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Josh Allen's pretty TD gets Bills QB competition off and running

The highlight of Thursday's Buffalo Bills practice was a 30-yard bullet rookie quarterback Josh Allen threw for a touchdown to receiver Ray-Ray McCloud.

It was a perfect rope, and the fired-up Bills No. 1 draft pick ran to congratulate his fellow rookie.

"In my opinion there's nothing better than throwing touchdowns," said Allen, offering a quote that Bills fans hope they hear many times in the future.

"So even in practice, it gets the juices flowing a little bit," Allen said. "So I just wanted to go out there and let him know he ran a really good route. He did what he's supposed to do."

Welcome to the first dispatch from the Bills' quarterback competition, which likely is going to last into early September.

For the record, Allen spent the first week of organized team activity practices as the No. 3 quarterback. AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman have been splitting the snaps as No. 1.

On Thursday, Peterman took almost all the snaps with the first unit.

How are they all getting along? Swimmingly.

"They're two great dudes," McCarron said. "Nate's like a walking angel. He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Josh has been awesome to work with. I'm trying to help him however I can. We have a really good room."

Spring practices are more about teaching and installing the offensive system than critically evaluating on-field performance. The competition for starting jobs doesn't begin in earnest until training camp.

Nevertheless, none of the three QBs stood out as being especially off target.

Allen probably had the second-best pass of the day, as well, hitting running back Travaris Cadet on a 40-yard TD pass down the left sideline.

Allen's reaction to his first three days of NFL practice: "The game just moves a little bit faster. It's not that these guys run so much faster or they're so much bigger than the guys in college. It's that they're smarter. They know where they need to be. They get the route recognition a lot faster, a lot quicker. They're jumping on balls now. And we've got guys who are fantastic players."

Peterman had some on-rhythm connections over the middle to Charles Clay, Brandon Reilly and Kelvin Benjamin. He also had an underthrow off Nick O'Leary's hands that Jordan Poyer intercepted on a diving catch.

All three QBs said they relish the competition.

"The biggest thing is I've always been a competitor," Peterman said. "Even last year, no matter what your role is, I was always competing to be the starter. I've done that my whole career and been in competitive situations. I think I thrive in those."

All three also are starting from scratch in learning the new system of coordinator Brian Daboll, along with getting used to a lot of new receivers.

"That's the great thing about the NFL, it's a new team every year," Peterman said. "You've got to build your identity at this stage, especially, during OTAs and then into camp. It's a new team every year, and it's exciting to get a fresh start."

Only two veterans – defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and cornerback Vontae Davis – were absent from Thursday's workout.

Coach Sean McDermott was appreciative of the strong attendance at the voluntary workout.

"We’re right around full participation, which is phenomenal this time of year," McDermott said. "I can’t say enough about how much of a team effort that is from everyone around the building and the players in order to get here and stay here and put in the work."

Meanwhile, offensive line is another unit with a lot of competition for starting jobs, since veterans Eric Wood and Richie Incognito are gone from last season.

The first-team OL was: Dion Dawkins, John Miller, Russell Bodine, Vlad Ducasse and Jordan Mills.

The second-team OL: Marshall Newhouse, De'Ondre Wesley, Ryan Groy, Wyatt Teller and Conor McDermott.

With Lotulelei out, rookie Harrison Phillips started next to Kyle Williams at defensive tackle. Shaq Lawson and Trent Murphy rotated at defensive end opposite Jerry Hughes.

Rookie Tremaine Edmunds took all the snaps with the starting unit at middle linebacker.

With Davis out, new veteran Phillip Gaines started at cornerback opposite Tre'Davious White.

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