looking for some tips. During an interview on WGR on Wednesday, Kolb said there's a fine line he does not want to cross when it comes to offering advice to a younger player.
"Sometimes you get guys that are overbearing and that think they know it all and want to tell you what to do" Kolb said. "I don’t do that to EJ. I want to be there for him when he says ‘shoot this is tough’. I don’t want to be there for him going ‘you should have thrown it here’. That’s all simple things you can write down from the coach. I just want to be here for things that maybe he just didn’t expect and I can tell him I’ve been through that before and just know that everybody goes through that."
While Kolb is doing everything he can to improve his own game, the Texas native can't help but notice Manuel and so far he's been impressed. "He’s doing great, I’m not going to lie. He’s doing an unbelievable job" the former second round pick said. "He’s really hard on himself, which I like to see, being a young guy. When you have that kind of conviction, you’re going to be really good. The ability is obviously there and whenever he finds his groove and gets comfortable with what we’re doing here at this level, he’s going to be a great player."
Kolb is only five years younger than his boss on the Bills, 33 year old Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Nathaniel Hackett. If you watch practice, you can clearly see Hackett is one of the most enthusiastic coaches on Doug Marrone's staff and seemingly always has a smile on his face. Kolb says that approach can pay dividends with not just the quarterbacks under his tutelage but every player on the offense.
"With Nate, I don’t think you could have a better relationship. He’s just a fun loving guy" Kolb told WGR. "I told the rookies ‘you’re all so lucky to be drafted here with a guy like him’. He keeps it fun while getting your work done and its not like that every where. This guy allows us to enjoy ourselves which allows you to play more free and more loose which is a good thing. When you can play that way, I feel you are reading and reacting rather than thinking too much."
Kolb and Manuel and third stringer Jeff Tuel for that matter, are throwing to a fairly young but talented group of wide receivers including Robert Woods(2nd round) and Marquise Goodwin(3rd round) from this year's draft class and T.J. Graham(3rd round) from the 2012 draft. In addition, there's Da'Rick Rogers, an undrafted free agent who led the SEC in receiving during a brief career at Tennessee. Kolb really likes what he's seen from the group.
"These guys are talented. I’m not sure how we walked out of the draft with Marquise and Robert, both very dynamic players" Kolb said. "We really can go at times(the speed factor). These guys are very coachable and you don’t get that all the time in the NFL and they’re smart."
You can listen to the entire interview with Kevin Kolb and hear what he has to say about the challenges of running the Bills up tempo offense: