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Losman, Holcomb to battle for Bills QB job

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Feb. 14, 2006) -- J.P. Losman won't be handed the Buffalo Bills starting quarterback job for next season. This time, he's going to have to earn it from Kelly Holcomb.

Newly hired coach Dick Jauron said he'll open the job to a competition this spring between Losman and Holcomb, the veteran journeyman with the hope of having a starter ready by the start of training camp.

"Somebody will be named heading into camp, but there is always going to be competition," Jauron said. "We'll try to name that guy going through the spring, but if we don't, we don't. We hope to have a feeling."

Jauron noted that Losman, who is entering his third season, will have to improve.

"You have a veteran quarterback in Kelly, who is comfortable with his game," Jauron said. "J.P. is a young quarterback and plays like one. ... He needs to be better for what he went though last year."

Jauron's desire for competition is a departure from a year ago when former coach Mike Mularkey awarded the starting job to Losman, the second of Buffalo's two 2004 first-round draft picks.

The decision to start Losman led to the Bills granting Drew Bledsoe's request to be released. Bledsoe had an inconsistent year starting for Dallas, while Mularkey abruptly resigned as Bills coach last month.

Despite an intensive offseason work regimen, Losman struggled as a first-year starter, finishing the season on the bench after losing the No. 1 job to Holcomb, a 10-year journeyman.

In a 5-11 season, Holcomb went 4-4 as a starter and Losman 1-7, although Losman engineered Buffalo's 14-3 win over Kansas City after Holcomb was hurt during the game. Holcomb finished with a better completion percentage (67.4 to Losman's 49.6), threw for two more touchdowns (10-8) and had a far superior quarterback rating (85.6-64.9).

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