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Doug Marrone: Bills 'have a battle' for No. 2 QB job

The Bills have shown tremendous confidence in starting quarterback EJ Manuel, but Buffalo's backup job is up for grabs between Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel.

"We have a battle for the second-team quarterback," coach Doug Marrone said Monday. "We're trying to find out who it is. Jeff did a nice job in OTAs and he's earned himself some more reps."

Reporters were surprised to see Lewis -- last year's embedded No. 2 -- split reps with Tuel during Tuesday's training camp practice. The Bills, though, have talked about Tuel as a potential long-term option in the quarterback room. Coaches were happy to see the second-year passer show up to camp with increased strength and a "new physique," per WGR-AM.

"I feel like I've progressed tremendously in the mental aspect of the offense, and just learning protection and plays and where to go with the ball when and stuff like that," said Tuel. "That's just what I need to continue to do. I'm just going to play the best I can every day and wherever it takes me is just where it takes me."

Tuel was a mixed bag on tape in his lone rookie start last autumn, but Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said in October that he was "blown away" by the preparation Lewis put in to make his five starts in relief of Manuel.

Lewis went on to lead all Bills passers with 7.0 yards per attempt, but he also stumbled through periods of wayward play that cost his team points and yardage.

Until we're convinced Manuel can stay upright for 16 games, Buffalo's battle for No. 2 is worth watching.

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