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Tarvaris Jackson pragmatic about competing with high-profile rookie

By Mark Gaughan

The competition landscape facing Buffalo Bills veteran quarterback Tarvaris Jackson looks ominously similar to what he encountered last spring in Seattle.

The Bills acquired a veteran in free agency in Kevin Kolb and drafted EJ Manuel in the first round. Last year, Jackson was in a competition with Matt Flynn, a veteran who had been acquired in a trade, and Russell Wilson, a third-round draft pick who showed up with a glittering college resume.

It didn't work out for Jackson in Seattle. He was traded to the Bills in August for a seventh-round pick.

Nevertheless, Jackson is taking a realistic approach to his battle. All he can worry about is playing his best.

"There's a lot of similarities, to be honest with you," Jackson said. "Pretty much the same."

"We kinda split reps between me Matt and Russell. You just try to make the best of the reps that you get. I learned a lot from it because you don't know what to expect. You don't know what the people upstairs are thinking, so you try not to guess. You just try to do the best you can do and just take it however it comes."

Kolb and Jackson are getting the majority of the snaps during spring practices. Jackson is widely viewed as the underdog to Kolb to be the top veteran. Still, this shot in Buffalo is probably a better chance to win a job than Jackson was going to get with any other team. He's getting plenty of practice snaps. So he's in no position to complain.

Jackson realizes the Bills have made a commitment to Manuel, the 16th overall pick.

"Oh, yeah, definitely," he said. "Russell was a third-round pick. So a first-round pick, that's more invested in him.

"I've been in this league going on eight years now. Hopefully I'll make it eight. But I know how it goes. Like I said, I just come out here and do my best. In certain situations your best might not be good enough. They invested a lot in a player in the first round. Last year they invested a lot in Russell. That's a decision they made, and it worked out for them last year."

"Like I said you never know what people upstairs are thinking," Jackson said. "You have to trust the coaches, trust the people making the decision to make the right decision. ... I'm kind of prepared with whatever happens. I'm going to go out and just give it my best. … Whatever decision they make I’ll go with it."


EJ Manuel | Tarvaris Jackson
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |