McDermott: Peterman 'has certainly earned the right' to be the starting quarterback

The Bills head coach addressed the media Monday prior to practice

Sal Capaccio
September 03, 2018 - 1:08 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - The quarterback competition is over, and Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters Monday that second-year signal-caller Nathan Peterman “earned the right” to be the team’s starter under center when they open the season Sunday at the Baltimore Ravens.

“I thought his total body of work all the way back from the spring through the summer and fall camp to this point, he has certainly earned the right,” McDermott said before the team headed out to the practice field.

Peterman was declared the starter earlier in the day after going through a three-way competition with rookie Josh Allen and free agent signee A.J. McCarron, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders on Saturday in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice.

“It’s always a tough decision,” McDermott told reporters. “And that’s a good thing, because those guys were competing at a high level.”

The trade of McCarron, coupled with the Bills not adding another quarterback over the weekend, leaves the team with only two signal-callers for the time being. McDermott said that in addition to Allen being the No. 2 quarterback, he will also run the team’s scout-team offense during the week against the team's starting defense. He also mentioned Logan Thomas as a potential emergency quarterback if the need arises. Thomas played quarterback at Virginia Tech and briefly in the NFL before converting to tight end.

Peterman started his first NFL game last November when McDermott played him in favor of regular starter Tyrod Taylor against the Los Angeles Chargers. He threw five interceptions in the first half that Sunday afternoon and was pulled at halftime. Three weeks later, the rookie started the, now-famous, “snow game” in Orchard Park against the Indianapolis Colts, throwing the team’s only touchdown pass, but suffered a concussion and left the game early. The Bills won in overtime with Joe Webb finishing as the quarterback in Peterman’s spot. Then in the AFC Wild Card game in Jacksonville, Peterman relieved an injured Taylor on the final series of the game and ultimately threw an interception to Jaguars’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Throughout this offseason, McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane continued to praise Peterman’s resiliency and confidence after all that happened in 2017. The head coach did so again on Monday.

“I believe he’s a resilient young man,” McDermott said. “He’s certainly come through some times of adversity throughout his career. Look, he’s still a young player. I’ve been impressed with his mental toughness, his command of the offense, the way he’s generated yards and points in the preseason, as well, and the way he’s developed to this point.”

This preseason, Peterman was clearly the team’s most efficient quarterback, completing 33-of-41 passes for an impressive 80.5-percent. He threw for 431 yards, three touchdowns, and had one interception. He also led all three quarterbacks with 10.5 yards per-pass attempt.

The head coach is comfortable with two quarterbacks on the roster, who only have a total of one year of NFL experience.

“There’s no substitute for experience,” he said. “That said, we’ve got two young quarterbacks that we believe in and they’re going to continue to grow. There’s going to be learning along the way, and some good moments, hopefully, and there’s going be some growing pains, as well, and we understand that.”


There were two other unsettled starting spots heading into the final preseason contest last week in Chicago. McDermott said Monday that Ryan Groy will be the starting center, with Russell Bodine as his backup, but that they are still “working through” the competition at cornerback opposite Tre’Davious White between Vontae Davis and Phillip Gaines.


Only wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III and linebacker Julian Stanford did not practice Monday. Defensive end Trent Murphy and defensive tackle Kyle Williams were both going through individual position drills with the rest of their teammates during the portion of practice the media was allowed to watch. We will get official injury / practice participation designations for any players on Wednesday.


After final cuts were made, some players changed their jersey numbers, and the two players the team claimed were added to the roster. Here’s the list of new numbers:

10 - Jeremy Kerley
14 - Ray-Ray McCloud III
16 - Robert Foster
 9  - Corey Bojorquez
38 - Ryan Lewis


The Bills practiced outside on a beautiful and hot day at their practice facility at One Bills Drive.


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