Nathan Peterman's the kind of guy who can find the upside to a trip to the DMV.
So it should come as no surprise that the Buffalo Bills' quarterback can look back on what most would consider a disastrous rookie season and put a positive spin on it.
"Absolutely. Every opportunity, every practice, every game is a great learning opportunity for me," he said. "Definitely have enjoyed that and kind of embraced that and tried to get better with everything."
Just about every situation that a quarterback can go through in the NFL was put before Peterman in 2017. He won the battle in training camp for the backup job, then got promoted to starter in Week 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers. After botching that opportunity – to put it kindly – Peterman was benched. He was called on again to start in Week 14 after Tyrod Taylor suffered a knee injury, then got hurt himself against the Colts. To top it off, Peterman got his first taste of postseason experience, once again replacing an injured Taylor on Sunday against the Jaguars. Trying to lead a last-minute touchdown drive for the possible tying points, Peterman was intercepted and Jacksonville held on for a 10-3 win.
So, yeah, that's quite a bit to experience.
"That's a good way to look at it," he said. "I certainly always try to look at the positives in things, and I do feel like I learned a lot – went through a lot, and that can only make me better."
So what was the biggest takeaway for Peterman?
"If you want one short soundbite, it's to keep a level head with everything that happens," he said. "There's a lot of things that are out of your control in this game, and in life, so just keep a level head and be ready for anything.
"It's always about getting better and making jumps. That's kind of the business we're in. ... Be ready, be adaptable, and be a quick study."
Peterman's final numbers aren't for the faint of heart. He finished the year 24 of 49 (49.0 completion percentage) for 252 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. He fumbled twice and ran seven times for 23 yards while being sacked once for a loss of 5 yards. Against the Jaguars, he went 1 of 3 for 14 yards, with the final one of those passes being intercepted by cornerback Jalen Ramsey, putting an end to the Bills' season.
The question now is how Peterman fits in the quarterback equation for 2018. It's likely that the Bills will move on from Taylor, and third-stringer Joe Webb is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March. That could mean a couple months from now, Peterman is the only quarterback on the roster. While his struggles – again, putting it lightly – in 2017 likely have fans dreading the possibility of him being the starter moving forward, it's at least a possibility. At the very least, Peterman will compete for a job with whoever the Bills add to the position.
“The great thing about Nathan, one of the great things, is he continues to be poised, composed, and has a great deal of balance in his life,” coach Sean McDermott said before Peterman started against the Colts. "He’s steady, which is a little bit unusual for a young player, in particular at the quarterback position. When I say steady, I mean mentally.
“He’s been through things before over the course of his career, over the course of his life, that have equipped him to handle different things now in his life. We all know you get tested in this league. We’ve talked about it at the team level what happens. He’s done a good job up to this point, and I’m confident he’ll continue to do a good job in that area."