Josh Allen may not be ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but Nathan Peterman’s ineptitude means the Bills have to give him the job anyway.
The Bills drafted Josh Allen with every intention of letting him learn on the bench during his rookie season. After all, the jump from Wyoming to the NFL is pretty large. Letting him settle into NFL life slowly was a great plan.
Unfortunately, the best laid plans are often ruined. That’s just what’s happened to Buffalo. First, A.J. McCarron failed to win the starting job out of camp. As a result, the team dealt him to Oakland and handed Nathan Peterman the keys to the offense. To put it mildly, that didn’t go very well.
Peterman looked completely out of his depth in his Week 1 start against the Ravens. Going 5-for-18 for 24 yards passing and two interceptions is bad enough to get most signal callers cut. Peterman might escape that fate, but there’s no logical reason he should start for the Bills this week unless they’re trying to tank the 2018 season.
That leaves Allen as the winner of this quarterback derby by default. Make no mistake about it, he doesn’t project to be a good NFL starter this season either. However, the offense at least looked somewhat competent after he came on against Baltimore. Going 6-for-15 for 74 yards in garbage time shouldn’t convince anyone in Buffalo they’re headed to a Super Bowl this season, but it was worlds better than what Peterman provided.
Amazingly, Sean McDermott hasn’t committed to starting Allen this week. He claims he wants to closely evaluate the tape from Week 1 before making that decision. That’s complete and utter nonsense. Anyone with a modicum of NFL experience can tell that Peterman’s chances of looking like a player moving forward are virtually non-existent.
Presumably, McDermott is thinking about sticking with Peterman for at least another week to protect Allen. Again, that’s an idea that sounds great in theory. Unfortunately, it’s exceedingly flawed in practice.
If McDermott trots Peterman out there for another game it’s going to send a terrible message to the rest of his locker room. It will tell everyone that the 2018 season is a farce and the Bills have no desire to be a competitive team at the moment. There’s no other reasonable conclusion players could draw. Starting a quarterback as bad as Peterman makes the efforts of the rest of the offense completely irrelevant. No one has a chance to make plays with him under center.
Putting Allen into the lineup will send a clear signal that the Bills are rebuilding, but he can at least give the franchise some hope during this dark season. He has enough talent to make an occasional big play. That should be enough to keep the rest of the team engaged.
In the end, McDermott understands the Bills are going nowhere this season. No matter who they start at quarterback, they’re going to be armed with a high draft pick next April. He still can’t put the season from the development standpoint. If McDermott wants his team to keep working hard and try to improve as the season goes along, he has to give them a reason to believe. Allen is that reason.