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Doug Marrone prefers top QB named before preseason finale

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Doug Marrone didn't set a deadline to name the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback.

The rookie head coach did, however, provide the first significant glimpse into how he's approaching perhaps the most critical decision of his first season.

Marrone told reporters tonight at St. John Fisher College the Bills should have the quarterback depth chart settled shortly after their third preseason game.

"Again, you like to sit there as a coach and say you'd like that decision to just come up in front of you," Marrone said after his the opening practice of training camp. "Really, if you can get 10, 12 days prior to that first game, that's when you're going to get pressed for time and have to make a decision on a quarterback. That's when you're probably going to start preparing, 10 days out of the first game."

In other words, the Bills probably can't afford to string out the competion until right before the regular season begins.

The Bills will open Sept. 8 against the New England Patriots in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Fifteen days earlier, the Bills will play their third preseason game. Ten days before the opener, the Bills will play their final exhibition.

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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 |