The QB Carousel
So the Bills finally have the veteran QB I was hoping they would get ever since they released McCarron. Unfortunately, Josh Allen is hurt which I hate to say was only a matter of time. You can't continue to be pressured and sacked at such an alarming rate and not be surprised one of our quarterbacks was injured. Through six games, the Bills have given up the third-most sacks (24) and 13th-most QB hits (37). The run game is also suffering, as they rank 20th (99.5 YPG). So that gave McDermott the choices of Peterson and new Buffalo Bill Derek Anderson to start. Not really ideal choices if you're in that position to decide. Peterman did initially play well when he replaced Allen in the third quarter of the Texans game, until he imploded. He was looking like the player from preseason that earned the starting job. Making good throws, reading his progressions, and moving the ball. He was doing well enough that he put us ahead of the Texans and in position to win. His throw to Jones had a great touch and he the ball right in the corner where Jones never had to slow up. I'm not going to lie I watched that throw about 20 times. It's the Peterman that used to play at Pitt and shred defenses at his best. Now he's on the verge of no longer playing in the NFL after this season.
With less than 2 weeks with the team, fresh off the golf course, and a family vacation Derek Anderson is back in the NFL. Anderson has had a long career being in his 14th season and is a former Pro Bowl quarterback from 2007 when he was with the Browns. Yes, the Browns had a Pro Bowl quarterback and they went 10-6 that year. Anderson has played in 70 more games than Peterman (6-76), had 43 more starts (4-47), thrown for more than 10,000 yards (337-10,413), and 57 more TD (3-60). Anderson commands a kind of respect a veteran deserves and certainly has the love of former teammate Kelvin Benjamin. The two played together in Carolina and I hope this is beneficial for both. "It's cool seeing D.A.," Benjamin said Wednesday after the team's first practice with Anderson as the starter. "You could tell he's having fun, he's pumped up and energized. You can tell he's ready to go. I told him he's like an old Mustang right now he's just crunk back up." Benjamin who seemed like a great addition not that long ago has yet to live up expectations and didn't even start last week. Benjamin has taken a lot of heat recently for dropping passes and not wanting to work with Allen pregame. This could be the jolt Benjamin needs to transform back to the star receiver we picked up from Carolina who is in a contract year.
When Anderson did play in Carolina which was limited he targeted Benjamin 22% of his throws. That turned into 23 receptions for 324 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not bad at all. When Anderson started which was only 3 games with Benjamin 30 of his 102 passes went to Benjamin. Kelvin hauled in 19 of them for 266 yards and one touchdown. If Anderson can somehow get Benjamin going and move the chains this could be really big. Benjamin also caught his first career touchdown pass from Anderson. "I think we're starting to get comfortable and hit our stride," Benjamin said. "I think all we have to do is keep working. We have a new quarterback this week so we have to keep grinding, keep working and keep pushing and try to come down with the ball for him." Let's also not forget that Anderson has experience working with Daboll who led the Cleveland offense in 2009. Granted that was almost a decade ago but, the familiarity of working with someone you know mentally helps. If the passing game gets moving we have capable running backs of establishing the run game. Granted it doesn't fix the offense line issues but if we can stretch the field it should give some relief to the o line.
Our defense is more than holding their own as they are currently ranked 3rd overall and had 7 sacks last weekend against Deshaun Watson. Our secondary is just downright filthy when they're on. As we've seen in the Bills wins when the defense is at it's best the offense can score. Certainly in the Vikings game. Granted, I think a large part of that is due to the shorter field so the field position certainly helps. But, I think it's also the confidence as well. You know you can go out there and just play and if something doesn't go right you know you have a strong D to back you up. You aren't trying to overthink the plays.
So, now we have the QB carousel of Allen, Peterman, and Anderson. I think Anderson very well may finish this season as our starter and I'm fine with that. I think the coaching staff and almost everyone has lost confidence in Peterman. I still like him but he just tries to overdo it. Instead of just making the smart play I think he tries to force it more often than not. Allen needs to heal and sit on the bench with the clipboard and headphones which I was hoping he would from day 1. Let him watch and learn from a veteran, Pro Bowl quarterback. I don't believe it's worth risking a longer term injury and the health of Allen. We drafted him with high hopes he'd be the next Jim Kelly so to put him in action again this year and risk his compromised health seems stupid to me. The fact it appears he won't need surgery means we already dodged a bullet. The wild card is clearly Anderson and he may well be an ace up the sleeve. He's been out of the league so we have no idea how he's going to look. However, there is some immediate comfort in having played with one of our receivers and getting plays called from your old offensive coordinator. Plus, there's a reason he decided to come back. He took a few days to debate if he wanted to come back and play. Anderson didn't need or have to. He was retired comfortably, enjoying time with his family, playing scratch golf, and still has his health. Something enticed him to want to come back. Maybe it's the itch to play, maybe the desire to be back in the locker room with team, maybe still something to prove. Either way currently Anderson just got a ticket for the qb carousel and currently he's operator running it.
There's a lot of room for improvement. Buffalo (2-4) ranks 31st in the league in total yards (222.5 per game), is dead last, 32nd, in points scored per game (12.7), is last in passing yards (123.0 per game) and is 20th in rushing (99.5 yards per game). So Mr. Anderson (love the matrix movies) it's your turn and time to lead this team. If he struggles this game remember he has had less than 2 weeks to learn all of this so we need to remember that. But, if he goes out and lights it up then maybe it's a sign of good things to come. Either way there's really no where to go but up. So let's circle the wagons, get the Bills Mafia behind him, and beware the stampede, it's time to lasso the Colts!
(Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)