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Rex Ryan: addressing QB is a priority

Bills head coach Rex Ryan has said more than once that in an ideal world there's an entrenched starting quarterback on his roster and they'll be ready to hit the ground running when players return in April.

That's not the situation facing the Buffalo Bills. The most important position on the field is still one that must be ironed out through the course of the offseason. Topping that agenda right now is making additions at that position. Ryan stated as much in addressing the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis Wednesday.

"I know we're going to try to upgrade that position or add to that position," Ryan said. "Certainly any means necessary so we'll see. Right now we feel good about EJ, but we've got to add to that as well."

Buffalo already had free agent QB Josh McCown in for a visit at One Bills Drive on Monday. Ryan called the meeting a "great visit."

"I think the big thing obviously we have an interest in Josh," Ryan told "He's a veteran quarterback. He has been with several teams. We know his history obviously, but this gave us an opportunity to really sit down and visit with Josh and how he thought we would fit him and vice versa. When it's appropriate we'll proceed however we're going to proceed in finding a quarterback, but obviously we feel good about him. We think that we're not the only team in the league that's interested in him, maybe in different roles."

A handful of NFL teams are said to be interested in McCown. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan told New York reporters at the Combine that they met with McCown in Indianapolis Wednesday.

As for the draft Ryan was asked for his take on the popular opinion that this year's crop of quarterback talent doesn't stretch very deep.

"Just like anybody else you when you hear one thing about that maybe it's not a very deep class or whatever, but there are always guys that you'll get excited about whether it's the end of the draft or the beginning of the draft," said Ryan.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had a more direct take on the quarterback talent in the draft class.

"It's going to be very thin at quarterback. I don't think it's a great quarterback class," said Mayock. "I also think the NFL is going to have to start getting used to evaluating these spread quarterbacks. It's really hard. When you watch them within the framework of their offense, they've got a long way to go to become pocket quarterbacks. They don't throw with anticipation."

The Bills seem prepared to add quarterbacks to their roster by any means available to them whether it's free agency, the draft or trade. When their work is done however, Ryan made it clear that they'd like one of those additions to be an experienced player to pair with EJ Manuel, who has 14 career NFL starts.

"I think in an ideal world you'd add a veteran player," Ryan told "I don't think there's any doubt about it. With that said I'm also excited about EJ Manuel and how he ends up developing and it's a fresh start for everybody regardless of who you bring in. So I'll be excited to see EJ."

What has Ryan so eager to see Manuel perform on the field during offseason workouts this spring is the cast of offensive assistants he'll be working with. The level of experience three of his offensive assistants have with young signal callers is lengthy.

"I'll be excited to see how he is around Greg Roman and David Lee and Chris Palmer," said Ryan of Manuel. "All three of those guys have a track record of developing quarterbacks and I'll be excited to watch EJ develop in those circumstances. One thing I know about EJ is he's got a great work ethic and I think that's key when you're trying to reach your potential."

For now the focus is on adding to the quarterback position and with free agency up next the first addition could be a more experienced player.

"I think in an ideal world you'd have a veteran quarterback with a young quarterback," said Ryan. "I don't think there's any doubt about that, whether it's a young guy starting with a veteran backup or vice versa. We'll see how it shakes out."

* Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.  Visit your local NAPA Auto Parts store for NAPA Know How and all your car care needs. *

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