In a surprise move on Wednesday, Nathan Peterman was named the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills against the Los Angeles Chargers. Head Coach Sean McDermott was noncommittal about the permanency of this move, with some fans expecting the outcome of his first start to be the deciding factor on when he’ll get a second.
Every fan of the Buffalo Bills should be rooting (and hard) for Peterman to be successful this week, helping the team come home from their West Coast trip with a victory. With the 2017 season already filled with plenty of reasons for an emotional roller coaster, fans should be prepared to put a hand on their knee to prevent the possible jerking reaction.
Reacting is exactly what the Chargers have to do, though. With the move announced Wednesday, it comes after a large chunk of the preparation period for the Los Angeles coaching staff. Game plans and strategy used to defend against Tyrod Taylor will now be mostly void. More importantly, the timing of the announcement makes it difficult, if not impossible, to fully install a “Nathan Peterman” defense.
While the original game plan could be adjusted, a crucial complication comes into the mix when prepping for Peterman. With no starts to his name, and two drives of “might as well try the kid” last week to go on, tendency evaluations will be difficult to say the least. Peterman is also in his rookie year, with coaching staff that is similarly getting their feet wet. Preseason film is unlikely to shed much additional light on Peterman or the preferences from the coaching staff with him in the lineup.
On a more personal note, Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn spent the last two seasons in Buffalo on the offensive side of the ball. Last year saw him fill in as the Offensive Coordinator starting in Week three and later the interim Head Coach. Lynn should have vast knowledge of what Tyrod Taylor brings to the table and how to counter. This will not be the case for Nathan Peterman.
Switching gears in the middle of the week will definitely make it more difficult for Lynn and his coaching staff, but it will also be difficult for Bills fans to not overreact if Peterman plays well against a scrambling defensive game plan (or even if he doesn’t).