Rookie quarterback Josh Allen worked with the starters during Monday’s practice. Bills head coach Sean McDermott said he was “staying with the rotation” after Nathan Peterman got the bulk of the work with the 1s in the previous workout.
So it’s still uncertain which quarterback will get the start in the third preseason game on Sunday at home against the Bengals. The third exhibition is traditionally the “dress rehearsal” for the team that will start in the regular-season opener.
That leads me to believe Allen will get the start on Sunday. If there’s a true competition for the No. 1 job, he deserves a shot to play a preseason game with the starting offense. Allen has played well in the first two games as a backup. It’s a small sample, but he has begun to validate the decision to draft him seventh overall. They need to put him out with the starters and give him a chance to win over the coaching staff and players once and for all.
I’ve seen enough to believe that Allen should be the starter in Baltimore in Week 1. Peterman has been very good in two preseason games, but if Allen is the future and should get the nod if the competition is even close. He can remove all doubt with another solid performance on Sunday.
Whether McDermott is leaning toward the kid remains to be seen. I think he likes Peterman and would like to give his second-year man a shot as the starter. He was in charge of the draft when the Bills took Peterman in the fifth round, remember. I imagine he would like to validate his decision — and distance Peterman from his regrettable start in LA last year — by having Peterman edge out Allen for the starting role. So I wouldn’t rule that out.
Still, it’s the best thing for the Bills moving forward if Allen is the No. 1. Peterman is a career backup at best. Allen doesn’t have a year of grooming under his belt, but he’s clearly the superior physical talent. It’s not as if Allen is going to defer to some long-term veteran. AJ McCarron is hurt and has done nothing to justify being a starter.
It’s time to see Allen playing behind a shaky starting offensive line and with a weak group of receivers, to see if his athletic gifts can lift the guys around him to some degree. I’d also like to see him playing with LeSean McCoy, though it looks as if McCoy might not play on Sunday with a sore groin.
Whatever the case, it’s time to see Allen with the starting offense. If it’s truly a dress rehearsal for the opener, he needs a chance to prove he belongs in the leading role.