Articles by Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Tyrod to Tygone

The Bills made a somewhat surprising move Wednesday announcing the benching of Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman. Peterman led the Bills to a touchdown on their final drive Sunday against the Saints after Taylor led a stagnant offense. Let’s take a look at this move from a few different angles.

The fact that the Bills have five wins is more than surprising, if I remember correctly their over/under for the season was either six or 6.5 when I was in Vegas early July. They still get the Dolphins twice, the disappointing Charger this weekend and the Colts on their remaining schedule. This means they will be strongly in contention for a playoff spot, which would be the first in 17 years. The NFL has changed drastically over the last decade an no longer is a quarterback given three years to produce and develop; that time frame has been cut in half. Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane are making the decisions they believe will have the Bills win now and have no allegiance to Taylor who will likely move on from Buffalo next season. They must believe Peterman gives then the best chance to win now for a few reasons. While Tyrod has a ridiculously low interception rate he also has not thrown the ball down the field often throwing short of the sticks on third down. While taking care of the ball is a skill also throwing down the field effectively is a skill as well. While the Bills don’t have a ton of weapons in the passing attack, Tyrod regularly overthrew 6-5 Kelvin Benjamin Sunday, a hard task to do.

Peterman obviously won’t be as mobile as Taylor but will attack down the field with a stronger arm than Tyrod. He’s looked very accurate in limited snaps during the preseason and the Bills should continue to lean heavily on the ground game. LeSean McCoy’s fantasy value might take a small hit without a running quarterback keeping opposing defenses honest but he could also benefit from the offense staying on the field more. In response to those point out that this quarterback change doesn’t help the Bills’ run defense, note that they lost the time of possession game 41:23 to 18:37 and 33:30 to 26:30 over their last two games. Any defense out there that long is going to get tired and get gashed by a team with a decent running attack.

As far as switching to Peterman, the staff must see something during practice to think he gives them a better chance to win. Let’s look at the rest of the league. Mitch Trubisky has been as good as Mike Glennon, Deshaun Watson was better than Tom Savage and there’s even a case that DeShone Kizer and C.J. Beatheard have been better than their respective veterans. Letting Peterman sit and learn over the first half of the season allows him to adjust to the professional game while learning a new and more complex offense. Unlike Kizer, his confidence hasn’t been destroyed and Peterman is in a good situation with the acquisition of Benjamin, Charles Clay coming back healthy and a strong running game with McCoy. As a Bills fan, I have to trust that Beane and McDermott know what they’re doing and this is in the best interest of the team (I may also have $100 on 5.5:1 the Bills make the playoffs, I know sucker bet) so I hope that’s the case here. Trust. The. Process.

Training Camp Notes: Zeke Is About To Be A Freak

– A judge in Texas (of all places) has ruled that the NFL’s suspension against Ezekiel Elliott will not be ruled and enforced until Week 2 at the earliest. Therefore, Elliott is eligible to play this week on Sunday night football as the Cowboys host the Giants. Harold Henderson, the NFL arbitrator, will still hand down his ruling but at this point it seems unlikely Elliott will serve the full six-games suspension. Elliott is a must-start whenever on the field but faces a tough task against a Giants defense that only allowed only 3.6 yards per carry, the second-lowest mark in the league last season.

– If you have any Dolphins or Buccaneers, get them out of your lineup this week. Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation in Miami and naturally it makes sense for the teams to make up the game November 19th, when both have a bye.

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Tuesday’s Training Camp Notes

– George Kittle will likely open the season as the 49ers starting tight end. Vance McDonald was traded to the Steelers opening the door for Kittle to get to the top of the depth chart. In standard 12-team leagues this news doesn’t mean too much but in leagues that start 2-tight ends it’s worth noting. Vance McDonald will now compete with Jesse James for playing time in the Steel City.

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Tuesday’s Training Camp Notes

– Mike Gillislee (hamstring) was a full participant in practice today for the Patriots. With Week 1 less than two and a half weeks away this was a good sign for his owners. Rex Burkhead has been working with the first team in his absence and makes for a nice late round pick even if Gillislee is 100 percent healthy. A fumble or two from Gillislee could land him in the doghouse and Bill Belicheck would have no problem letting Burkhead take over as the main ball carrier in that scenario. Still, it appears to be Gillislee’s job to lose and he’s still a solid mid-round pick as the head of the RBBC in New England.

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Tuesday’s Training Camp Notes

– Ezekiel Elliott filed his appeal for his six-game suspension meaning there will be a hearing scheduled within the next 10 days. There’s no guarantee there will be a reduction in his suspension and the ruling may not happen until after the season begins. Despite the suspension he has rarely made past the second round in recent drafts as owners seem to be willing to gamble that Elliott will miss less than six games. Adam Schefter reports that the hearing will be August 29th, which falls exactly on 10 business days of today’s filing.

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Tuesday Training Camp Notes: It’s Tuesday…

-Jay Cutler appears to be the the starter under center for the Dolphins. They paid $10 million for Jay. $10 million…

– C.J. Anderson will play three series this Thursday. Usually first stringers don’t see this much action this early but Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker will both miss this one thrusting Anderson into a more prominent role. Look for him to sit out one or both of the last two preseason games for the Broncos.

– Jimmy Graham “could” see more goal line work this season. This would make a ton of sense given his size and athleticism. Kudos to the Seahawks coaching staff for realizing what they have on offense.

– Scott Tolzien will start under center for the Colts’s game this Thursday. If you haven’t dropped Andrew Luck from your preseason rankings a bit, you’re being naive. Also, dropping the Colts’ receivers (T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief) a bit is in order as well. Go into the season with less injury risk on your roster, especially given how deep both the quarterback and wide receiver positions are.

– An interesting position battle, both Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls split carries in a scrimmage today. This only means they’re both being considered for the starting RB role. Note that Pete Carroll has always coached outside of the box (except for that stupid SB throw call..) so this seems to be an open battle between the two; expect if they’re healthy for both to get a fair shot once the season opens.

– Cam Newton threw on the sideline today; owners don’t be worried, this is a “handle your QB with white gloves” situation.

– Terrence West sounds like he’s serious about playing football. He reportedly has lost weight while adding muscle, something that never hurts playing football. Now healthy Danny Woodhead will steal some third down/receiving looks but West should be the main ball carrier on the early downs.

– Dan Bailey hasn’t missed a field goal yet in camp. This is according to Cowboys beat writers and makes no mention how many kicks and the distances they’ve been from.

– Demaryius Thomas has dropped 15 pounds in the offseason. Unfortunately this won’t help his quarterback play but the 6-3 receiver should be more agile and able to elude defenders this season. If someone can get him the ball (that Tebow guy was able to), he should be able to get back to the 1,300-1,400 receiving yard range he was in prior to last season.