As the Bills put the wraps this week, on a series of pre-training camp workouts, Kevin Kolb knows he has one less quarterback to beat out for the starting job.
The field of competitors in the post Ryan Fitzpatrick era shrunk by one when the team released Tarvaris Jackson. No offense intended towards undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel but the competition is now down to Kolb and EJ Manuel, the Bills first round pick in this year’s draft.
The majority of the focus at next month’s training camp will be on Manuel and while Doug Marrone maintains the competition will determine the starter, one would think the organization would dearly like to see Manuel win the job. It’s possible Manuel could be the guy even if he isn’t the clear cut winner but at the very least, keeps the race close.
Kolb was a guest on the WGR morning show on Wednesday and said he can’t get wrapped up in how Manuel is doing. “A veteran told me this a long time ago. Obviously you are there for a reason” Kolb said. “ You’re a talented guy if you’re competing for a starting job in the NFL and if you let all the other stuff get in the way, then you’re not going to play up to one hundred percent of your ability. Just focus in on your stuff and what the coach wants you to do on every play. That’s why I don’t really focus on what EJ is doing and I didn’t focus on what Tarvaris was doing. I just focus on what I’m doing and if I play up to my ability then it shouldn’t really matter.”
As far as the Bills offense is concerned, Kolb said he is buying in one hundred percent on what Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett are selling and from a philosophical standpoint, the three have been on the same page since they first met and began discussing what type of offense wins in the National Football League.
“I’ve seen quite a few offenses now and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, in my opinion” Kolb said. “ What’s funny is, when I sat down with them(Marrone and Hackett), they asked me that question first and I gave them my answer and they started giggling and laughing. I said ‘what’s so funny?’ and they said ‘let us tell you our philosophy’ and it was pretty darn close.”
Kolb said the Bills offense is not hard to understand but it does put a lot on the quarterback which, he added, is the way it should be.
In addition to learning a new offense, the former Philadelphia Eagle and Arizona Cardinal is also trying to build chemistry with a new group of receivers. Kolb hasn’t had much practice time with Stevie Johnson, who missed some OTA work due to a back strain, but Johnson made an immediate impression on Kolb when the two did work together.
“I’ve had maybe three practices with him and he blows me away. His first day on the practice field after his injury, he breaks a guy off, then catches it in between traffic, splits the two and scores a touchdown. I was beside myself. I had no idea he had that kind of ability. I’m really looking forward to it” (working with Johnson).
You can listen to the entire interview with Kevin Kolb: