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Nathan Peterman 'earned the right' to be starting QB

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The Buffalo Bills ended a summer-long quarterback competition naming Nathan Peterman the starter on Monday. While many spent the past few months scoffing at the idea of the second-year quarterback winning the starting gig, Peterman's coach believes the QB earned the job.

"I thought his total body of work all the way back from the spring through the summer and fall camp to this point, he has certainly earned the right," Sean McDermott said, via WGR Radio.

Peterman impressed during his preseason reps, completing an eye-popping 80.5 percent of his passes for 431 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and owned a 10.5 yards-per-pass average.

Despite looking like the most capable quarterback on the roster, many critics will never get over the five-turnover first half Peterman put up last season in his first career start. McDermott, however, believes the experience could make Peterman stronger.

"I believe he's a resilient young man," McDermott said. "He's certainly come through some times of adversity throughout his career. Look, he's still a young player. I've been impressed with his mental toughness, his command of the offense, the way he's generated yards and points in the preseason, as well, and the way he's developed to this point."

This past weekend's trade of AJ McCarron to Oakland narrowed the Bills' QB competition down to two: Peterman and No. 7 overall pick Josh Allen.

The Bills' decision to move forward with Peterman could be as much about the second-year quarterback winning the gig as it is about Allen not being ready to take over. The rookie's surprising admission after the third preseason game that he struggled to made quick adjustments displayed the need for Allen to spend more time learning.

The first-round pick doesn't view losing the starting job as a failure at this stage.

"No, not at all," he said, via the Buffalo News. "If you look around the league, rookie quarterbacks that start, it might not be Week 1, it might not be their first year. I think as long as you're able to take the mental reps that you're looking at in practice, you're doing the right things, you're developing a routine that a professional quarterback should have, that's what I'm trying to do right now. I'm still trying to learn this way of being a professional quarterback. I don't think it's a step back, and ultimately it's going to help me in my progression."

With one of the NFL's shallowest collections of offensive talent and a blocking unit poised to struggle, the decision to open the season with Peterman could be more about saving Allen's psyche early in his career than the rookie's preseason struggles. The Bills drafted the big-armed QB to be the future under center. He might not be ready Week 1, but at some point soon, Buffalo will be Allen's team. When that day comes depends on Peterman's play and Allen's improvement in practice.

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