Back in August, some Bills fans objected when I compared rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman with Trent Edwards. The delusional ones preferred to fantasize about Peterman becoming the next Tom Brady.
But people will be thrilled if Peterman channels Edwards in his debut as an NFL starter on Sunday against the Chargers. Ten years ago, Edwards got his first start a week after relieving an injured J.P. Losman in a 31-point loss at the Patriots.
Edwards completed 22 of 28 passes for 234 yards, one touchdown and one pick in a 17-14 victory over the Jets at the Ralph. Fans would take that sort of performance from Peterman against the NFL's fourth-leading pass rush, especially in a road game on the West Coast.
Of course, Captain Checkdown's history tells us not to over-react to a rookie's first game, regardless of the outcome. On to the Mailbag.
@Goldengucfa asks: The move to Peterman and the timing feels a little desperate to me. Thoughts, feelings?
Sully: I have lots of thoughts and feelings, but this doesn't smack of desperation. I suspect that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane looked at their team's sorry performance the last two weeks and figured they weren't a title contender, so jumped at the chance to yank Taylor.
Word is, they felt Tyrod Taylor was unsuited to be a pocket passer in Rick Dennison's offense. Did they really need nine games to figure that out? McDermott had to know when he took over. Every coordinator wants a QB who can stand in the pocket and go through his reads.
Despite Taylor's flaws, it's hard to believe McDermott felt Peterman gives them a better to chance to win road games against the Chargers and Chiefs. If there's desperation here, it's management's urgent need to audition Peterman, so they have a clearer idea what to do in the draft.
When McDermott talks about helping his team win, I think he's referring to the future, when they're a real contender. He and Beane were probably as surprised as anyone at the 5-2 start. The likely scenario had Peterman replacing Taylor after the team got off to a bad start.
They'd never admit it, but I'm guessing they didn't want to sneak into the playoffs with Taylor, making it more politically difficult to move on from him after the season.
Rick McGuire asks: Wasn't the Bills offense under Tyrod Taylor at least partly responsible for the poor play of the defense the last two games?
Sully: It didn't help. Quick possessions have been a persistent problem with Taylor as the quarterback. The Bills are eighth in percentage of possessions that go three-and-out this season. Last year, they were seventh. In 2015, they had the most three-and-outs in the NFL.
It tends to wear on a defense when the offense doesn't sustain drives and puts the D back out on the field. It was noticeable at times last year, especially in second halves of games when the defense seemed spent.
But the defense was terrible when it was rested in the last two losses. The Jets marched to a touchdown on the second possession of the game and the first possession of the second half. The Saints drove to TDs on their opening possession of the game and in the second half.
Jim Griffin asks: Is Tyrod's performance against the Saints the worst by a Bills QB? I don't recall anyone throwing for under 50 yards in a game.
Sully: Don't sell him short. Taylor threw for 56 yards against the Saints. But it's a great question. I was so fascinated, I looked it up.
It was the fewest yards passing by a Bills QB (with at least 15 attempts) since Rob Johnson threw for 44 in a 33-6 home loss to the Dolphins in 2000. Johnson went 6 for 18 that day. He threw two interceptions and was sacked five times. Taylor threw one pick and was sacked twice.
But to my mind, the worst QB performance during the drought was by Drew Bledsoe in a 29-6 Sunday night loss at New England in 2004. Bledsoe went 8 of 19 for 76 yards with three interceptions. One of the picks was by Troy Brown, a wide receiver who had been forced into emergency duty in the secondary. Ah, memories.
Ron Guido asks: We're seeing stories calling the 2018 Draft the weakest since 2013. It doesn’t bode well for a team stockpiling picks. Thoughts?
Sully: I don't put too much stock in those projections about the strength of drafts. The experts will label a draft class as poor and it'll turn out to be very good. Sometimes, the opposite happens.
What happened to this draft being the best for quarterbacks since the famous one of 1983? Suddenly, the smart guys are souring on many of the presumed studs, including Sam Darnold of USC. Could half a season of college games transform people's opinions so radically?
I wonder if the perceived QB decline influenced the Bills. Could it be they're no longer convinced they'll get a quarterback in the draft, and felt they had to get a long look at Peterman to find out if he's the guy?
@Sportsworld716 asks: Do you think Judge deserved to be the American League MVP?
Sully: I was surprised that it was so one-sided, with Jose Altuve receiving 27 of 30 first-place votes. Some voters went with Altuve because they figured Judge would be content with the Rookie of the Year award. It's weak, flawed logic, but voters fall for it.
Judge led the AL in homers, runs and walks. He led the Yankees to an unexpected playoff spot. Aside from a slump after the All-Star Game, he was the catalyst for the offense and was more valuable to his lineup than Altuve was to a deeper Astros offense.
I'm radical in my belief that starting pitchers should be the MVP more often. I don't vote, but I probably would have gone for Cleveland's Corey Kluber, who was virtually unbeatable and whose ERA was .65 better than any other starter in the league.
lebronstein asks: Most memorable dunk you have ever seen live?
Sully: That's easy. It has to be Michael Jordan's perfect 50 from the foul line in the 1988 All-Star Game dunk contest at old Chicago Stadium. I was covering at courtside for Newsday and swore Jordan defied gravity after his initial descent.
Locally, it was Julius Page's baseline jam over Charlie Comerford in Turner/Carroll's win over Timon in 1998-99. My editor said I overreacted. Two years later, Page was dunking for Pittsburgh on ESPN highlights.