CAPACCIO: Allen already a factor in the quarterback race

The Bills' rookie quarterback had his best day on Saturday

Sal Capaccio
July 28, 2018 - 5:51 pm

Photo: Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was not only Josh Allen’s best day of training camp so far, but he was arguably the best quarterback on the field for the Bills.

Once again for the second day in a row, the rookie got plenty of snaps with the first team offense against the starting defense.

Taking all of that in and looking at the big picture, it’s clear Allen is a legitimate option to become the team’s starter Week 1 at the Baltimore Ravens. Of course there is still a long way to go and he hasn’t been perfect by any means, but to anyone watching practice, from fans in the stands to local or national media on the sidelines, there’s no doubting who the most naturally gifted quarterback is on the field every day.

For Allen to be taking reps with the first team already is somewhat surprising given that he was exclusively with the third string offense throughout OTAs and mostly through minicamp, except for a couple of series' later that week. Also, head coach Sean McDermott gave indications that’s how it would be to start training camp.

That was how it started, and it lasted one day.

Now, here we are with Allen rotating in with the first unit, along with both A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman. McDermott said before practice Saturday that would continue and it will remain a healthy rotation amongst the three working in with the starters.

Of the five rookie quarterbacks drafted in this year‘s first round, Allen is the only one walking into a situation without a clear starter in front of him. He has a better opportunity than the other four, and neither of the two signal-callers he’s battling with have “wowed” anyone over the first three days.

McCarron has probably been the most consistent and steadiest of the group, while Peterman’s deficiencies have begun to show up a little more often in the 11-on-11 team sessions. There is definitely a noticeable difference in the velocity on his ball when he sets up and throws with a firm base, and that includes throws outside the numbers. But when he has to start moving his feet and throw without stepping into it, too often the ball doesn’t get there quick enough and allows defensive backs to make a play on it.

There is one more practice Sunday morning before the team gets their first full day off from any on-field work. Josh Allen could very well regress and his noted inaccuracies could show up all over the place. However, if he has another practice like he did Saturday, then strings together a few more, it’s going to be very difficult for this coaching staff to think about keeping him off the field in the season-opener.

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