The Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles are in the process of figuring out who will be their starting quarterback when the regular season opens. With one week of preseason games in the books, here's an update on those competitions.
Buffalo Bills: Kevin Kolb vs. E.J. Manuel
Kolb, who was signed to a two-year, $6.1 million contract on April 8, missed most of practices leading up to the preseason opener due to a knee injury and a personal matter. That led to Manuel, a first-round pick out of Florida State, starting and playing the entire first half against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Manuel got off to a shaky start – 1-of-3 for -6 yards to start, lost a fumble on a botched hand-off — before settling down to complete 16-of-21 pass attempts for 107 yards and hit Dorin Dickerson for a 17-yard touchdown with 14 seconds remaining in the first half.
Current status: Kolb remains the favorite, but Manuel's promising performance in the preseason opener increases the pressure on Kolb to step up and earn the job this month.
Gabbert earned the starting nod in the preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins, but did little to solidify his hold on the No. 1 job. In a little over a quarter of work (17 snaps total), Gabbert completed five of 10 pass attempts for just 19 yards. On his final pass attempt, Gabbert's throw was to the wrong should of fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou, resulting in the ball being tipped in the air before it was snared by Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll. That interception led to a touchdown that gave the Dolphins a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Henne completed eight of 11 attempts for 87 yards and led the Jaguars on one scoring drive. The downside to Henne's performance came in the two-minute drill. With 11 seconds left in the half and no timeouts, Henne completed a 21-yard pass to tight end Allen Reisner, driving down to the Dolphins' 26-yard line. Unfortunately, the pass was thrown to the middle of the field and time expired before the Jaguars could attempt a field goal and add points to the scoreboard.
Current status: This competition remains wide open heading into next Saturday night's game against the Jets.
New York Jets: Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith
No quarterback has turned the ball over the last two seasons than Sanchez, who has coughed it up 52 times in his last 31 games. Sanchez remains atop the depth chart, but his propensity for boneheaded plays reared its ugly head in the preseason opener when he tossed a pick-six to Detroit Lions rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah on the opening series. Sanchez would rebound, completing 10-of-13 attempts for 125 yards and a 26-yard touchdown to tight end Jeff Cumberland. Smith, a strong-armed second-round pick out of West Virginia, was six-of-seven for 47 yards in his preseason debut, but exited after injuring his right ankle during a scramble that was nullified by a penalty. Though he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle, Smith participated in the Jets' first practice after the preseason opener and said that he does not expect to miss any days of practice.
Terrelle Pryor (USA Today Sports Images)
Current status: Sanchez remains ahead of Smith, but with six days before the second preseason game, the talented rookie has plenty of time to get his ankle healthy and close the gap. Head coach Rex Ryan declined to name a starter for the Jaguars' game, saying only that they will "make that evaluation as we go". Ryan also does not foresee naming a starter for the regular season-opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 8.
Oakland Raiders: Matt Flynn vs. Terrelle Pryor vs. Tyler Wilson
Flynn is running with the first-team offense and got the start in the preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Friday night. In a little over a dozen snaps, Flynn completed four of five pass attempts for 37 yards, was sacked once and had a four-yard scramble in a little over a quarter of work. Pryor was the second quarterback in and immediately showed off the athleticism that has him as the "people's choice" for the starting job by running for 13 yards. Pryor completed six of 10 attempts for 88 yards, had 31 rushing yards and was intercepted once, turning in an up-and-down performance that will likely result in Flynn starting against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 8.
Current status: Flynn remains ahead of Pryor heading into the second week of the preseason, but the competition is far from over. Pryor will have a few more opportunities to make Dennis Allen's decision a hard one. Another quarterback battle is brewing between Wilson, a 2013 fourth-round pick, and Matt McGloin, an undrafted rookie out of Penn State who is currently ahead of Wilson on the depth chart.
Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick vs. Nick Foles
After alternating with the first-team throughout training camp, Vick got the start against the New England Patriots on Friday night. In just nine snaps, Vick completed four of five pass attempts for 94 yards, half of which came on a beautiful 47-yard touchdown strike to DeSean Jackson. Foles got a dozen snaps against the Patriots, completing five of six attempts for 43 yards, was sacked once, lost a fumble and had a 10-yard scramble.
Current Status: By all accounts, Vick fits in well with Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense and he has looked good in training camp. The battle rages on, but if Vick is healthy, he will likely open the season in a starting role.
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