Hamilton: The Bills' McDermott should end the quarterback competition now

For now, Nathan Peterman would be my winner

Paul Hamilton
August 26, 2018 - 8:51 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - In my mind, Sean McDermott and his offensive staff need to head right to their bunker and decide tonight who their starting quarterback is. All three quarterbacks got a chance to start and work with the first team in the preseason and only one of them performed.

Nathan Peterman started Week 1 against Carolina and went 9-of-10 for 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

AJ McCarron started in Cleveland and had no time to throw and went three-and-out in all four drives he had.

Josh Allen got a chance with the first team offense against the Browns and led Buffalo on a 15 play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Allen went 5-of-7 for 36 yards with a two-yard TD to Rod Streater.

Allen started Sunday’s game against a good Cincinnati front line and he only went 6-of-12 for 34 yards. Allen had one good deep ball that was dropped by Kelvin Benjamin, but he was sacked five times and hurried almost every time he went back to pass. Not all the sacks were on the offensive line as there were times Allen was indecisive and held the ball too long. "I didn't do a good enough job getting the ball out on time and getting it to my playmakers. Holding onto the ball is not going to be too great, most of the time."

Charles Clay didn’t help as he dropped Allen’s first pass of the game.

Allen got loose a couple of times, but couldn’t help his own cause. He was running to his right and underthrew an open Clay. On the next play, he eluded the rush to his left and would’ve had a first down, but overthrew Jeremy Kerley.

Allen was forced to leave early when he was hit as he threw the ball. He grabbed his head as he was on the ground and the NFL spotter made him leave the game. Allen came out from halftime and was cleared to play, but didn’t.

Nathan Peterman faced the Bengals' second-team defense, but give him credit, he did very well. He led Buffalo on two touchdown drives and threw for 200 yards in just over one half of work. Peterman was 16-of-21 and had a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jason Croom. It capped a 10 play, 79-yard drive.

I’m not saying that Allen should never play this season, but if you take the overall work of the three quarterbacks, to me Peterman wins the race. Peterman is much more decisive than Allen is at this point of his development.

One of my colleagues who has played the game and studies the game said at this point, Peterman has a plan for the football on each play to go with a quick trigger. On the other side of the coin, Allen has the ability to make plays that Peterman can only dream about. Allen can get the ball on an out route to the sideline with plenty of velocity, Peterman and McCarron can’t.

I think Allen is more elusive, but Peterman was able to escape the rush when he had to. He suffered just one sack against the Bengals' second-, third- and fourth-team.

No matter who starts, the Bills have a huge problem at guard. John Miller lost his job last season and he may lose it this year before the first game. He and Marshall Newhouse had three penalties each. The team had 13 penalties for 125 yards.

Left guard Vlad Ducasse spent the whole game being pushed back into Allen’s lap. Ducasse has been run over pretty much the whole preseason. McDermott is scrambling to try to find an answer. After the first series, Ryan Groy went from center to replace Ducasse and Russell Bodine went in at center. On the next series, Ducasse went back in and Groy moved to right guard for Miller. After the game, McDermott said that was the plan all along and it was not performance related. There are no other guards on the roster they can use, so a trade or the waiver wire is going to be the only way to improve this. To be fair, they do not game plan in the preseason, so it is possible that the line can improve with the right game plan.

In three games, Peterman is 33-of-41 for 431 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. In Allen’s three games he’s 24-of-44 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In two games, McCarron is 10-of-16 for 128 yards with no TDs and no picks. After Sunday’s game McDermott said, “Nathan Peterman has shown consistency throughout the preseason. I’ve watched him develop and grow which is encouraging to see.”

When you throw everything together, I would be pushing for Peterman if I was in McDermott’s meeting room. Again, that doesn’t mean it has to be that way all season, it just means he’d be my starter in Baltimore. To me, the quarterback competition is over.

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