Buffalo Bills 2013 training camp primer

USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills have a new head coach and new schemes, but they'll have to figure out whether Kevin Kolb or E.J. Manuel is their new quarterback. Training camp under Doug Marrone should provide intrigue, but the QB battle is the highlight.

The Buffalo Bills went for a complete revamp in the 2013 offseason. Although they're still a long shot to end the NFL's longest active playoff drought, there's new hope with Doug Marrone in charge and a fresh group of quarterbacks competing for the starting gig.

The Bills' record might not improve a bunch after a 6-10 year, and C.J. Spiller will still be the primary bread-winner as the offense will likely flow through the talented running back, but there are new schemes and new faces. Year 1 under Marrone should be intriguing, at the very least, and training camp will be the first true opportunity to see what's in store for the Bills.

Offseason changes

Where to start? The Bills dipped into the college ranks by grabbing Marrone, who turned a dismal Syracuse squad and won eight games, including a bowl, this past season at his alma mater. His 25-25 college record isn't stellar, but Marrone's NFL credentials are strong: he turned the Saints into one of the league's most effective offensive units with Drew Brees slinging the ball, although he resigned a year before they won the 2009 Super Bowl to take the 'Cuse job.

Nathaniel Hackett, Marrone's offensive coordinator at Syracuse, is in as the OC in Buffalo. EJ Manuel told SB Nation's Dan Rubenstein that his offense is simple, in a good way: it looks to make the quarterback a facilitator rather than a playmaker. Mike Pettine, who was the defensive coordinator on some very solid Jets squads, is installing a defense that Buffalo Rumblings writes breeds on versatility.

The personnel changes aren't as drastic, but they start at a pretty important position: everybody who played quarterback last year on the Bills is gone. Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with the Titans after throwing for 3,400 yards, and Tyler Thigpen and Tarvaris Jackson are gone as well. They took Manuel with the No. 16 pick in the draft, surprising many by making the Florida State product first quarterback off the board. And they signed Kevin Kolb, paying him like a high-end backup, although he might well earn the starting gig.

Also noteworthy are a pair of wide receivers, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, taken in the second and third rounds, and second-round pick Kiko Alonso, a linebacker out of Oregon expected to start right away.

Training camp location and schedule

The Bills will hold their training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, about 80 miles away from Buffalo. They've held it there since 2000 so the routine is pretty set at this point. Day practices are open to the public, while the two night practices require tickets.

Here's the full schedule:
Sunday, July 28, 6:10-9 p.m., night practice
Monday, July 29, 2:10-5:10 p.m., practice
Tuesday, July 30, 8:10-11:10 a.m., practice
Wednesday, July 31, 8:10-11:10 a.m., practice
Thursday, August 1, 8:10-11:10 a.m., practice
Friday, August 2, 8:10-11:10 a.m., practice
Saturday, August 3, 8:10-11:10 a.m., practice
Sunday, August 4, 2:10-5:10 p.m., practice
Monday, August 5, 6:10-9 p.m., night practice
Tuesday, August 6: Off day
Wednesday, August 7, 2:10-5:10 p.m., practice
Thursday, August 8: Off day
Friday, August 9, 6:10-9 p.m., night practice
Saturday, August 10: Travel to Indianapolis
Sunday, August 11, 1:30 p.m.: preseason game at Indianapolis Colts
Monday, August 12, 2:10-5:10 p.m., practice
Tuesday, August 13: Off day
Wednesday, August 14, 6:10-9 p.m., night practice
Thursday, August 15: Off day
Friday, August 16, 7 p.m.: preseason game vs. Minnesota Vikings
Saturday, August 17: Off day
Sunday, August 18: 8:10-11:10 a.m., practice
Monday, August 19: Off day
Tuesday, August 20, 6:10-9 p.m., night practice
Wednesday, August 21, 2:10-5:10 p.m., practice

Position battles

Quarterback: It's the biggie. The two competitors are Manuel and Kolb and they split snaps at the team's mandatory minicamp in June. Both players have already beaten out one potential starter, as the team cut Tarvaris Jackson, but they still have to beat each other. What the team does in 2013 isn't a referendum on the future of the franchise.Throwing Manuel into the fray as a rookie might not be the best thing for his development, even if the team feels he'd be a better quarterback than Kolb -- Michael Vick's former backup who did his best on a brutal Arizona Cardinals squad last year. John Clayton predicted the Bills would go with the veteran following minicamp, but Manuel could make noise in the first QB battle of his professional career.

Left guard: Andy Levitre was the big loss of the Bills' offseason when the talented guard signed an enormous deal with the Tennessee Titans. The most likely candidate is Doug Legursky, who came over from the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, but other contenders include 6'7 Colin Brown and 6'8 Chad Scott.

Wide receiver: Stevie Johnson is the obvious star of the Bills' receiving corps, but there's competition to see who gets the most looks among a trio of young and talented wideouts. Woods could have been a first-round pick after an all-American career in high school and great performances early in college, but had an off junior year. Goodwin's a track star, having competed in the 2012 Olympics. They'll both have to prove they're better than T.J. Graham, who had 31 receptions after being a third round pick of the Bills last year.

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