Buckle up, Bills fans, because the Nathan Peterman Experience might be taking off again.
Quarterback Derek Anderson suffered a concussion Monday night against the New England Patriots, coach Sean McDermott announced Tuesday. With rookie Josh Allen already ruled out for the Week 9 home game against the Chicago Bears, the Bills might be forced into playing Peterman, the only healthy quarterback on the roster.
“We’re going to support Nathan if, in fact, he is called upon to play,” McDermott said. “We’re going to support him with everything we’ve got. We expect him to go out there and execute, and execute at a high level.”
That’s something Peterman has never been able to do at the NFL level. He was benched in the season opener against Baltimore, then threw the game-deciding pick-six in Week 6 against Houston in relief of Allen. McDermott stopped short of confirming Peterman will start, saying "we’ll see where things stand as we go through the week with Derek, and then we’ll take it from there.”
Recovery time for concussions can vary greatly. Running back LeSean McCoy, for example, suffered one in Week 7 at Indianapolis, but was able to play against the Patriots. Still, with a short week, it’s unlikely that Anderson will get anything close to the normal amount of starting reps a quarterback usually gets in practice — if he’s able to participate at all.
“He’s built up some familiarity over the last couple of weeks, so I think the best approach is just to take it one day at a time and see how he comes in tomorrow and go from there,” McDermott said.
Given the uncertainty around Anderson’s injury, the Bills might be forced to sign another quarterback to serve as Peterman’s backup.
“That’s something we’re going to look at because of Derek’s situation, as well as Josh’s situation,” McDermott said. General Manager Brandon Beane “and I have talked about that, and we’ll be on top of that.”
To that end, a league source confirmed to The Buffalo News that quarterback Matt Barkley is scheduled to make a free-agent visit to the Bills this week.
Here’s where things stand in regards to the quarterback situation. McDermott was actually asked whether wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who signed with the team Tuesday, would be in consideration to play quarterback, as he did in college at Ohio State and at the start of his NFL career with Oakland. For what it’s worth, a league source tells The News that Pryor has been signed to play wide receiver.
As for Allen, he is still classified as week to week and has yet to throw a football since being hurt against the Texans, although McDermott said “he’s making good progress. We expect him to continue to do that at this point.”
Pryor’s signing was made official early Tuesday evening. To make room on the 53-man roster, cornerback Dontae Johnson was released. Pryor, 29, started the year with the Jets, but was released on Oct. 20. He was dealing with a tear in his groin that was expected to keep him out for a couple weeks. The Jets reportedly were interested in bringing Pryor back once he got healthy, but he was free to explore other opportunities.
A 6-foot-4, 228-pounder, Pryor had 14 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns in six games for the Jets. His yardage total is second on the Bills and his two touchdown catches are more than any Buffalo receiver has produced this year.
Pryor had a 1,000-yard receiving season with the Cleveland Browns in 2016, but he finished with just 20 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown in nine games with the Washington Redskins last season. He signed a one-year deal with the Jets worth up to $4.5 million back in March.
The NFL’s trade deadline came and went Tuesday without the Bills making a deal.
“It’s always the right player at the right time at the right situation,” McDermott said. “Never want to force anything if it wasn’t right. Brandon has most of those conversations. If it wasn’t right … as we move forward and try to build long-term success here, I don’t believe in trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. That’s not what we need. We need guys that are going to help us, and then help us build this thing.”
Defensive end Trent Murphy (knee) and running back Taiwan Jones (neck) remain week to week with their injuries, McDermott said.