The Buffalo Bills are working with three apparently undesirable quarterbacks, who joined the team over the last 18 months. Much like an online shopper who ordered shoes in three different sizes but still didn’t get their size, the Bills probably don’t feel ready for the big event.
Nathan Peterman is taking snaps with the first team. In other words, if the season started today, Peterman (who threw five interceptions in his first NFL start) would be the Bills’ signal-caller.
But the season doesn’t start today. That would be reassuring for most other teams. The New York Jets, for example, are on the verge of handing their offense over to Sam Darnold, who went No. 3 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Is Darnold ready to start tomorrow? Hell no. But at least the Jets think they can get him ready over the next five weeks.
The Bills, meanwhile, seem to have a disaster brewing.
This offseason, they signed AJ McCarron and drafted Josh Allen, the seventh-overall selection in 2018. Allen was pegged as the type of draft prospect who needed time to develop, largely due to his accuracy issues (probably a product of the nuclear missile launcher that hangs from his right shoulder). Because Allen didn’t figure to be a Day 1 starter, the Bills added McCarron, a veteran who supposedly had been dying to get out from under the wing of Andy Dalton. That, in itself, should have been a red flag. If McCarron couldn’t win the job from Dalton, then why would the Bills think McCarron would be ready to win a quarterback competition in Buffalo?
So Allen won’t be ready for Week 1, and is currently buried as the third-team quarterback. McCarron, for whatever reason, lost his spot atop the depth chart to Peterman. And by now, you’re probably wondering, who the heck is Nathan Peterman? He’s a 2017 fifth-round pick. He has two touchdowns and five interceptions in the NFL. He has completed 49 percent of his passes with a 38.4 quarterback rating. He is, by no measure, a starting-caliber quarterback. Yet by default, he’s the favorite to start in Buffalo.
The outlook is even more grim when put in the context of the Bills offense. LeSean McCoy may face a suspension for his involvement in the assault of a former girlfriend. Without McCoy, the unlucky winner of the Bills’ quarterback battle will have to share the backfield with Chris Ivory, a solid running back who has spent most of his career as a backup. That quarterback’s options at receiver include Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Jeremy Kerley and Corey Coleman. Charles Clay, the oft-injured but talented tight end, is also in the mix.
It’s a bad sign that the quarterback group seems to be comprised of players too unprepared or untalented to win the competition. It’s even worse that the winner will have to lead a group of JV skill players.
Nobody wins, especially not the winner of the positional battle.