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Bills GM: Manuel has 'it' factor

The SportsXchange

With an endorsement like this from Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley, it's clear rookie EJ Manuel won't wait long before becoming the franchise's starting quarterback.

"Most successful quarterbacks have that 'it' factor. He has that 'it' factor," Whaley told XM NFL Radio. "When he walks into a room, there's a presence and people take notice. He's going to be the face of our franchise, and it's not too big for him."

Manuel, the 16th overall pick in the 2013 draft, is competing with Kevin Kolb for the starting job. Buffalo released turnover-prone Ryan Fitzpatrick and hired former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone to replace Chan Gailey.

Manuel starred at Florida State, leading the Seminoles to a 25-6 record as a starter. He also helped the team win four bowl games, becoming only the second quarterback in FBS history to accomplish the feat.

Manuel was Florida State's all-time leader with a 66.9 percent completion percentage and has shown off the strong arm in practice, including a session-ending bomb to rookie speester Marquise Goodwin on Friday.

"We're very, very pleased," said Marrone. "As far as the pass attempts, Kevin has maybe 20 or 30 more at this time, so we've been monitoring that and keeping that close.

"Those guys are battling out and that's a heck of a battle right now."

--Wide receiver Stevie Johnson left Friday's practice with a left hamstring injury and was being evaluated.

"I would say it's a major concern when you talk about it during the season," said Marrone. "Right now, I think a veteran player that's proved himself; we'll just see what the doctors say. It is what it is and then we'll deal with it from there."
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