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Bills QB Kolb leaves with head injury; Grossman, Redskins win

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The Canadian Press
8/24/2013 9:13:47 PM
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LANDOVER, Md. -- Kevin Kolb left the game with concussion-like symptoms, leaving the Buffalo Bills with an undrafted rookie as their only healthy quarterback.

Even a rookie NFL head coach can figure out what to do next.

"I think we'll be looking at bringing some quarterbacks in," coach Doug Marrone said.

That's right. There's a team even more quarterback-depleted this preseason than the Washington Redskins, who are making do without Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins.

Third-stringer Rex Grossman threw for 171 yards as the Redskins beat the Bills 30-7 Saturday, but nearly all of the focus was on the players who either left early or didn't play at all.

Kolb was hurt in the first quarter after he was kneed in the back of the helmet at the end of an 8-yard scramble. He remained in the game for four more plays until the drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by C.J. Spiller.

With first-round pick EJ Manuel nursing a knee injury, Kolb's departure left Jeff Tuel from Washington State as the last Bills QB standing. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 63 yards. If Tuel had gone down, Marrone said he would have put either receiver Brad Smith or running back Fred Jackson under centre.

Kolb regained the inside track in Buffalo's quarterback competition after Manuel hurt his left knee in the Bills' previous game. Manuel was ruled out for the rest of the preseason, and Kolb's status will be in question given his history with concussions.

Kolb lost the Eagles' starting job in 2010 when he was sidelined by a concussion in the season opener. He spent the past two seasons in Arizona, where he failed to secure the starting job because of an assortment of injuries, including a concussion in 2011.

Marrone didn't have an update on Kolb's injury.

"I'm just waiting to hear from the doctors," the coach said.

Still, with the regular season opener coming up Sept. 8, the coach is looking beyond Plan B. Or C. Or D.

"It is a concern," Marrone said. "I'm not going to sit here and say everything's fine and dandy."

While the Redskins won't utter "fine and dandy" until Griffin is back, they certainly have a better backup-to-the-backup plan than the Bills. Grossman, entering his 10th season and a one-time Super Bowl starter with the Chicago Bears, completed 11 of 21 passes, including a 7-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon.

"It was fun to start the game and go with the ones and be in that huddle again," Grossman said. "Just even preparing and going to bed last night knowing I'm starting. Going through that whole routine again was fun."

There was one major setback for the Redskins: Punt returner Richard Crawford hurt his left knee and is out for the season.

Washington, unlike Buffalo, is carrying four quarterbacks in the preseason, so Grossman didn't have to play the entire game. Pat White took his turns under centre and went 7 for 14 for 96 yards and scored on a 14-yard run.

Griffin isn't playing in the preseason as he works his way back from major knee surgery. On Saturday, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year dressed to impress the NFL, showing up in his full uniform more than two hours before kickoff, thus avoiding the type of dress code violation that got him fined a few days earlier.

Griffin wore a T-shirt with the words "Operation Patience" before the Redskins' game Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The league declared it "unauthorized apparel" and fined him $10,000.

Griffin's backup, Cousins, missed the game after spraining his right foot against the Steelers.

Also on the sideline was Jairus Byrd, wearing a white Bills T-shirt, white baseball cap and blue shorts, having rejoined the team Thursday night after a contentious off-season. The two-time Pro Bowl safety was hoping for a big payday this year, but Buffalo designated him as a franchise player, and the two sides couldn't work out a deal.

Byrd missed all of the off-season practices and training camp before finally signing a one-year, $6.9 million franchise tender. Byrd was not made available to reporters after the game.

Spiller started despite a report that a relative was involved in a shooting rampage Saturday morning in North Florida. Three people were killed and two injured before the gunman shot himself; Gainesville TV station WCJB identified the gunman as Spiller's step-grandfather.

After the game, a Bills representative stood at Spiller's locker and said the running back would have no comment.

"I have no idea of what is true and what is going on," Marrone said. "As far as I know, he knew something was happening personally, but we didn't have any information prior to the game."

NOTES: The Bills also had two defensive backs injured in the first half. Da'Norris Searcy, who started in place of Byrd, suffered a head injury. Starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore left with a wrist injury. Marrone had no update on either player.

Kevin Kolb (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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