Buffalo Bills' Doug Whaley talks backup QB situation

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

EJ Manuel heads into his first full NFL offseason secure in the knowledge that he will be the Bills' starter in 2014, but things behind him on the depth chart are less settled.

In their season-ending press conference on Monday, top Buffalo Bills decision-makers Russ Brandon, Doug Whaley and Doug Marrone steadfastly threw their support behind quarterback EJ Manuel, confirming that they've told the 2013 first-round pick that he'll return as the starter in 2014 and setting the expectation of a major step forward between his first and second pro seasons.

None of that came out of left field, so the more interesting quarterback-related commentary to emerge from One Bills Drive yesterday was Whaley's commentary on backup Thad Lewis and the status of veteran Kevin Kolb. In short, Whaley was fairly noncommittal about both players.

"Kevin’s in constant communication with the medical staff," Whaley said of Kolb. "He will go through a season-ending medical examination just like all the other players... after that, we’ll have to see what the medical staff comes up with."

Kolb, you'll recall, suffered a preseason concussion that the team reportedly treated as a career-ender, and left them scrambling at the position. Part of that scrambling process was a preseason trade for Lewis, who wound up starting five games for the Bills in 2013.

"We’re pleased with Thad," Whaley said Monday. "We brought him on a trade. He came in and was very serviceable. We look forward for his further development. But again, we will not hold ourselves back from picking a person that will help us take a winning step."

Whaley would not deny that the team would look hard at upgrading the quarterback position this offseason. Depending on Kolb's health status - he's still under contract next season - the Bills could very well be in the market for, at minimum, a more stable veteran option to compete with Lewis behind Manuel.

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