Back in the late 1980s, when it seemed George Steinbrenner fired his skipper every other month, noted humorist and Yankees fan Hart Seely established an annual award for “Yankee Manager of the Year.”
I was reminded of Seely when contemplating today’s Bills game at the Jets. Evidently, Matt Barkley will be the starter this afternoon. Josh Allen’s right elbow isn’t quite ready. Derek Anderson is still recovering from a concussion suffered late in the Patriots game.
Nathan Peterman, well, he’s Nathan Peterman. Today will be the second time this year that the Bills started a QB who had been with the team less than two weeks rather than put him back on the field.
So the race for Bills “Quarterback of the Year” is very much alive. Sure, Barkley has a lot of ground to make up. But if he beats the Jets on the road today as a 7-point underdog, he could make strides in the QOY battle. It’s not a very high bar. The candidates:
—Josh Allen: The presumptive franchise guy and favorite for QOY. Leads the Bills in touchdown passes (2) and rushing TDs (3). Best hurdler on the roster.
—Derek Anderson: Points for mentorship. Leads in completion percentage (60.0) and yards per attempt (6.6). Best golfer on the roster.
—Nathan Peterman: Last Bill to throw a touchdown pass, extra points for making Zay Jones relevant in a close game. First QB to lead a TD drive that started in team’s own end in 25 quarters. Second in rushing TDs on team with one.
Barkley has one more win as an NFL starter than Charles Barkley. But he has averaged 7.2 yards per pass attempt in 11 career games, well above any of the other Buffalo quarterbacks. Is playing for his seventh NFL team, if you count Arizona twice.
A devout Christian, Barkley has done volunteer work in Africa and Haiti. At USC, he befriended former Olympian and World War IIprisoner of war Louis Zamperini, who was featured in the movie, “Unbroken.”
What I’m saying is, the guy has a chance for the team's Quarterback of the Year honor. Barkley has averaged 173.7 passing yards a game during his career. The Bills’ quarterbacks are averaging 177.0 this season. So he’ll fit into this offense quite seamlessly.
By the way, veteran Josh McCown will start for the Jets over rookie Sam Darold, who is hurt. McCown was voted the Jets’ most valuable player a year ago.