Team Controversy Makes Quarterback Tricky Choice for Buffalo Bills

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Is Josh Allen ready? Are we?  The Buffalo Bills knew they’d be trading exhilaration in exchange for incomplete swing passes when they drafted him.  Now, they just have to figure out how soon to go crazy.  A worrying team performance during a pretend game makes it tough to determine whether they’re prepared to encourage precociousness.  This would all be much easier if everyone played smoothly.

Everything works out well until stuff happens.  Cincinnati doesn’t have to worry about downplaying an exhibition, as they were the only team to play well.  Fans went from looking forward to the fabled third preseason game to claiming that it’s just the least meaningless game.  The ensuing rationalization is reminiscent of urging a franchise to avoid drafting a certain polarizing quarterback then dreaming of him thriving after management defied the wish.

At best, Sunday’s quasi-game wasn’t a fair audition for quarterbacks on account of an offensive line that was a revolving door in more ways than one.  This is the time of year for maintaining that Dion Dawkins, LeSean McCoy, and scheming are the difference between getting shredded like soaked paper towels and finally challenging the Patriots.

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Allen has become like Tiger Woods, who gets attention when he’s leading and also when someone else is.  The discussion focuses on the team’s most prominent new player whether he’s starting or not.  Buffalo’s latest applicant for savior hasn’t had a chance to win majors yet.  When should he get his first chance?  While we’re asking the tough questions, does existence have meaning?

Fans may be starved for drama.  But take comfort in the staff’s quest to be rationally boring.  We await a declaration of coaching philosophy.  Does the fortune invested get maximized or squandered if Allen starts instantly?  Claiming which approach is correct will tell us what the club’s leaders think.  The only certainty is that the right answer is impossible to know.  Sports are fun like that.

The chance for Allen to make daring throws depends itself on risk.  Nathan Peterman’s quiet efficiency during faux games makes him seem like a stable veteran.  He has been around for a whole year.  As for the competing notion, Sean McDermott gets paid that much to figure when he should unleash Sheriff Cannon on the frontier.  When it comes to AJ McCarron, he seems really nice and had a tremendous college career.

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Going with Allen would mean indulging in passion over technical proficiency.  The wild man throws like Pete Townshend timing a power chord. Ensuing feedback beats listening to endless measures of classical noodling even if it matches the sheet music.  Now, would he have to swing his guitar at defenses rushing his stage?

No quarterback can succeed on his own.  Even Batman joined the Hall of Justice after realizing that being a brooding loner didn’t stop enough crime.  The collective underwhelming performance Sunday leads to wondering who’s least likely to be murdered if the offensive line buckles.  Are any of these quarterbacks skilled at running for their lives?  One of them will be lucky enough to receive the opportunity to dash like it’s Pamplona in July.  Based on early showings, beef’s going to be uncomfortably close.

I hope Allen wins the job just so he can create evidence.  There have been volumes of words written about someone who’s presently at game zero.  Only this sport could feature such polarization without a single real pro pass.  The debate is reminiscent of the one held before Johnny Manziel’s drafting, only about performance and not attitude paired with patronizing taverns.

Games offer good practice.  Allen could learn by doing instead of attempting to improve by watching others give it a try.  To be fair, the last rookie quarterback given the chance to start immediately was EJ Manuel.  But he featured a low ceiling, like that half-floor in Being John Malkovich. Allen could bottom out but also reach far greater heights.

Photo of QB Josh Allen from

Allen will undoubtedly struggle at times no matter when his first game occurs.  I’m sorry to be such a downer, but I was born over three seconds ago.  He’s not just young but also as raw as the New York Dolls.  A lack of rehearsal is only charming in certain contexts.

The only way to get better is by playing poorly.  Improvement follows from mistakes committed either by himself or those around him.  So, screw up for the opportunity to not do it again.  We’re already bracing for tough games in true Buffalo fashion.  Dream of the wildest best-case scenario in the midst of woe to truly feel like a local.

Life is a perpetual rehearsal.  Football is reminiscent of everything else if you want an excuse to watch three consecutive Sunday games.  The cruel schedule doesn’t care about development stages.  Nobody can wait for perfect circumstances to occur, as you’ll end up postponing a career until retirement.

Allen could learn enough while also trying to win games.  But the only thing he might develop is a twitch from being sacked two steps into his drop.  The collective talent at the other offensive positions might not be conducive to letting any quarterback thrive.  Exposing Allen to danger would force him to improvise.  Or, he’ll get too rattled to ever learn.  If decisions about how to proceed provoke anxiety, note that those actually making them could lose work over it.  A fake game is sure making real life tough.

Editor’s babble: It’s Wednesday and I’m still doing deep breathing exercises after watching the Bills/Bengals mess-fest. Decided to run with the “McDermott obfuscated the game by purposely running a line changing drill” in the middle of what was supposed to be Josh Allen’s starting debut. That will only take me so far, but I’m running with that mantra for now. Thanks to Anthony Bialy for always being gentle when the earth-shaking THUD of reality descends upon us. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

16 Replies to “Team Controversy Makes Quarterback Tricky Choice for Buffalo Bills”

  1. Pingback: 716sports

  2. I would like Allen to start immediately…the sooner they figure out he’s not the guy, the sooner they can move on. (Any chance they can figure that out THIS year and use their top 5 pick next year to draft a real franchise QB?) That said, if this organization wants their players to take them seriously with their whole ‘earn it’ BS they spout (ironic, coming from a guy that was handed all the organizational power without ever having earned it himself,) I don’t see how they can do anything other than start Peterman who unquestionably had the best preseason performance.

