The Buffalo Bills have already made one move at the quarterback position in 2018, when they benched Nathan Peterman in favor of rookie first-round pick Josh Allen. According to the latest report, the Bills are about to make another one.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday morning, just a little over two hours ahead of the Bills' game against the Tennessee Titans, that the team will sign veteran quarterback Derek Anderson to the roster. Anderson, 35, has been an unrestricted free agent.
Besides serving as a mentor to Allen, Mortensen reported that Anderson could even see some playing time with the Bills in the event of an injury, as they continue to try to develop the quarterback they've pegged as the future of the franchise. The Bills have yet to confirm the move.
Joe B's Take
As the season has taken different twists and turns even through the first four games, it's tough to argue with a move to add some experience into the quarterback room that is willing to take on that role without any hesitation. For all his time in Carolina serving in the same role with Cam Newton, Anderson represents the quintessential veteran backup to help bring along a rookie.
For Allen, his last performance was especially worrisome for the Bills and their fans. After executing the offense and moving the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the game leading up to last week, Allen's progress regressed and he exhibited some poor decisions that the Bills cannot allow to become habitual.
Part of the trouble for Allen is that he has no one, from an experience perspective with going through the things that he's gone through, has been with the Bills to this point. If Anderson can help be that outlet for Allen to bring him out of the doldrums of poor performance, while providing perspective along the way, then that's a great addition to the roster.
Allen isn't getting that from Nathan Peterman, and while he's a good teammate that works hard, he has to be encountering his own battle of having been given a start and demoted for the second time in his young career. Adding an experienced voice to that locker room is never a bad thing, just as long as there isn't a self-interest involved.
That was the worry about keeping someone around like AJ McCarron, who desperately wanted to start and likely didn't fit into the 'mentor' role that the Bills had in mind.
All Anderson has to do is be that sounding board for Allen, and more importantly, not trying to find his own way on to the field. I'm sure that's the understanding from the Bills given to Anderson, who have gone all in on Allen to start the 2018 season.
At this point, after already having decided to play him so early into his career, the Bills cannot use him like a yo-yo with the starting lineup. As long as he's healthy, Allen must continue to be in the starting lineup. If the Bills benched him at any point this season, that would be both admitting it was a mistake to play him this early while running the risk of shattering his confidence so early into his career.
Allen's development is the most important facet of the 2018 season, which is why if Anderson provides the relationship and leadership that the Bills so desire, it will be worth it's weight in gold. What Anderson can do on the field does not matter. The only thing that does matter is the way he helps Allen deal with the ups and downs of a both an NFL season and his rookie season.
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