by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert

Throughout the preseason the Buffalo Bills quarterback situation looked better than was first anticipated. All three of the Bills quarterbacks (Nathan Peterman, A.J. McCarron and Josh Allen) had their moments and it seemed to have gotten to a point that there was an actual competition for the starting job.

After a strong showing by Allen last week against the Cleveland Browns, there were many who felt that Allen may actually be the starter for the Bills on opening day in two weeks. Much of that talk came to a halt following Sunday’s poor play versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Allen had a rough day, completing just six of 12 throws for 34 yards and got sacked a whopping five times in a half of play. He looked like an inexperienced rookie starting his first game.

In that same Cleveland game McCarron suffered a shoulder injury that was thought to be more serious than it actually was. Still, he was unable to play yesterday and so Allen and Peterman split time with each playing a half.


That brings us to Peterman, who in my opinion has played the best and most consistent of the Bills three quarterbacks this summer. Against Cincinnati, while playing with the Bills second and third team players, Peterman completed 16 of 21 throws for 200 yards and a touchdown. For the three preseason games to date, Nathan is 33 of 41 for 431 yards, 3 TD’s and one interception. His completion percentage is 80.4%, not too shabby considering he hasn’t played with the offensive starters since the opening preseason game against Carolina.


In fairness, McCarron has looked fairly good also but he hasn’t been as decisive nor as productive as Peterman was in the two games he played. Hurting his shoulder certainly set him back some but regardless, the numbers speak for themselves and Peterman has been the best and most productive quarterback.


I’m not taking anything away from Allen. For a rookie he has played well (except yesterday) and he IS the future for the Bills.  But to have him start off the season against the Ravens, Chargers, Vikings and Packers could do more harm than good. I feel Allen will become a very good NFL quarterback but he isn’t ready to be a starter just yet. All we need to do is look at yesterday’s game to know that. While the offensive line didn’t help him, his indecisiveness in regards to decision making didn’t help the cause.

In the 2016 and 2017 Drafts, the first quarterbacks selected were Jared Goff in 2016 and Mitch Trubisky in 2017. Neither was a game one starter as a rookie. Goff didn’t start until game nine and Trubisky got his first start in game five. Even after waiting a half season before he got to play, Goff still struggled and some were saying he was going to be a bust.

Being that I live in Chicago now and cover the Bears I saw all of Trubisky’s games as a rookie both in the preseason and the regular season. He clearly beat out veteran Mike Glennon in the preseason but he still wasn’t ready to start a regular season game that early in his career. He needed to sit and learn for a while.

Who’s the Week One Starter?

The same holds true for Allen. He has a lot of upside but until he is ready to play it does the Bills and Allen no good to start him before he is ready. I have no doubt that Allen will be the Bills starter sometime before the end of the 2018 season.  But it’s my hope that we don’t see it happen until November, not September. As of right now, Nathan Peterman gives the Bills the best chance to compete to win in the early games of this season.

Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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