ORCHARD PARK, NY – When it comes to developing quarterbacks in the NFL, coaches generally subscribe to one of two theories. Option A is the wait your turn approach, which involves making a young quarterback watch and learn behind a veteran for a few seasons before taking the reigns himself. Conversely, option B is simply starting him immediately, forcing the quarterback to learn on the fly by playing meaningful snaps.
Both philosophies have worked, both philosophies have failed. But with the Buffalo Bills nurturing a rookie quarterback of their own in Nathan Peterman, head coach Sean McDermott’s preference could ultimately shape his career.
“I think it’s a case-by-case basis,” McDermott said. We’re fortunate right now, that we have a veteran quarterback in Tyrod [Taylor] that is our starter. And Nate, we continue to bring him along in his development process at this time. I’ve been happy with Nate, I think he’d be the first to tell you there are plays from the other night he wants back and that’s all part of the learning process. And as you’ve heard me say before, the respect for that process – in this case – is important.”
With the Bills also in position to potentially package a surplus of picks to trade up in next year’s draft and select a quarterback of the future, gauging McDermott’s insights on QB development is worth noting. He went on to add that the most important part of that process is providing said quarterback with adequate protection along the offensive line.
“Number one you always want to make sure, in my opinion, that you have an offensive line to protect him,” McDermot explained. “I’ve seen that enough around the league where you put a young quarterback out there and it’s hard to evaluate the player because he’s not given a line in front of him to protect him. So that to me is step one. Then from there, it’s how the quarterback develops.”
Peterman agrees, but he isn’t sure which philosophy he prefers.
“Having some time back there and having a great offensive line like we do is very helpful,” he said. “Obviously when you get reps, you’re always getting better; when you’re experiencing it first hand. But sometimes it takes time too, so I’m ready for either situation and I don’t like to say I’m better this way because you never know how it’s gonna unfold.”
Considering that McDermott continues to endorse Taylor – even in spite of his inconsistent play throughout the preseason – Peterman is clearly at the mercy of the “wait your turn” theory. That could change quickly though if Taylor’s stint in the league’s concussion protocol lingers into Week 1, or if his struggles to move the ball continue throughout the first month of the season. Either situation could thrust Peterman into the starting role sooner than McDermott and this new Bills regime expected.
Whichever situation plays out, the Pittsburgh product says to be successful at this level, developing timing is key.
“Timing and rhythm is the biggest thing” Peterman declared. “I’m still trying to learn, especially with our offense. We’re real rhythm and timing based with our progressions and our feet so that’s the biggest thing I’m trying ot get down, just going through my progressions going through my reads and finding the open guy.”
Follow me on Twitter: @Spencito_