Buffalo Bills: Starting Nathan Peterman is the right move
On Monday morning Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott named Nathan Peterman the starting quarterback to begin the 2018 season. The Bills open on the road in Baltimore.
The Buffalo Bills opened training camp and the preseason with a three-man quarterback competition.
After the trade of AJ McCarron to the Oakland Raiders on Saturday the competition was down to Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen. Sean McDermott put an end to the competition when the team announced Peterman as the starter early Monday morning.
Peterman was superb during the preseason finishing 33 for 41 (81 percent completion percentage) for 431 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The interception that Peterman did throw came in his time with the first-team offense in the Bills first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. However, the pass deflected off of running back Chris Ivory and was then intercepted.
While not a perfect pass, one could certainly argue that Ivory should have made the catch. Simply put, Peterman played nearly flawless football this preseason and earned the starting job and deserves to start Week 1 in Baltimore.
Many fans and national media analysts are way too quick to make Peterman into a punchline due to his horrific start in Los Angeles last year. No player should have their career defined by one bad performance, let alone a rookie fifth-round pick starting a road game against one of the top defenses in the NFL.
People seem to forget that Peterman was playing very well in the snow game against the Indianapolis Colts before being knocked out of the game with a concussion. Without Peterman’s touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin right before halftime in that game the Bills would have missed the playoffs.
However, unless Nathan Peterman absolutely lights the NFL world on fire he is clearly only a placeholder for Josh Allen until the Bills determine that he is ready for the job. While no one knows when that my be, odds are that Allen will be in sooner rather than later unless Peterman impresses and the Bills get off to a fast start. That being said, it was the right move to start Peterman now.
The Bills invested quite a bit in Allen to be the team’s franchise quarterback and they were not about to rush him into the fire when he was not ready. Setting Allen up to fail would be a terrible idea.
While you can say that it can be beneficial to a young quarterback to learn on the job, it can also ruin him. The Bills were not willing to take the chance that Josh Allen could be ruined. They are playing it safe with him and considering what is at stake with him, you simply cannot blame them.
It would be hard to ignore how poor the Bills offensive line has played this preseason. They nearly got Allen killed in his start in the third preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals when he was sacked five times in just under a half of action. Taking a beating like that on a regular basis would be horrible for Allen’s development let alone his health.
In 2002, Houston Texans rookie quarterback David Carr was sacked an NFL record 76 times in 16 starts. Carr never turned into a quality starting quarterback and was basically ruined by getting his head pounded in due to the Texans horrendous offensive line.
While we never know if Carr would have turned into a good starting quarterback if he had been allowed to develop instead of being turned into a tackling dummy, it was certainly not the type of start to a career you want your young potential franchise quarterback to experience. If the Bills named Josh Allen the starter he could very well fall victim to this same experience due to the poor quality of the Bills line.
Additionally, the Bills have always said that they will play the quarterback that they deem will give the team the best chance to win games. Right now they have determined that to be Nathan Peterman.
The number one reason why is because of how quickly Peterman processes the game and gets rid of the football. Behind what may be a porous offensive line, that is a necessity right now. The processing time difference between Allen and Peterman was clearly evident in the third preseason game against Cincinnati. After Allen exited the game Peterman came in and delivered quick strike passes.
Allen, while certainly under siege, simply processes the game at a notch or two lower than Peterman at this point in his career. He will get better, but he should not have to get better while getting his head beaten in behind the Bills terrible offensive line.
While many analysts will want to laugh at the Bills and many fans will likely be impatient and want to see Allen right away, it is the right move to start Peterman right now. Let Allen develop without having his soul crushed due to the offensive line.
Let Peterman play and see if he gets hot and helps the Bills win a few games. Give the offensive line a few weeks to see if they are bad as they look or if they actually gel and get better. Simply put, let Peterman start now but fret not because Josh Allen’s time will come soon enough.
Trust the process.