By Chris Losey
Whether it’s Kemp and Lamonica, Flutie and Johnson, or Edwards and Losman, the Buffalo Bills have always seemed to be prone to the dreaded quarterback controversy.
When the Bills fell to the Ravens in the third preseason tuneup of 2017, it became evident that Buffalo will soon be embroiled in yet another controversy under center.
The new edition features incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor, who has looked uncomfortable in the new offense since camp started, and rookie Nathan Peterman, whose poise and pocket presence have impressed many in this young season.
Taylor followed up his atrocious showing last week in Philadelphia with another disappointing performance, looking lost and out of sync with his receivers.
He looked harassed in the pocket, and in the first quarter, he rolled into a sack, resulting in a possible concussion.
While he entered the concussion protocol, Peterman got his first taste of NFL action in the first team offense, having played only with the second and third teams to that point.
Peterman immediately looked like he had command of the offense, and made some nice throws in tight windows.
He tossed a few third down conversions that were nullified by illegal formation penalties by Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills in the second quarter, so his stat line appeared to be worse than it could have been.
Peterman finished the night with 93 yards and completed 11 of 23 passes.
While hardly impressive, he developed a nice rapport with rookie receiver Zay Jones and tight end Charles Clay, who finished the night with 47 yards on four receptions.
Peterman did have problems with batted down passes at the line of scrimmage, which is worrisome because he is only 6’2.
He’ll never be an elite talent, but he has skills that a lot of pro quarterbacks need, like poise, pocket presence, and leadership.
Peterman most likely isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback, and the Bills still should draft a potential franchise guy in next April’s first round.
Still, he possesses the intangibles.
As former Ravens head coach Brian Billick puts it, the intangibles are a coaching euphemism for not knowing what they are looking for, they just know it when they see it.
Even without Taylor’s injury, Peterman has shown he should at least be in consideration to start week one of the regular season against the New York Jets.
The Bills coaching staff could easily give Peterman the start, as he looks much more natural and comfortable in Rick Dennison’s offense than Taylor has.
And what better opponent to make your first start against than the tanking New York Jets?
The argument against Peterman is that he’s not produced a great stat line in his three preseason appearances so far, and Taylor clearly has shown he’s capable of being an average NFL starter in his two years with the Bills.
Still, the Bills now have a decision to make, since Taylor has looked so bad, and Peterman has not.
I think the consensus opinion is that Taylor will heal from his concussion and make the first start for Buffalo two weeks from now.
But the mutters for Peterman became shouts after last night’s game, and they will only get louder if Taylor struggles early on in the regular season.