When the Buffalo Bills released quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on Monday in advance of the team's mandatory minicamp this week, it was immediately apparent that the two remaining quarterbacks of note on the roster - veteran Kevin Kolb and rookie EJ Manuel - would see significant increases in practice time. That's precisely what happened on Tuesday.
EJ Manuel got a lot more work today. By my count: Kolb 49 snaps Manuel 39 snaps, Tuel 11 (Not that the totals are any big deal on June 11)— Mark Gaughan (@gggaughan) June 11, 2013
Unofficial QB rep count (7-on-7s, 9-on-9s and 11-on-11s) from Day 1 of the mandatory mini-camp. Kevin Kolb 51, EJ Manuel 41, Jeff Tuel 7— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) June 11, 2013
For the mathematically disinclined: Kolb is getting roughly half of the reps early in this minicamp, Manuel is getting a healthy 40 percent, and Jeff Tuel is taking the leftovers. That's a significant departure from when Jackson was still on the roster, when he and Kolb split a large chunk of reps and Manuel was left as an also-ran in many cases. Now, the rookie is getting much more practice time, while still riding second in the pecking order behind Kolb.
"When you look at it from a standpoint of reps, I mentioned that last week, it’s just not enough reps to really do a good job evaluating," head coach Doug Marrone said of the practice situation when Jackson was on the roster. "I think it’ll be a lot clearer for all of us, especially for myself as a coach, obviously with the amount of reps now that Kevin and EJ will get."
The real question, of course, will be how drastically that rep situation between Kolb and Manuel changes over the course of the summer. We're not even to training camp yet, and the first-round pick is already closing the gap near the top of the depth chart. Manuel has the look of a favorite to start early in his professional career, but a strong summer from Kolb - who is very clearly in play for that starting job - could delay that inevitability.