With A.J. McCarron’s injury, the Bills may have no choice but to start Josh Allen in Week 1.
The quarterback competition in Buffalo was one of the more intriguing storylines of the 2018 preseason, but after Friday night’s game between the Bills and the Cleveland Browns, it took a significant turn.
Free agent signing A.J. McCarron, who was fighting for his first opportunity to start in the NFL after backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati for four years, suffered a hairline collarbone fracture in the first quarter. That brings the battle for the No. 1 spot down to last year’s backup Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen.
Allen was chosen with the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft and is expected to be the Bills’ quarterback for many years to come. However, it was unlikely that he would get put into action in 2018. It’s always a good idea to preserve rookie quarterbacks for at least a year, and considering Peterman’s struggles last season, the most likely outcome was that McCarron would end up with the job.
But now the starting job might be there for Allen to take. He might very well be ready to take the reins, as he’s been impressive in training camp and Buffalo’s two preseason games thus far. Against the Browns, he completed 9 of 13 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. The week before against Carolina, he threw for 116 yards and another touchdown.
The Bills may at last have their guy, but throwing rookie quarterbacks into the fire right away has had disastrous results in the past. It’s best to give them a year as a backup; just giving them a little action here and there so they can adjust to the NFL game without becoming overwhelmed. Plus, it makes them even hungrier to get their opportunity.
But barring a complete turnaround by Peterman, the Bills might not have a choice but to start Allen in Week 1 if they want a chance to be competitive this season.