    • There you go Joma “As soon as they figure out he is not the guy the sooner they can move on”.. Yea they should just give on him and draft another QB next year…It is not going to happen, Josh is the next franchise QB and the Bills can start drafting some horses along both lines…

      The Bills will be under the cap $75 to $100 million in 2019 so they have money for some top flight free agents…

      • “Josh is the next franchise QB”

        As you would say…it’s not going to happen. They’ll drag it out. But it’ll be a waste of time. But the Bills are good at that. Probably the best in the league.

        • You’re still upset that they didn’t draft Rosen the guy you liked…. Only time will tell which one ends up the better QB..

  3. would you drive your shiny new sports car in constant hail storms just to break in the engine? hail no!
    play the guy that gives the team the best chance to win. based on his quick release that guy appears to be nate peterman.
    we are doomed

  4. Re: Starting Josh Allen, I remember a Dallas Cowboy team in 1989 with a new owner, a new coach, and their #1 quarterback pick named Troy Aikman..
    Besides all the drama surrounding a brash, novice owner and a rookie coach with no NFL experience, the Cowboys made the headlines by drafting UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman with the first pick in the NFL Draft. As insurance they also drafted quarterback Steve Walsh in the NFL’s supplemental draft that made them give up a number one pick in the 1990 draft. Walsh had played quarterback for Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami and led the ‘Canes to a 23–1 record as a starter and one national title, so he was hoped-for insurance for Aikman.

    In the pre-season Walsh and Aikman battled for the starting quarterback job and Aikman got the nod when the regular season began. On opening day, the Cowboys were beaten by the New Orleans Saints, 28–0, and went on to finish 1–15 for the season. Aikman broke the index finger on his non-throwing hand in week four and Steve Walsh started the next 5 games (including the team’s only win) before Aikman returned to finish the season. That year they finished 1-15 with a lone win over their hated rival, the Redskins. 1989 was the first season in the history of Monday Night Football that did not feature at least one Cowboys game.

    What seemed a complete failure proved to be the prelude to many great years ahead and two Super Bowl wins over the Bills. Like the Bills, Johnson and Jones would trade away what were at that time seen as proven NFL players like Hershel Walker and with one of the draft choices received from the Vikings they would go on to draft a running back out of Florida named Emmitt Smith.
    The Cowboys’ famine in finishing 1-15 would go one to create a feast for their fans and agony for Bills fans. Let’s hope that some of the “questionable” moves made by our Bills will produce similar results. Until then, lighten up, fans.

  5. Peterman has been the best QB of the bunch, so in my mind, Peterman should be the starter for 2018. Another measuring stick, was how Peterman did against the Carolina starting D and how Allen did against the Bengals starting D. Last season, Tyrod did not score a TD against Carolina’s D and was not good against the Bengals D either. Peterman led the Bills offense on an opening drive TD and had one incompletion against the Carolina D in the first preseason game this year. Against the Bengals, Allen and the O-line were not ready. IMO, if the Bills want to truly develop Allen the right way, he needs to sit for a year and learn, then be given a chance to earn to be the starting QB next season.

    As for the last preseason game against the Bears, I think Allen should start and play the whole game. Allen needs all the experience he can get.

  6. “then be given a chance to earn to be the starting QB next season.”

    I disagree there…assuming Peterman isn’t playing great and the team is in playoff contention, I absolutely think they should get Allen in the lineup this year at some point. If Peterman isn’t performing, I’d make the move sooner than later. If he IS performing, but the team sucks despite the fact, then you make the move once the team is realistically out of contention. In either scenario, he still got the chance he ‘earned’ and you can save face with the rest of the team before going the youth movement route.

  7. Peterman may be the best option to start the season, but I think once teams have game tape to study his tendencies, they will be jumping on his passes and reducing his effectiveness. Allen will probably be given the starting job by week 6.

  8. We all know Josh is going to play at some point this year either because of injury to the other QB’s, a switch into the game or the Bills are out of contention and might as well play him.

    Peterman has done a very good job and deserves the opportunity to start, with Josh as the back-up and AJ the emergency QB on the sideline…

    I definitely would find a role for RB #45 Murphy as he has out played Ivory!


  9. There you go Joma “As soon as they figure out he is not the guy the sooner they can move on”.. Yea they should just give on him and draft another QB next year…It is not going to happen, Josh is the next franchise QB and the Bills can start drafting some horses along both lines…

    The Bills will be under the cap $75 to $100 million in 2019 so they have money for some top flight free agents…

  10. R E L A X mafia peeps…….geez louise please just listen to the Goose man and enjoy the season!

  11. ” I think once teams have game tape to study his tendencies, they will be jumping on his passes and reducing his effectiveness.”

    I would agree, Greg. Game tape, and just game planning in general. Peterman has been about as good as you could ask a guy to be in the preseason…but I don’t think the guy has figured it all out and he’s a legit QB now. Once teams start actually preparing for him, I suspect he’ll look a lot more like the mediocre at best player most expect him to be.