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Bills begin season with quarterback controversy lurking around corner

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9:39 AM ET

 

 

Mike RodakESPN Staff Writer

 

 

A quarterback controversy hasn't arrived yet in Buffalo, but how long will it take for the Bills to consider making a change?

As the Bills prepare for Sunday's regular-season opener against the New York Jets, the official stance of first-year coach Sean McDermott is Tyrod Taylor is the starter. McDermott used those words after Thursday's preseason finale, learning his lesson after his vague comments earlier in the preseason were interpreted as Taylor's job was in jeopardy.

 

 

While McDermott's faith in Taylor is evident, the reality is the coach can change his mind at any point. Just because McDermott had "all the confidence in the world" in Taylor in August does not mean that same feeling will exist in October, November or December.

In fact, public opinion about Taylor -- which is already wavering -- could further erode as soon as Sunday, in two distinct ways.

The first scenario is Taylor missing the opener because of a concussion suffered in an Aug. 26 preseason loss to Baltimore. We will know later Monday morning, when McDermott holds his first news conference since Thursday, whether Taylor remains in the NFL's concussion protocol or has been cleared to practice.

If Taylor has not been cleared and cannot return in time for Sunday's game, rookie Nathan Peterman is expected to start. The fifth-round draft selection from Pittsburgh has drawn some fan support for the starting job. He had a somewhat promising performance in the preseason -- a 54 percent completion rate, 5.7 yards per attempt and a 75.6 quarterback rating. Plus, if Buffalo is unlikely to make the playoffs this season, some think the Bills ought to see what they have in Peterman before deciding on their direction at quarterback in 2018.

If Peterman starts in place of Taylor and wins the opener -- even over the lowly Jets -- the outside calls for the rookie to start will only grow louder.

Likewise, another scenario would elicit fan reaction in favor of Peterman. If Taylor is cleared to play in Week 1 but performs poorly and loses to the Jets -- yes, those Jets who have a less than 1 percent chance of making the playoffs -- then Taylor will be standing on shaky ground, at least in the eyes of the Bills' fan base.

If QB Tyrod Taylor (right) isn't cleared from his concussion in time for Sunday's opener against the Jets, rookie Nathan Peterman is expected to start. Mark Konezny-USA TODAY SportsWould McDermott consider a quarterback change so early in the season? Who knows. However, the sample size on which Taylor would be evaluated is larger than the opener. Taylor played parts of three preseason games, producing a cringe-worthy stat line -- a 48 percent completion rate, 3.4 yards per attempt, two interceptions and a 27.9 quarterback rating.

It sure seemed Taylor took a step back this preseason, although his struggles can't be attributed to him alone. The offensive line was playing without injured left tackle Cordy Glenn and had moving parts at right guard and right tackle. Taylor also had to make do with one of the NFL's most volatile receiving depth charts, rocked by the trade of Sammy Watkins, an injury to Jordan Matthews and the retirement of Anquan Boldin.

"That's been topsy-turvy," general manager Brandon Beane told the Bills' official radio program last week. "That's not the way you would have laid it out from a continuity standpoint. Unfortunately, the first time we'll probably be able to get this whole [receiver] crew together is Week 1 against the Jets.

"In fairness to Tyrod and Nathan and T.J. [Yates], that's not the way you draw it up. Part of that is on me and the front office with the move with Sammy and what we got there. And then the unfortunate part was the medical part with Jordan. He can't help that. And then we didn't see what happened with Anquan. We didn't anticipate that."

There is also the issue of the scheme run by offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. In general terms, his West Coast-based system requires quarterbacks to progress through reads from the pocket and make accurate throws on short timing patterns.

Taylor's exceptional skills as a rusher are not necessarily emphasized in Dennison's system. Under former Bills offensive coordinators Greg Roman and Anthony Lynn in 2015 and 2016, the Bills ran the NFL's fourth-most snaps from the zone-read option (176), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Over those two years as Denver's offensive coordinator, Dennison ran a total of four snaps out of the zone-read.

