Did we write Nathan Peterman off too soon?


If you’re that guy that’s reading this thinking, “well, you know, I didn’t lose faith in Peterman after that Chargers game like everyone else,” I think you should go home.

Sure, there are factions of the fanbase that remained confident Peterman might one day shake off one of the worst – if not the worst – statistical first half performance of any player in the modern era, but for the most part, you people fall into category one. This is the category that completely dismissed any idea that involved Nathan Peterman starting an NFL game ever again, outside of ambitions to tank for 2019’s first overall pick.



Count me in category one: a person who completely wrote Nathan Peterman off. To be completely honest, I thought I watched Peterman’s career end in a 30,000-seat soccer stadium in Los Angeles last season. It didn’t seem fair; a rookie fifth-round pick who won over the coaches enough in the middle of an NFL season to be inserted as the starting quarterback in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought.

Following a pair of absolute duds against the Jets and Saints, it was only fitting that Bills fans be subject to one of the worst games anyone has ever seen. Ever.

I don’t believe anyone in Buffalo truly believed they were getting a potential franchise quarterback when they drafted Peterman in the fifth round. But from most reviews, especially if you spent time at Training Camp last season, Peterman was a perfect fit in Rick Dennison’s west coast-oriented passing offense. His quick release and anticipation generated confidence in the coaching staff that made them believe he might do a better job commanding the passing offense with Tyrod Taylor’s continued struggles through the air.

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Well, we all know how that turned out. Five interceptions against one of the league’s hottest defenses, and we all wrote Peterman and his career off like we have nearly every quarterback for the last decade and a half. But was that judgment premature?



Sure, it’s early, but all reports out of OTAs and mandatory mini-camp are that Peterman has taken a clear step [forward] in year two.

“For the second straight practice that the media was allowed to see, Peterman was slinging the ball around incredibly well and both his accuracy and knowledge of the playbook has been evident,” WKBW’s Joe Buscaglia said.

He added, “It’s only the offseason workouts, and you should take everything with a grain of salt, but Peterman has been impressive — as shocking as that may be for some fans to read. In the four practices we’ve seen, Peterman has been more impressive than veteran quarterback A.J. McCarron.”

What stood out to me the most about Buscaglia’s thoughts on Peterman’s spring was his knowledge of the playbook and his ability to put guys in the right position so early in the process. “Several times on Tuesday, he would help instruct the receivers where they should be, or what they should have done on a given play. That part of his approach has to be music to the Bills’ ears at this point, with nothing set in stone at the quarterback position.”

May 24, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman (2) and quarterback Josh Allen (17) both throw a pass during OTA’s at the ADPRO Sports Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

I think we all know Peterman’s limitations; he doesn’t exactly have the arm strength you’re looking for in a starter. But what Peterman lacks in pure arm strength, he makes up for with anticipation and timing.

When I look at the competition that is taking place between him and fellow veteran A.J. McCarron, I don’t see a big difference other than a slight advantage in starting experience for McCarron. Both guys have similar arm strength and athleticism, although you can argue Peterman has sneaky athleticism, which might put him slightly in front of McCarron in Brian Daboll’s offense.

What we don’t know is how those positive things we have seen so far in the spring will somehow carry over to Training Camp and the regular season. However, there’s no denying the opportunity at hand for the second-year player.

The true test will obviously come when the bullets start to fly. He can show whatever he wants in the springtime, but if the ghosts of last year’s Chargers game resurface and he isn’t able to overcome that in live situations, this is really all a giant overreaction.

There’s obviously still time for the rookie, Josh Allen, to win over the coaching staff – and he has been getting more opportunities with the first-team offense as OTAs wrap up for the summer — but as it sits, it appears Nathan Peterman may have the leg up to start the season.

The crazy part is that I literally put a percentage of 5% in April that Peterman would ever have a shot at starting for this team again. As it stands, I think that number has risen to just over 50%. All I’m going to say is keep an open mind and get ready for a very interesting competition at quarterback this summer.