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Rex Ryan says QB competition could last up to season opener

Eventually, someone will have to play quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.

Coach Rex Ryan, however, is in no hurry to declare a winner -- or even a leader -- in that three-man race between EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor.

"Wisdom tells me to let it all play out and we'll see what happens," Ryan said Wednesday after the Bills finished up their penultimate organized team activity of the spring.

In other words, there is no leader in the clubhouse, to borrow a golfing phrase.

"I don't think we'll see anything during minicamp that will say, 'hey, this guy is our starter.' That's not going to happen," Ryan said. "We’re going to keep that competition going and at least give guys opportunities when it’s time for football. But as far as being here, I feel good. I feel great about this team. I think there is going to be some competition at that position, and I think we have confident players at that position. But for us to say this guy's the starter, that’s not going to happen."

Ryan was asked if he'd have an established pecking order heading into training camp at the end of July, even one he'd keep to himself.

"It will probably be a way, but there's also going to be guys with equal opportunity," the coach said, keeping open the possibility the Bills won't name a starter until Week One when the Indianapolis Colts come to town. "It's until you earn things. That's how I see it."

Ryan, a big fan of other sports, started off his news conference Wednesday gushing about LeBron James' performance in the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A few minutes later, a reporter asked Ryan who would be the Bills' "LeBron" at quarterback.

"Safe to say we won't have LeBron at quarterback," Ryan said. "We may have a LeBron at defensive tackle or defensive end, but we don’t have him at quarterback."

Ryan made another comment in passing Wednesday about the uncertainty at quarterback when talking about Bills center Eric Wood, whom he compared to his center in New York, Nick Mangold.

"I was blessed with the Jets to be around a great one," Ryan said. Wood "is very similar to Nick, so I think that's been a good thing. I know I haven't had an ideal situation at quarterback, but I've had an ideal situation at center for my career and Eric is just that way."

Cassel and Manuel split reps with the first team Wednesday.

"Matt did some real good things, and then some other ones he was kind of late on the deep ball. I think that thing was up the rails and got to be thrown a little bit quicker," Ryan said. "There's some things that you probably think you can get better at and then some things that he did well."

The newest addition at quarterback, meanwhile, is seeing his work load increased gradually.

"He hasn't gotten a whole lot of work right now," Ryan said of Matt Simms. "It's kind of catch-up mode right now for him, but he will get a lot more work when we get to training camp."

 

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