For the first time since 2016, Derek Anderson will start an NFL game. On Wednesday, Bills coach Sean McDermott announced that the veteran quarterback will get the nod over Nathan Peterman when the Bills face the Colts on Sunday.
Starter Josh Allen is out with an elbow injury, but he will not require major surgery and is considered week-to-week. The Bills turned to Peterman after Allen went down against the Texans, but he did not inspire confidence after yet another spotty performance. The Bills were quietly excited about the 2017 fifth-round pick last year, but they have little incentive to start him now.
Peterman has now occupied every possible spot on the Bills’ QB depth chart this season. The Pittsburgh product was set to be the club’s No. 2 QB behind A.J. McCarron and ahead of Allen, but September’s surprising trade propelled him to the top job. Peterman was atrocious in the season opener, however, and quickly ceded the starting gig to Allen. This week, he was primed to re-take the first-string assignment, but the newly-acquired Anderson has received the nod, despite having been in Buffalo for just over one week.
Anderson has 76 career NFL appearances under his belt, though he has not seen consistent action since his 2010 campaign with the Cardinals. He went just 2-7 that year, but he did lead the 2007 Browns to a 10-5 record in 15 starts en route to his only Pro Bowl nod.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The damage to Allen’s elbow involves his UCL, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). This problem often leads to pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery, but Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes that doesn’t appear to be necessary for Allen. This isn’t a full tear, per Pelissero.
This said, the expectation for now is Allen will miss at least two games, perhaps three, Pelissero tweets. The Bills turned to embattled second-year passer Nathan Peterman after Allen went down on Sunday. They also have the recently signed Derek Anderson on their roster.
Buffalo’s offense has submitted a historically woeful stretch, with Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz tweeting the Bills’ offensive DVOA through six games is second only to the 2004 Dolphins’ among the worst the website has graded since 1986. The Bills have won two games, though, with Allen starting.
The team ditched its offseason plan of A.J. McCarron and moved on from Peterman after another disastrous start, beginning the Allen era. But the Bills appear certain to have to play without Allen for the time being.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen suffered a right elbow injury in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Texans, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. It is not considered to be a major injury at this time, but the team will run his MRI results past Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.
The Bills do not want to rush Allen back, though the QB wants to play. After making a huge investment by drafting him, the Bills are understandably cautious. There’s also not a huge need to get him back on the field right away, given their 2-4 start.
“We’re going to take it one day at a time,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said Monday.
If Allen is a no-go for Sunday against the Colts, the Bills will have to decide between Nathan Peterman and Derek Anderson as his stand-in. After Peterman threw two picks in relief of Allen on Sunday, the newly-acquired Anderson may be the logical choice to start. In speaking with reporters on Monday, McDermott indicated that he would consider both the short- and long-term ramifications of benching Peterman in favor of the former Panthers veteran.
“I got to put the right guy out there that I feel is best for our football team,” McDermott said. “I understand the fans and that sentiment, but at the same time, I have to do what we feel is best for the football team moving forward.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the odds of the Bills trading any veterans — like RB LeSean McCoy, whose name has recently surfaced in trade rumors — are very slim. La Canfora writes that it would take a “bounty” to pry McCoy or Jerry Hughes away from Buffalo, as the team considers both players, who are both signed beyond this season to club-friendly deals, to be vital veteran components of its rebuild. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com agrees, saying it could take as much as a second-round draft pick to land McCoy.
- This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Rapoport tweets that the Bills have no intention of playing newly-acquired signal-caller Derek Anderson, barring injury. Anderson is with the club to tutor rookie QB Josh Allen, not to take any of his playing time.
- From the “something to keep an eye on” department, Jenna Cottrell of 13 WHAM tweets that Allen asked wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes during pregame warm-ups today, and Benjamin told him no. The Bills acquired Benjamin at the trade deadline last year but have not gotten much production out of him, and he does not appear especially motivated to perform well in his platform year.
- Derek Anderson‘s one-year deal with the Bills is worth a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum of $1.015MM, tweets Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Anderson received a minimum salary benefit deal, meaning he’ll only count against Buffalo’s salary cap at the rate of a second-year player plus his signing bonus, which accounts for a total cap charge of $503,326. The 35-year-old Anderson spent the past seven seasons as a backup to Cam Newton in Carolina, and attempted just 168 passes during that time. He’ll mentor rookie quarterback Josh Allen in Buffalo.