Taylor ran for 480 yards last season, the most among quarterbacks. Of those 480 yards, 168 came on zone-read runs, also the most in the NFL. If Dennison does not use the zone-read option, it will diminish part of Taylor's value as a quarterback.

The decision on whether Taylor remains the starter as the season progresses is ultimately McDermott's. But there are signs Beane is high on Peterman and favors a pocket passer at quarterback.

"We thought well of [Peterman] scouting him in Carolina," Beane said. "When I got here [in May], he is better than I expected. The one thing you try to investigate -- and we only did so much research there, so I didn't know all the intangibles -- this guy has the moxie, the pocket presence, the leadership.

"Arm strength is important. I'm not gonna deny it. Does Nathan have one of the top arms in the league? No. But he's got a good enough arm. What you want to see is, to make up for arm strength, does he anticipate well? Get the ball out early? He does. That's how he overcomes not having a John Elway-, Dan Marino-type arm. But he does a lot of things. You don't see him flush out of that pocket. You see him move around. He's got a nice feel. I think that's an instinctive thing. You either got it or you don't, and Nathan looks to have that."

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Good point about Dennision's scheme and how it is opposite to Taylors playing style.....I think it is inevitable that we will see Peterman start (just based on that alone)....

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Good point about Dennision's scheme and how it is opposite to Taylors playing style...

 

Then knowing that, why the F... did these idiots resigned that scrub?


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Well taylor is still in protocol as of Monday so how long are they going to wait for him to get back into action? He's already looked terrible all preseason so what's the point if he's not getting the much needed reps leading up to gm 1. Let's see what the kids got!

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Then knowing that, why the F... did these idiots resigned that scrub?

 

familiarily....Dennison coached Taylor back in Baltimore.....plus overall there were still some question marks around taylor after last season with some of the fanbase.....but i think this past pre season shows taylor will not be suited in a west coast type offence so there it is....play peterman...likely get a couple more wins....

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Then knowing that, why the F... did these idiots resigned that scrub?

 

At the time McD probably believed he could win with the Taylor behind a good defense which was the same idea his predecessor had.

 

One thing to keep in mind though, we also resigned Taylor while Whaley was still the GM. If Beane had been here earlier who knows what he might have done and his recent statements about Peterman are very telling in terms of Taylor's future in Buffalo behind 2017....in other words there isn't one barring a miracle.

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Let the controversy happen. Maybe Tyrod will play better if he knows he has a talented QB nipping at his heels. :niterider


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Fuck this team

I'll tie a frying pan to my ass so you hurt your penis, you ****ing homo!

Shut the fuck up dark cloud pussy

Anyone who is foolish enough to not be a Buffalo Bills fan can go f*ck themselves with a wooden shovel handle.

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also, all that shit in your signature is beyond annoying. just like you.

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Let the controversy begin. The last QB controversy was when we had a playoff caliber team. We got nothing to lose with this controversy as this team is pretty much garbage. It may make this upcoming appearingly dismal season more interesting.

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We already know Beane and Sean are thinking post 2017 so why not play Peterman ?

 

Tayor is not and has never been the answer. He's an ok starter but I think we all know he's not the guy to take us to the next level. So lets play Peterman and one of 2 things will happen.

 

1. We get lucky and he's the man in which case we are set

 

or

 

2. He's not the man and we know what needs to be done come draft time in 2018.

 

There's very little to gain by playing TT at this point. Before all the trades it was another thing. The team seemed ok for a Taylor led season. But the obvious "semi tank" or whatever you wanna call it means they are playing for 2018 and beyond.


Bills fan for life!! ................

I love beer, rum, scotch and women !! :rockon:

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a lot of verbage about two QB'S that both Suck!

 

If you want a top 3 draft pick than hope that's the case, but Peterman does have talent and will probably start and win some games this year which will probably take us out of the top 10 in terms of draft position.

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