Here we go

September 06, 2018 - 9:21 am

Change is a given in the National Football League. Players, managers and coaches all come and go. Of course that has been evident in Buffalo, where we've watched coaching regime after coaching regime get plowed under the weight of an almost incomprehensible playoff drought.

Well, of course, the playoff drought ended last year and generally it appears that the architects of that enjoy a very favorable approval rating. Head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane surprised many by dumping talented high-priced players on the way to a 9-7 record and the Bills' first playoff appearance since the 1999 season.

So the Bills, at least for the time being, have the appearance of stability up top, so no changes seem imminent on that front.

Where the Bills changed is at the most important position in the sport. Tyrod Taylor was traded and the decks were cleared for a second three-way quarterback competition in four years. When roster cut down day came and went, only Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen remained. A.J. McCarron was dealt to Oakland for a fifth round draft pick and off went the most experienced of the three. Granted, McCarron was hardly any sort of grizzled old vet. Still, the inexperience at the position is hard to ignore.

After showing signs of promise early in the preseason, Allen's chances of starting in Baltimore went off the rails in the third exhibition game when facing and playing with starters, the offense was a disaster.

Fortunately for McDermott, Peterman had a tremendous showing in the preseason and his being named the opening day starter passes the smell test. But make no mistake. After the way Peterman's debut went last season in Los Angeles, plenty of fans are waiting to pounce on this decision if it goes badly. Of course it doesn't have to go badly and I'm not at all assuming that it will.

It doesn't matter much anyway because Peterman's success or failure won't ultimately be what decides McDermott's long-range fate. That will likely come down to when Josh Allen goes in and how he looks when he does.

If Allen provides legitimate reason for optimism playing say, the back half of this season, then McDermott and Beane should continue to be on pretty solid footing moving forward. However, if Allen looks sketchy, the heat gets turned up on the men who picked him heading into the 2019 season. It's really as simple as that.

None of this is written as an attempt to predict the demise of McDermott and Beane. It's merely meant to point out that while we're currently enjoying the removal of the drought from all of our lives and maybe even not that worried about their record in 2018, the men who run the Bills are going to need Josh Allen to validate their faith in him.

The minute that starts to go sideways, seats start heating up, clocks start ticking and the appearance of stability gets taken out back.

That's the NFL.

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