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.