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Scrimmage roundup: Buffalo Bills' QB woes intensify

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The Buffalo Bills' carousel of quarterback disappointment extended into Saturday's scrimmage, with one fan openly pining for the return of Kyle Orton.

Although EJ Manuel was the consensus scrimmage "winner," WKBW's Joe Buscaglia described the offense's showing as "mostly putrid."

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Manuel completed five-of-11 passes for 105 yards and the lone touchdown, coming after all three of the quarterbacks had taken turns with the first-, second- and third-team offenses.

Matt Cassel was just two of six for 27 yards. The play-calling concentrated on establishing the run when he was under center with the first-team offense.

Tyrod Taylor showed glimpses of talent, going eight of 13 for 83 yards and another 31 rushing yards. Coach Rex Ryan was disappointed, however, that Taylor missed a few throws.

Although Ryan noted that it's normal for the defense to be ahead of the offense early in camp, he acknowledged he was hoping for a stronger showing from his quarterbacks.

"I was hoping to see something else pop through there, but it didn't," Ryan said.

Yet to impress his new team going back to offseason practices, Cassel is still likely to be afforded veteran deference in the preseason opener.

"We'll probably start Cassel in the first game against Carolina and we'll just go from there," Ryan said. "Obviously we'll rotate guys who get a shot to start."

Here's what else we learned in Saturday's scrimmages:

» The Bears' first-team offense didn't fare any better against the second-team defense. With Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery held out for precautionary reasons, Jay Cutler managed to complete just one of five passes.

» After a slow start to the scrimmage, Blake Bortles found his groove, connecting with Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas and breakout candidate Allen Robinson for touchdowns. Bortles finished eight of 16 for 80 yards and three touchdowns.

"You can just see his confidence," coach Gus Bradley said of Bortles. "Obviously, we have a lot to work, but to get out there for the first time in a game situation, I thought there was some good stuff."

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Linebacker Dan Skuta backed up The Florida Times-Union's recent observation that Thomas is already established as "the best player on the team, period."

"He's going to be a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams," Skuta said after the scrimmage. "Get him on some guys that aren't used to covering him like me. That's what happens with good players. You've got to be perfect."

» Bengals backup A.J. McCarron mirrored Bortles' performance, leading a pair of scoring drives with the first-team offensive line after failing to move the offense on his first two drives.

"I thought he was even better than last night," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. "Every time he completed a ball his confidence skyrocketed. It's a good opportunity for him to continue to grow."

» Although Matthew Stafford missed some throws, he threw a pair of touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson and Eric Ebron and led two more drives into scoring territory. Stafford completed nine of 10 passes on the Ebron touchdown drive, connecting with the second-year tight end four times. It's a promising sign that the two are developing strong chemistry after a disappointing 2014 season.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast covers the latest on Aldon Smith's release and breaks down the training camp stories flying under the radar.

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