Buffalo Bills training camp begins in 40 days, and when it does, a pending starting quarterback competition between Kevin Kolb and rookie EJ Manuel will take center stage. In a taped appearance on The John Murphy Show Monday evening, Murphy asked Bills head coach Doug Marrone if the race for that job was a "dead heat" - and Marrone agreed.
"Yeah, I look at it that way," Marrone told Murphy. "Kevin is a little bit more experienced going into this situation. In this minicamp, obviously we were able to even out the reps. Earlier on, EJ wasn't getting as much, but had gotten probably more than most people. I think that we had to make some decisions to go in, with going to camp with three quarterbacks now and giving them the majority of the reps. It'll be interesting for all of us to see.
"When you give players all those reps, it's a position that everyone's watching - not just the media, not just the coaches, but the also whole football team," Marrone continued. "I think at the end of the day, when it separates itself and the decision's made, everyone's on board with that - meaning that everyone has seen the separation... It's more important for me that the team knows, and they agree with, this is the best player not just at the quarterback position, but every position."
Murphy then asked the head coach if he had a timetable in mind for making a decision on the starting quarterback job.
"I really don't," Marrone said. "Obviously for me as a coach, the earlier it can get done, the better... but again, if you make decisions early and no one can see those decisions with the team, you wind up hurting your football team. I'm hoping the decision and the timeline really relies on the players that are in competition. They have to separate themselves - and when you give people enough reps, they will separate. At what point? I don't know."
During the team's mandatory minicamp last week, Kolb was pulling roughly 50 percent of the reps in team work, while Manuel was down at around 40 percent. Those percentages will likely even out more when the Bills take the field at St. John Fisher College on July 28 and through August. Which player do you believe has the best chance of separating from the other during camp and pre-season action?