The Buffalo Bills' quarterback competition took another turn Monday evening.
The team announced that rookie quarterback Josh Allen will start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals in the third preseason game — traditionally the dress rehearsal for teams as they prepare for the regular season.
The announcement came after Allen worked with the starters at practice in the morning, a development that on its own added another layer of intrigue to the battle for No. 1.
"We’re staying with the rotation," coach Sean McDermott said. "Nate (Peterman) had the 'ones' yesterday; Josh will have them today. We’re just with the rotation at this point. … After today, we’ll start to move into a little bit of a blend of a normal week as we prepare. Our players can get acclimated to the routine of a normal, regular-season week. We've got some new players who haven’t been around us in terms of that routine, so we try and expose them to that."
So the Bills march on with their quarterback competition, minus veteran AJ McCarron, who remains out of practice with a right shoulder injury.
"The competitions are still open and will be until they’re not, basically, as training camp unfolds," McDermott said.
The coach did not have much of an update on McCarron’s status, saying, "Nothing really new, but we’re still working through some things here."
The Buffalo News learned Monday evening from a league source that additional testing revealed that McCarron did not suffer a hairline fracture in his collarbone against the Browns. McCarron was seen working out in the Bills’ facility after practice Monday.
McCarron is expected to return to practice soon, according to a league source, lessening the chances the Bills might be forced to add another quarterback to the active roster.
General Manager "Brandon (Beane) and I have spoken about it," McDermott said. "Like always, he’s always looking at our situation and what we may need to do for not only the long term, but the short term in this case. We’ll see."
In addition to McCarron, running back LeSean McCoy did not practice Monday because of a sore groin, according to a team spokesman. Safety Kelcie McCray also did not practice, while defensive end Trent Murphy was fully dressed but working off to the side with a trainer while the team went through positional drills. Wide receiver Brandon Reilly was in a red non-contact jersey as he continues to recover from an injury to his ribs.
Defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who is week to week with a knee injury, was working with a trainer as the team practiced on the grass fields outside the ADPRO Sports Training Center.
With the Bills hosting the Bengals on Sunday, McDermott was asked how aware he was of what fans have done for Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton’s foundation after he helped Buffalo earn a playoff berth last year with a last-minute touchdown pass to beat the Ravens. Bills fans responded by donating more than $400,000 to the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation — which helps sick children and kids with special needs.
Last Wednesday, Dalton announced he will reciprocate with a donation of his own to the pediatric department at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. It plans to donate a "Mobile Locker" for kids awaiting treatment at the outpatient pediatric clinic. The morning of the game, Jordan Dalton, the quarterback's wife, and another representative of the foundation plan to also make a cash contribution to the Angel Fund, which benefits all cancer patients at Roswell.
"Just what a strong moment, man," McDermott said. "It gives me chills just to think about it. So many times, and you guys are around the league, you get [the sense that] this is that team, and this team, and you kind of get on your own individual island and everyone is on their own island and team. What a great testament to paying it forward and what Andy and his wife have decided to do and give back to our community that gave to them. I think it just really embodies what Buffalo is all about and speaks to the man and the family that the Daltons are."
So does that mean McDermott will blitz less Sunday?
'We'll see," the coach said with a laugh.