What to Make of the Bills Quarterback Situation

Buffalo, New York – Through the first seven games of the 2017- 2018 NFL season the Buffalo Bills put together a respectable record of (5-2) with the hope of derailing their playoff drought right around the corner. Two games and a bye week later and the Buffalo Bills could not be further removed from that same team. Currently at (5-4) after falling to the New York Jets and the New Orleans Saints, the Bills according to first-year Head Coach Sean McDermott have made a change at quarterback. Following three seasons as the Bills off again, on-again starter, Tyrod Taylor will be sitting on the pine this Sunday. Rookie quarterback, Nathan Peterman will be at the helm for the Bills as they head out west to take on the Los Angeles Chargers.

What To Know About Nathan Peterman
Peterman, the fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh in this year’s draft is set to be thrown into the thick of things as the Bills are poised to make a playoff push. The move for the rookie is by no means coming out of nowhere as he made his debut a week ago after Taylor was benched for going one for five in the second half against the Saints. Even the whispers from the fans arguably had become too much to ignore as McDermott acknowledged following the loss.

“Nathan, he’s a good player. I like what he did yesterday. I think he did some good things in the game yesterday. I know where they’re coming from, from a fan standpoint.”

With pro-comparisons to Kirk Cousins, Peterman’s ceiling in this league is high, though it is the many unknowns that caused him to slip into the fifth round. A quick delivery in the pocket and experience playing in a pro-level offense in college gives him a big head start compared to other rookies thrown into the mix, though where Taylor exceeded at times in his touch, an area Peterman has plenty of room to improve. The first quarterback picked under the McDermott regime, Peterman has a chance to take the reins of the Bills if he can play well enough, especially considering the uncertainty that has faced the Bills at the position in the past.

What to Make of Tyrod Taylor
For Tyrod Taylor, an uncertain future just became even foggier thanks to Sean McDermott. After signing a 2-year, $30,500,000 contract with the Buffalo Bills with $15,500,000 guaranteed it appeared Taylor’s future had been settled, though a clause that allows the Bills to dump Taylor for little cost at seasons end ultimately made it another prove it deal for the Virginia Tech product. From numbers standpoint, Taylor has had him another average year with 12 total touchdowns on the year to only three turnovers and over 1,900 all-purpose yards on the season. The Bills offense is struggling mightily though as they rank near dead last in every offensive category including 30th in passing. With the team struggling as such and the lack of explosiveness of the offense as a whole under Taylor, it appears this benching may be the final straw for the Tyrod Taylor experiment in Buffalo.

What does this mean for the Bills moving forward?
The reasoning for the decision to bench Taylor can be looked at from many different angles from the Bills personnel level. Perhaps the most head-scratching aspect of this decision was the timing. In a year when starting quarterbacks on potential playoff caliber teams are getting injured left and right it would have made all the sense in the world for Taylor to be a logical trade candidate. Atlas the benching comes just shortly after the trade deadline, leaving teams like the Cardinals, Packers, and Texans left with the Stanton’s, Hundley’s, and Savages of the world. On a short contract with a proven starter, Taylor could have more than picked up the slack for any of these teams and given the “rebuilding” Bills assets in return. Ultimately this is McDermott’s team now, and as seen by trades he is going to build a team of his guys that follow his philosophy, as mentioned he may have just seen enough to make the switch.

“Sometimes as you’re building, you go through growing pains, and you go back and reteach. I pull from what I’ve experienced over my career in the NFL. I’ve been on some really good teams. I’m confident in this team in the same way. You go back, you reteach and you reexamine what you’re doing, making sure it’s the right thing. That said, I know a lot of what we’re doing is good. You don’t lose sight of that. This is a 5-4 football team, and a lot of hard work [has] been put into it so far, and we’ve done a lot of good things. Obviously, the last two weeks have not been up to the standard that we’ve instilled from the day we’ve come in here,” explained McDermott.

When it comes down to it, this is a team that has already blown past many of the expectations they had coming into the year. The change at quarterback has been one that has been in the works for quite some time, and ultimately may not be the last one made this season when all is said is done. As for the Bills, they have the playoffs in sight, and whether they truly believe it or not Peterman is the man that will get them there this season.

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