As expected, the Buffalo Bills slgned quarterback Derek Anderson to a one-year deal on Monday. What it signals as far as Josh Allen’s future is certain to be the topic du jour around watering holes in Western New York the rest of this week. Sean McDermott also indicated the Bills plan to keep Nathan Peterman on the roster as well.
Has the Josh Era come to an abrupt end? A temporary pause? What are we to make of this latest development in terms of how the Bills will move forward at the quarterback position?
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Anderson might see playing time, but his tweet was later amended to add that “playing time” would occur in the event of an injury. Given that Allen’s been sacked more than a mountain of Idaho potatoes, it’s reasonable to assume any back up quarterback in Buffalo might see the field at some point this season.
So exactly what will Derek Anderson do and/or be able to provide as mentor for Josh Allen?
With Brian Daboll up in the booth calling plays, Allen has been left with the inexperienced Nathan Peterman and quarterbacks coach David Culley on the sideline during games. There’s no one who can be a better guide on the sidelines for Allen than a veteran quarterback.
It would have been great if Jordan Palmer wanted to do the job, but his playing days are behind him. Derek Anderson knows he’s one play away from being the starting quarterback, especially with a vulnerable rookie. Besides, if you listen to Palmer, he doesn’t want to live the lifestyle of an NFL coach. Palmer is probably happy being a consultant and would make himself available to Allen anytime on a consulting basis anyway.
As helpful as Peterman has likely been for Josh, there’s no substitute for experience and Anderson has 12 years under his belt, seven as a mentor/backup for Cam Newton. So Derek is ideally suited to help Josh get up to speed because Cam Newton has many of the same attributes as Allen in terms of size and arm strength.
Anderson also understands the pace of the regular season and can help Allen weather the inevitable ups and downs that occur during any rookie’s season. He can help Josh make the best use of his time for film study by showing him what types of things to look so Josh can maximize his productivity and not end up just watching endless loops of video with no sense of purpose.
With Anderson nearby, he will be able to communicate directly with Allen on the field during games. The best way for Josh to learn how to recognize defenses is in real time, so having someone with Derek’s experience right there, whose job is solely devoted to assisting Allen on the field during games is significant.
While Allen is busy implementing the play calls, Anderson will be another set of experienced eyes able to decipher disguises by opposing defenses. This will hopefully speed up Josh’s learning curve and allow him to develop confidence in what he’s seeing on the field as it happens.
There’s also a number of significant ‘intangibles’ Derek Anderson will bring to help Josh Allen adjust to playing quarterback in the NFL. Derek’s been around the block and knows how tough it can be emotionally on a young man trying to adapt to the NFL coming from a smaller college football program in Wyoming.
It will be interesting to see how the decision to sign Anderson is interpreted by fans and media pundits. So much of Josh Allen’s early career going back to before the draft has been filled with drama. Now adding Anderson to the mix is sure to keep ‘tongues wagging’.
Editor’s babble: The trials and tribulations of Josh Allen are like a Greek tragedy. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.