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Grading the Bills' 53: Quarterbacks

9/4/2013

Now that the Buffalo Bills have set their 53-man roster, we'll break it down, position by position:

QUARTERBACK

Personnel: EJ Manuel, Jeff Tuel (Practice squad: Thad Lewis)

Talent: B -- Manuel wasn't the most coveted quarterback coming out of college; his skills are a notch below what is seen from Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers) or Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins), as examples. But that's not to say Manuel isn't talented. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds with long arms and a 4.55 40-yard time, he's still a physical specimen. The task for the Bills will be polishing him into an NFL signal-caller. Tuel is smaller, but possesses good athleticism and a strong arm.

Depth: D -- Head coach Doug Marrone seems to have little problem going into the season with just two rookies at quarterback, saying he will take on the role of a veteran tutor, but that could be a recipe for disaster. The Bills, of course, planned on having veteran Kevin Kolb to help Marrone, but Kolb is now sidelined for at least this season with a concussion. If nothing else, the Bills want to use this season to develop their rookies, so it's understandable that they wouldn't want to take reps away from either quarterback. But it's tough to say there is good depth at this position.

Reliability: D+ -- Manuel's left knee will be a hot topic early in the season. If the rigors of playing in NFL games causes the swelling to recur, then the Bills will be in trouble. Tuel has stayed healthy throughout the preseason, which helps in this category, but in general, the Bills are putting all their eggs in one basket by relying on the two rookies.