ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Doug Marrone came to the conclusion that three was a crowd in the Buffalo Bills quarterback competition. Though the rookie head coach was nowhere near naming a starter on Tuesday, Marrone said itll be easier to evaluate who wins the job now that its down to rookie first-round draft pick EJ Manuel and veteran free-agent addition Kevin Kolb. "The more reps you give them, I think its going to be easier to tell it apart," Marrone said, a day after the team released veteran backup Tarvaris Jackson. "I believe that well be able to see it at training camp. I think the players on the team are going to be able to see that separation. And thats the most important thing." Marrone and the Bills got their first glimpse at the pared-down quarterback rotation in opening a three-day mandatory minicamp. Its the teams last spring session until training camp opens July 28. On Tuesday, Kolb and Manuel evenly split the practice time, with undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel getting limited snaps at the end of each series of sessions. Thats a significant switch from the Bills first 10 spring minicamp practices, when Kolb and Jackson split the starting duties ahead of Manuel and Tuel. Manuel welcomed the added practice time. "Your body continues to stay warm. You get a lot of continuity on offence, and you kind of get in a groove," he said. "So its a lot better." Manuel also understood he has to continue improving to show hes capable of making the immediate jump from college to NFL rookie starter. "I dont think thats anything I have to remind myself of," said Manuel, selected 16th overall out of Florida State. "Im still trying to learn, still trying to get a great feel for my teammates. Im still trying to earn the respect of the veteran guys as well as the rookies." Kolb said the additional practice time benefited him in building a better rapport with his teammates in running the newly installed game-plan. "Nobody likes when stuff like that happens," Kolb said, referring to Jackson getting cut. "But sometimes you have to. And I can already see a difference today." Jackson, a seventh-year player, was the odd-man out. He was acquired by Buffalo in a trade with Seattle in September, but spent all of last season as the teams third-stringer. The quarterback competition is attracting the most interest in Buffalo on a team thats undergoing yet another top-to-bottom transition. Marrone was hired in January after Chan Gailey was fired following three consecutive losing seasons. The Bills have gone 13 seasons without a playoff berth -- the NFLs longest active drought. And many of their troubles can be pinned on a quarterback position thats been mostly unsettled since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired following the 1996 season. Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round of the draft. At 6-foot-4, hes a strong-armed mobile player, who went 25-6 in four seasons with the Seminoles. Despite Manuels success, questions were raised over his decision-making skills. He finished with 47 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, which were the result of him occasionally forcing throws. Marrone is being careful to ease Manuel into the job. "We just want to make sure that were taking it at a natural progression," Marrone said. "Hes not seeing the same type of things that Kevins seeing out there right now. And were just working ahead and building him up." Kolb has the edge in experience. Hes entering his seventh NFL season after failing to secure the starting jobs in Philadelphia and, most recently Arizona. He has a 9-12 record as a starter, but his career has been hampered by a series of injuries. Kolb signed a two-year contract with Buffalo in April, eager for the shot to prove himself as a starter, even though he was aware the team was going to draft a quarterback. Kolb can appreciate why Manuel can be considered the front-runner for the job because of where he was drafted. That doesnt mean Kolb has to accept it. "I dont buy whats being sold, I guess," he said. "I just listen to what they tell me to do and roll along with it." Kolb noted he was in a similar position in 2007 after being drafted in the second round by Philadelphia. Expected to eventually succeed Donovan McNabb as the Eagles starter, Kolb was injured in the 2009 opener and eventually lost the job to Michael Vick. "Ive seen it from a lot of different perspectives, so I have an open mind about it," Kolb said. "Ive been through a lot of these, and I look forward to the challenge. "Obviously, it started anew today." Custom Suns T-shirts . 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Roberto Hernandez.Hernandez, known as Fausto Carmona when he won 19 games for the 2007 Cleveland Indians that reached the American League Championship Series, starts Saturday nights game for the Atlanta Braves at the St. Louis Cardinals.The 36-year old Hernandez was about the only logical choice Atlanta (39-70) had for this one after right-hander Aaron Blair, who it had planned to promote from Triple-A Gwinnett to make the start, injured his knee Thursday and landed on the disabled list.Their rotation already threadbare by other injuries and trades, the Braves turned to Hernandez, who is 4-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 16 International League starts between Buffalo and Gwinnett.Hernandez was picked up by Atlanta on July 15, so forgive interim manager Brian Snitker if his scouting report on him isnt exactly detailed.I dont know, Snitker said. I havent talked to anybody. Last time I seen him on TV, he started the season opener in 06 when I managed Triple A -- Buffalo against Richmond.The following year, Hernandez -- a.k.a. Carmona -- enjoyed by far the best year of his MLB career. He drew votes for the Cy Young Award and helped Cleveland get within a game of the World Series.But Hernandez couldnt follow that season with other good ones and has bounced from team-to-team over the last five years. He started this year in Torontos organization, but was released July 3.While the Braves are just trying to piece together a rotation to finish out their final 53 games,, St.dddddddddddd. Louis (58-51) is in a fight with the Miami Marlins and others for a wild-card spot.Friday nights 1-0 victory over Atlanta kept the Cardinals in lockstep with Miami for wild card number two. They were led by starter Jaime Garcia, who fanned 11 over eight scoreless innings and knocked in the only run with a second inning single.Garcias outing was just the teams seventh quality start since the All-Star break. Not only did it serve as a great bounceback from his 11-0 loss on July 30 in Miami, it gave an overworked bullpen a night off, save for closer Seung Hwan Oh.If we had had a little more room, we could have sat the bullpen down and given them a nights rest, manager Mike Matheny said of the decision to lift Garcia after eight innings. Jaime wanted the ball (in the ninth) and probably deserved the ball, but they were turning the lineup over for a fourth time. We need every win we can get.St. Louis Carlos Martinez (10-6, 2.99 ERA) will try to ape Garcias effort. Martinez is 2-0 in his career against the Braves, earning a 1-0 win against them last July and a 12-2 decision on April 9 in Atlanta, working six innings in that one.Martinez is coming off a no-decision Sunday in Miami, working seven innings and allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks, whiffing four. Martinez shrugged off a three-run first to keep the Cardinals in the game. ' ' '