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Marrone stresses importance of competition when talking Bills' QBs

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Posted Feb. 22, 2013 @ 2:45 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

INDIANAPOLIS — Like the other coaches who are inheriting questions at quarterback, Bills head man Doug Marrone offered little in terms of clarity as to who will take the snap for Buffalo in Week One.

It’s not just quarterback, though, as Marrone reminded reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine that he has yet to meet his players.

“When you take over a job and look at what they’ve done in the past, I think it’s part of a process. You don’t know what’s been asked of the players. I don’t like to put too much into it, because I want to look forward,” he said. “The challenge is that I’ve been the head coach for a month and I don’t have a chance to talk to the players face to face until voluntary workouts on April 2.

“The most important part of the organization and why we’re all here is the players. I’m looking forward to that, meeting with them and installing our system.”

Last week, the Bills re-signed QB Tarvaris Jackson. After going to Buffalo in a trade prior to the 2012 regular season, Jackson did not appear in a single game, yet Marrone said the former Seahawks starter will compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick — and likely a rookie, as well — to start.

Marrone avoided going into much detail when asked what it was about Jackson that convinced the organization to make that decision.

“Both players have NFL experience and have played in games in the NFL. It’s natural. You look at where we are today, the competitiveness of the players that are here, trying to impress the NFL personnel,” Marrone said. “I’m a new head coach coming in, I’m very competitive. The security guard in our building is very competitive. … We’re all being competitive in what we’re doing.”

Jackson’s contract is reportedly worth $1.75 million in base salary with $500,000 guaranteed. In 2011, he started 14 games for Seattle, completing 60.2 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

“I looked at the roster, talked to Buddy (Nix), and there are things (Jackson) has done on tape prior to his arrival in Buffalo that we looked at,” Marrone said. “I’m excited to work with him. I believe in developing players, working with them and gaining that trust. … A lot of times, things get confusing. My job is to coach. The players that are on the roster, it’s my job to coach them and win games. It’s really as simple as that.”

Fitzpatrick is due a $3 million bonus on March 13, and for the first time since 2010, enters a regular season not entrenched as the Bills’ starter.

“We’re all competitors,” Marrone said when asked about Fitzpatrick’s reaction to the decision to bring back Jackson. “In my experience, I’ve never really seen a player that wasn’t open to competition.” 

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