Are the Bills inching closer to naming EJ Manuel the starting QB?

By Sid Saraf,

The Bills spent a first-round pick on EJ Manuel. And while nothing is guaranteed, it seems the rookie is making a positive impression.

Manuel was on the bench at the start of Friday’s preseason game against the Vikings as Buffalo let Kevin Kolb run with the first team. But Kolb, somewhat expectedly, had a Kevin Kolb-like performance. He did complete 13 of 21 passes for 111 yards, but threw an interception that bounced off receiver Marquise Goodwin’s hands.

Manuel finally got in the game in the third quarter and once again showed a steady hand. He directed a 12-play drive right that ended with him hitting Brad Smith for a 4-yard touchdown pass.

He played only one more series (three and out) before giving way to third-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bottom line: Who is in the lead for the starting job? That’s tough to say, because this was Kolb’s first preseason game. Head coach Doug Marrone promised him a legitimate chance to compete for the starting gig, but an injury and a death in the family kept Kolb out of last week’s game against the Colts.

Manuel only played with the second unit during Friday’s game. But still, at this point, you have to say Manuel is in the lead for the job.

But, we’ll know more after next week’s “dress rehearsal” game.

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