Who's the quarterback, though?

It's time to fire up the WHOSDAQ

Howard Simon
June 05, 2018 - 3:44 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Is it time for the Buffalo Bills to go to training camp yet?

Despite the fact we have gone into numerous Bills training camps the last 20 years wondering who will be the starting quarterback and whether or not the quarterback of the future is on the roster, this camp will certainly be different. The Bills have never drafted a quarterback as high as Josh Allen, who they traded up to select with the seventh overall pick. That in itself will create a buzz at camp. All eyes of fans, media and Bills brain trust will be on the rookie from the University of Wyoming. 

I’m especially interested in seeing how the Bills handle the quarterback competition at camp and during the preseason. I would give all three guys time with the ones at camp as well as during pre-season games since that would be the definition of an open competition. But the Bills are also trying to prepare for the season and not take a step back from the drought ending 2017 campaign. How deep into the preseason will the Bills want to take the starting quarterback decision? With a new offensive coordinator, at least two new starters on the offensive line and possible new wide receiver targets among the top four, the Bills might want to identify the No. 1 quarterback sooner rather than later so the starters can build some kind of chemistry and cohesion as a unit.

This got me thinking about the Seattle Seahawks back in 2012. It isn’t exactly the same as the Bills situation, but there are some similarities. The Seahawks had signed a quarterback in free agency in March of that year. Albeit, Matt Flynn signed for more (three-years, $26 million) than what A.J. McCarron got from the Bills, but Flynn was a guy who had been in the NFL for four years as an understudy in Green Bay, where he made just two starts. Seattle also took a quarterback in the draft, although Russell Wilson was grabbed in Round 3 as opposed to where the Bills got Allen. The third guy in the mix was former Bills quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Nathan Peterman plays his role as the guy with the third best odds of winning the job.

Flynn, Wilson and Jackson all received equal reps in the OTAs and the minicamp, and it was a three-way competition going into training camp. Flynn ended up starting the first two pre-season games and Wilson got the third. Wilson was named the starter for Week 1 after that third preseason game.

If I were a betting man, and I might soon be one legally in our state, I would put my money on McCarron winning the job. I think the Bills will proceed very slowly with Josh Allen, and they are in a position to do so. There’s no pressure on Brandon Beane or Sean McDermott to win now and play Allen before he might be ready. Let him learn the offense, get comfortable with his NFL surroundings and develop. If he is lights out this summer and wins the job, that would be great. It's not like he has to be the starter Week 1 in Baltimore or the pick is considered a failure.  

Let me get back to the reps/competition and how this might play out. I don’t like to read too much into reps at OTAs, but through two open to the media sessions, Allen has only been working with the threes. I wonder if Allen gets time with the ones off the bat at St. John Fisher, or would he have to impress the coaches and gradually move his way up the depth chart before having that chance? 

Perhaps the Bills will use the ongoing OTAs and upcoming mandatory minicamp like a primary and narrow the field from three to two going into training camp since there are only so many reps with the ones to go around.

I haven’t figured out my exact plan for the WHOSDAQ and I do so look forward to daily updates and stock settings from Sal Capaccio at training camp, but right now, I’d use a majority of my shares on McCarron, probably around 70-percent. I’m thinking around 20-percent on Josh Allen and 10-percent on Nathan Peterman.

This should be fun. I can’t wait for training camp.

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