Posted on November 15, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
After two straight losses, the Buffalo Bills have apparently lost faith in quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Following last week’s 47-10 loss to the Saints, their first home loss of the season, the Bills are benching Taylor. Head coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday that rookie Nathan Peterman, who the Bills took in the 5th round of the draft this year, will make his first career start Sunday against the Chargers.
“As I continually evaluate our roster and our goal to become better, I’ve decided to start Nate Peterman as our quarterback this week,” McDermott said. “I remain confident in Tyrod Taylor and his ability to help our football team moving forward.”
McDermott said following Sunday’s loss that Taylor would remain the starter. However, the first-year head coach has had a change of heart since then. With the Bills sitting at 5-4 and currently holding the final wild-card spot in the AFC, McDermott is putting his trust in a rookie quarterback to get the job done.
“Just like I do every week, I continue to evaluate our team, continue to evaluate our situation,” McDermott explained. “I thought about it, slept on it, and I felt like that we needed to move in a different direction at this time.”
Taylor is obviously not a Pro Bowl level quarterback. But he’s having arguably the best season of his career. He’s thrown 10 touchdown passes and limited himself to three interceptions this season. He’s also a constant threat to pick up yards as a runner. However, getting the Bills to 5-4 at this point of the season hasn’t been enough for McDermott.
“It’s about becoming a better team. That’s what we’re here for,” explained McDermott. “We are 5-4, I understand that, and we are in the playoff hunt at this point. It is always and will — for the time that I am here — be about becoming the best team that we can possibly become. We are made for more than 5-4 and I’ve come here to be more than 5-4.”
Peterman, of course, made in NFL debut last week. In garbage time against the Saints, he was 7 for 10 for 79 yards and a touchdown. However, it was enough for McDermott to think that Peterman is ready to be Buffalo’s starting quarterback.
“Nate’s come in, he’s handled himself well. He handled himself well in the game the other day,” McDermott said. “He’s poised, he’s mature beyond his years, he’s worked hard. … The success that he’s had to this point, he’s ready. I wouldn’t make this move if I didn’t think he was ready.”
Despite benching his quarterback, McDermott did his best to pick up Taylor just in case the Bills need him later in the season. However, Taylor was understandably disappointed and upset at losing his starting job.
“I don’t agree with the decision, but ultimately Coach McDermott has a vision for this team, what he feels is best for the team, as well as the owners and GM,” said Taylor, who remains a team captain. “So I have to move forward and continue to be the leader and teammate that I am from a different role.”
For Peterman, this is obviously a great opportunity to prove that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. For Taylor, the move creates great doubt about his future in Buffalo. He has just $1 million guaranteed on his contract for the 2018 season, so he could be on his way out of town if Peterman retains the job for the rest of the season.
Perhaps most importantly, the move is a huge one for McDermott in his first season as a head coach. If the Bills go on to make the playoffs, he will be universally applauded for the decision. But if Peterman struggles and the Bills fall out of the playoff picture, McDermott will be second-guessed all offseason.