With nearly a third of the 2018 regular season in the books, it’s fair to start looking ahead to the 2019 draft, especially if you’re a fan of a team that’s not looking like a playoff team this year. Using Football Outsiders’ DVOA On the Clock report, let’s take a look at a few teams who could secure the No. 1 overall selection in 2019:
Arizona Cardinals (19.6% chance of No. 1 pick, 61.5% chance of top-five pick)
The Cardinals allowed the Sam Bradford experiment to last for the better part of three games before turning things over to rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who has appeared competent thus far. David Johnson is an All-Pro talent at running back, but Arizona hasn’t been very creative in its use of him, and he’s faced eight or more defenders in the box on 33.78% of his attempts, 10th-most in the league. The Cardinals are still as a top-10 defense in terms of DVOA (meaning they’re efficient) despite ranking as a bottom-10 unit in both yards allowed and scoring, so continued success on that side of the ball could move Arizona away from the top overall pick.
San Francisco 49ers (18.6%, 59.8%)
The 49ers’ top quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo), running back (Jerick McKinnon) and wide receiver (Marquise Goodwin) have all been injured this year, and each health issue helped push the 49ers’ chances of earning the No. 1 pick upward. With C.J. Beathard now leading San Francisco’s offense, and Alfred Morris taking over in the backfield for the time being while Matt Breida deals with an ankle injury, it’s unclear how many points the 49ers will be able to muster the rest of the way. Pair those offensive problems with a defense that ranks just 26th in adjusted sack rate, and San Francisco could be in the market for a top-five selection in 2019.
Buffalo Bills (13.2%, 56%)
While rookie signal-caller Josh Allen perhaps hasn’t looked as poor as many believed he would, he still ranks second-to-last among quarterbacks in adjusted net yards per attempt. His performance, as well as that of Buffalo’s porous offensive line, has contributed to the Bills ranking dead last in both yards per drive and points per drive. A surprisingly strong defense (and a full-effort approach that speaks well of head coach Sean McDermott) could help push the Bills towards the end of the top-10 picks, but their offense is going to hold them back.
Oakland Raiders (9.3%, 41.7%)
It’s a good thing Jon Gruden landed a 10-year contract because his first season with the Raiders isn’t going as planned. Oakland’s defense is the slowest in the NFL (which perhaps isn’t a surprise given that the Raiders are fielding the league’s oldest roster), and the club’s offense has been hit-or-miss. After trading superstar Khalil Mack, Oakland ranks dead last in sacks and second-to-last in adjusted sack rate. And, as a bonus, the Raiders get to face Patrick Mahomes twice a year for the next decade.
New York Giants (8.1%, 37.1%)
The Giants are the only team in the NFL that has at least a 5% chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick and at least a 10% chance of making the postseason, per Football Outsiders. That’s largely due to the lackluster quality of the NFC East, where no team is over the .500 mark, and New York’s remaining schedule, which ranks as the easiest in the league. On the other hand, FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Giants to finish with the NFL’s worst record, so until the NFC East clarifies itself, New York’s outlook is ¯_(ツ)_/¯.
Atlanta Falcons (8%, 35.3%)
The one team on this list that would have been a complete surprise coming into 2018, the Falcons have been decimated on the defensive side of the ball. Starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, plus linebacker Deion Jones, are all out for the season after suffering injuries, and Atlanta’s defense has responded in kind, giving up the second-most points in the league on a per-game basis. Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons’ offense can still win shootouts, but Atlanta could be in line to pick within the top-five for the first time since 2008.
So, what do you think? Will one of these teams land the No. 1 overall pick in 2019? Vote below!
Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:
- LB Alvin Jones
- OT Brant Weiss
Green Bay Packers
- RB Tra Carson (signed to practice squad), WR Keon Hatcher (signed to PS), WR Devin Lucien, WR Teo Redding
- RB Jamaal Charles (signed, story), RB Charcandrick West, LS Jon Condo, LS Matt Overton, LS Zach Triner, TE Pharoah McKever (signed to PS), WR Breshad Perriman, QB Josh Woodrum
Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints
- WR Quan Bray, WR Rashad Greene, WR Jordan Leslie, WR Brandon Reilly, WR Lucky Whitehead, WR Shane Wynn, CB Chris Campbell, LB Kennan Gilchrist, LB Manase Hungalu, LB Greer Martini, DB Lardarius Webb
San Francisco 49ers
- RB Matthew Dayes (signed to PS), RB Andre Ellington, RB Jeremy McNichols, RB Shane Vereen, RB Charcandrick West (story), QB Jack Heneghan
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- OG Kofi Amichia, WR Jace Billingsley, Fred Brown, Corey Coleman, Damoun Patterson, Austin Proehl, QB Joe Callahan, OT De’Ondre Wesley