Posted on September 12, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Josh Allen era in Buffalo is officially here. Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday that Allen will get his first NFL start in Week 2 when the Bills play the Los Angeles Chargers. The decision, which McDermott called the “right move for our team,” was expected after Nathan Peterman struggled during the team’s 47-3 Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
“I don’t feel a need, honestly to elaborate,” McDermott told reporters on Wednesday when asked to explain the move. “We talk a lot in-house about decisions and things and what we got to do, and the right move at the right time. Right now, with all respect to your question, this is the right move for us.”
McDermott is probably right in that the move requires no explanation. Peterman completed just five of his 18 attempts for only 24 yards against the Ravens. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked three times. It may have actually been a worse performance than when Peterman started against the Chargers last season, only to go 6 for 14 with five interceptions. Of course, since the Bills traded A.J. McCarron to the Raiders before the season, Peterman is still the team’s backup quarterback.
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When asked, McDermott declined to say if the switch to Allen would be a permanent one. After all, the Bills initially intended to bring Allen along slowly. However, that plan appears to have been abandoned after Peterman’s struggles in Week 1. Ready or not, Allen is now being pushed into the starting job.
“Josh is prepared. He will be prepared. I don’t think he’s prepared yet; it’s a natural progression during a week, but he’ll be prepared,” McDermott said. “At the end of the day, he’s a young player. We keep that all in mind, manage expectations, and know that we embrace that growth mindset that there’s going to be some challenges, some adversity, and you keep learning as you go and you embrace that.”
Allen showed flashes of the talent that made him a top-10 pick during the preseason. He showed off his incredible arm talent despite completing just 55% of his passes during the exhibition season. Allen also got his first taste of NFL action in relief of Peterman against the Ravens. He completed just six of his 15 passes for 74 yards while getting sacked three times. However, the team’s only three points of the game came on a drive that Allen led.
“I thought his command of the offense was there,” McDermott said of Allen’s performance against Baltimore. “There were some things that he did well in getting us in and out of the huddle. Those are things you don’t take for granted when a young player is out there. And then, after the snap, he executed fairly well at times and then there’s times when we need to execute better.”
Obviously, there will be some growing pains for Allen as the season goes along. But the Bills were always likely to struggle this season whether it was Peterman or Allen starting. Buffalo might as well give Allen as much experience as possible to help advance his development. The Bills may pay the price in the short-term. But in the long run, making Allen the starter right now could end up paying off.
“There’s certainly valuable experience when you can stand and watch,” said McDermott. “But as we all know, there’s no substitute for the experience when you’re actually behind the wheel. There’s a lot of value to that.”