In his first career start, Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions on 14 pass attempts. He was benched at halftime. In his second start, Peterman completed 50% of his passes1 for a total of 57 yards before leaving the game in the third quarter due to injury. On Sunday Peterman started for the third time in his NFL career. He completed five of 18 passes for 24 yards, two interceptions and a quarterback rating of zero. It was the type of horrible quarterbacking performance that keeps NFL coaches and executives up at night.

Coming off their first playoff appearance in nearly two decades, the Bills were riding a wave of positive momentum into the off-season but how they chose to handle that momentum was, let’s say, curious. The team decided, rather bizarrely, to chase Tyrod Taylor out of town, trashing the quarterback who got them to the playoffs in favor of trading multiple picks to draft the divisive Josh Allen. Whether or not you liked the selection of Allen, the Bills’ decision to take it slow with such a raw prospect was a sound one, especially after the team signed momentary-Browns-savior A.J. McCarron to be its bridge quarterback. And here’s where the wheels come off.

It’s almost too on the nose that the terror that follows starts with a horror movie character.

Only a week before the season began, the Bills traded McCarron to the Raiders for a draft pick, leaving the team with only Allen and Peterman at quarterback. But, as you’ll recall, the Bills were trying to shelter Allen from a premature starting role, so they were forced to turn to Peterman as their starter. Unfortunately for the Buffalo faithful, Peterman is—as we have previously discussed—miserably, obviously, maybe even historically terrible. His shortcomings as an NFL quarterback are so dramatic and pronounced that they should be clear to even the janitorial staff at the Bills’ practice facility.

And so we are forced to assume one of two things about Sean McDermott, Brandon Beane and the Buffalo front office: Either they are tanking, which doesn’t make sense seeing as they’ve already secured their quarterback of the future and should now be trying to “build a winner” around him, or the entire front office and coaching staff are so painfully, irreparably bad at their jobs that they should all be fired immediately. Because if the Bills aren’t tanking—and it sure doesn’t seem like they are—then they should be trying to win games. And if that’s the case how can they possibly justify starting Peterman—he of the 43% career completion rate—when a much, much better quarterback is available to them?

Specifically this guy.

Simply put: They can’t. If you’re trying to win games in the NFL, there’s no good reason to start Peterman when Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned. No matter what you think of his politics, when measured against the likes of Peterman, Kaepernick is a vastly superior quarterback and by choosing to start Peterman, the Bills are either proving that the league’s teams are colluding to keep Kaepernick out of the NFL or that the league’s front offices are filled with cowards who would rather do a shitty job at their jobs than risk being on the butt end of one of the President’s incoherent tweet storms.2 No matter which answer is correct, it’s a bad look for the NFL and, with each and every Peterman pick, it’s only going to get worse.

  1. To the right team!
  2. Hey, “They Just Don’t Want Him Because He’s a Distraction” guy, I hear you out there. But here’s the thing: What negative impact is that distraction going to have? The Bills just got blown out by 44 points. A few extra reporters in the locker room aren’t making this team any worse.

Brennan Quenneville is an editor and contributor at The Read Option. He can also be found at his blog and at Type In Stereo, where he is a contributor.

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