Countdown to Bills Camp: Quarterbacks

July 26, 2018
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Derek Kramer
@DerekKramerWGR


Practices for Buffalo Bills training camp get started on Thursday from St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York.

Our countdown to Bills camp ends with practice beginning on Thursday. Here's the rest of the series: 

Next up: 


QUARTERBACK

Who's the quarterback though? A question that has been asked quite often since the retirement of Jim Kelly, this is one of those seasons where that answer is so unknown that fans and analysts are bracing for potentially one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

Tyrod Taylor has been the Bills starter over the past three seasons, manning a passing game that has averaged out to be the 30th ranked passing attack in terms of yards, and had the least amount of passing attempts over the past three seasons. Last year, Taylor seemed far more willing to make tough passes, but Taylor also had a touchdown-to-interception second only to Tom Brady. However, the front office decided to move on in an attempt to shake up the passing game. 

The lone holdover from last year is Nathan Peterman, who is, unfortunately, best known for his five interception performance in an embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last year. Peterman will be part of a three-headed competition for the starting quarterback job to begin 2018. 


NOTABLE DEPARTURES: 

Taylor is gone. With him goes an offense that was below average in the passing game, but Taylor at least became a known commodity in the NFL as a capable starting quarterback who could take care of the football and, at least, allow a team with a good defense to help collect wins. Taylor, for all of his flaws, still led the Bills to the playoffs and broke the drought. But can the Bills do better? They seem to think so... 


NOTABLE ADDITIONS: 

Taylor is out and A.J. McCarron joined the team in free agency as a placeholder for whatever rookie they'd wind up with. McCarron has started four games (one in the playoffs) for the Cincinnati Bengals as a backup to Andy Dalton. 

In the draft, the Bills traded up twice in order to draft Josh Allen from Wyoming. Allen is seen as a polarizing figure from the draft class, a player whose production in college was not close to what a first rounder has, but teams fell in love with his measurables and strong arm. 


WHAT TO EXPECT: 

Who. Knows.

The Bills have three players vying for the starting gig in McCarron, Peterman and Allen. McCarron is seen as the favorite, if only due to being the fifth year pro in the league. Peterman is often dismissed entirely by the national media as someone capable of winning the job, but the Bills coaching staff does have a soft spot for the second-year player. As for Allen, many scouting reports leading to the draft saw him as a player who could be best served by sitting out to learn more as a passer. However, Allen's raw talent is, by far, the most superior of the group and if he flashes enough, he could overtake players like McCarron and Peterman. McCarron and Peterman will open camp rotating in between the first and second teams, with Allen mostly with the third team. 

The Bills would ideally like to have their starter in place by the third preseason game, but if McCarron and Peterman have a compelling camp battle, or if Allen blows the doors off, we may not know until after that third, or even fourth game of the preseason. 

I think Allen is best served sitting out and waiting his turn. He should maximize his reps in preseason, including possibly the whole fourth preseason game. I suspect it will be Peterman who takes the job over McCarron. Peterman is still loved by this coaching staff and McCarron isn't far and away a better player in the league, as he is just as unknown as Peterman is. Call it a hunch based on nothing else, but that is why I sense Peterman trots out as the starter for the Bills in Week 1 for the 2018 season.