The tests done on Buffalo Bills quarterback AJ McCarron's injured shoulder have not been conclusive, coach Sean McDermott told reporters in Orchard Park on Sunday.
McCarron suffered a hairline fracture in his right collarbone after taking a hit in Buffalo's preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, The News reported on Friday. McDermott said he was unaware of whether the former Alabama signal-caller will need to undergo a procedure.
"We had some tests yesterday. We're going to do some more," McDermott said. "We're in the process of seeking a second opinion. We have no further updates at this point."
So what does an injury mean for the quarterback battle? McDermott wasn't willing to comment on that, but did say the competition will pick up where it left off if McCarron is healthy. Nathan Peterman took the first snap of Sunday's practice, but the Bills didn't go into 11-on-11 drills while practice was open to the media.
"I have a great appreciation, and I think our team does as well, of Nate's toughness," McDermott said prior to practice. "He's driven to compete and he loves to compete. I think there is a steadiness about Nate that is important at that position, at quarterback, but also one that his teammates can appreciate."
McDermott said he's not feeling pressure to name a starter but does want to establish continuity at some point. Still, he wasn't ready to put a timetable on the team making its pick of McCarron, Peterman or Josh Allen.
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said the receiving group is trying to remain in a business as usual mindset even with one of the three quarterbacks they've been working with sidelined. He doesn't want the wideouts to be an unreliable variable in the competition.
"For myself and the receiving room, I'm just telling the guys to go out there and just be accountable for these guys," Benjamin said. "Just come down with every catch for them. ... It's hard to not try to think about it, AJ is a great teammate, man, but we've got to keep going and keep pushing."
McCarron had a difficult first start with the Bills on Friday, getting consistently battered by Cleveland's first-team defensive line. Buffalo went three-and-out on all four McCarron-led drives. He left after a quarter of work, going 3 for 6 for 12 yards.
"Overall, I think there were some plays, much like Josh and Nathan, that AJ would like back and there were some moments where he was spot on," McDermott said. "There's work to do, improvements to be made."
While Peterman accumulated the best stat line (8 for 10 for 113 yards and a touchdown), Allen was clearly the biggest story of the Bills' second preseason game. He looked poised as he led Buffalo to three scoring drives, throwing for 60 yards and a touchdown on 9 of 13 passing while working with both the first and second teams.
"I love the fact that he seems to have earned the respect of his teammates, the trust of his teammates," McDermott said. "That's important, not only in the evaluation but also in that position, in every position, but particularly the quarterback position. ... That's an important part of his development in the early stages."
"I asked him early on, 'You get nervous?'" Benjamin said. "He was like, 'Nah, I don't really get nervous.' I was like, 'Dang, you're better than me because my rookie year I was kind of nervous.' I feel like he controlled the huddle."
Safety Micah Hyde has seen Allen from the other side of the ball in practice and has been impressed with his consistency as of late. The second-year Bill said Allen left himself open for turnovers in OTAs by throwing such an unpredictable hard ball, making his passes prone to tips. With time, the accuracy has increased and receivers are getting passes right to their stomachs.
Hyde said he's seen steps in his mental game as well, even ones that remind him of one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
"I got to play against Aaron Rodgers for multiple years and he kinda dissects the defense before the play," Hyde said. "He listened. I think that's the biggest thing. He listens to the down right, down left calls. He listens to all the calls that the defense is making and Josh actually did that today, which is pretty impressive. ... From there he was able to know exactly what we were in and make the throw."
Allen's performance against Cleveland, which also included 18 yards on the ground, had many both in Buffalo and nationally wondering if he was starting to separate from the bunch.
"I can understand why people would say that," McDermott said. "There was a lot to be positive about. I love the excitement around it. That said, let's just manage expectations. He's a young player. Let's just take it one day at a time for now. A lot to be learned still going into the third week of the preseason."
McDermott said punter Cory Carter, who was carted off Friday after being run into in the third quarter, is out for the season with an ACL tear. Buffalo designated him as waived/injured following practice. Carter, a Texas Southern alum, was on the Bills' practice roster last season.
That leaves expected starter Colton Schmidt as the only punter on the roster.
Defensive end Trent Murphy, who missed Friday's game with a groin injury, is still day-to-day. He did work on the side of the field during practice, including footwork drills and time on the stationary bike, with strength and conditioning coaches. Safety Kelcie McCray also did not practice with the team.
Wide receiver Brandon Reilly wore a red non-contact uniform but participated in drills with the rest of the position group.