The excitement and intensity ramped up at St. John Fisher as day four of Buffalo Bills training camp concluded. The line to enter the facilities wrapped from the entrance around the corner and into the street as passionate members of Bills mafia waited patiently to get a glimpse of the team. The emotions and expectations differed greatly from what I heard in line, ranging from going to the Super Bowl to having a much less successful season. It felt great to be surrounded by the most passionate fanbase in the league once again, and to see Bills Mafia turn up in great numbers was heartwarming.
There was also a restlessness surrounding who would be the starting quarterback come September 9th. The battle between A.J. McCarron, Nathan Peterman, and Josh Allen took center stage as the loudest two cheers of the player entrances were Allen and Kyle Williams.
After the first day of practice, McCarron seemed to win the day. If you follow the Bills on Twitter, you saw his pass where he completed a lovely flag route to Kelvin Benjamin, which was arguably the play of the day. He looked good in the individual drills and showed his experience under center in the live scrimmages.
However, after day three, I see what scouts saw in Josh Allen, both the good and the bad. Everyone in the stadium wanted to see his fabled arm, and a majority of eyes were on him during offensive drills. He missed some receivers glaringly in warmups with no defenders around, which was met by growns by the fans. But when a defense was put in front of him, he showed out. One of his first throws was a dime to Kaelin Clay that was taken in for a touchdown, much to the pleasure of the crowd.
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He then hit Cam Phillips on a post route over the middle on his next throw, and followed that with a back shoulder hitch to Phillips along the sideline for around 12 yards.
However, he did manage to throw two interceptions. One was a corner route where the safety broke on the ball and made a terrific play on a slightly underthrown ball. The other came on another flag route to Benjamin in the corner of the end zone. The ball was right in his hands, but he could not coralle it, tipped it up and as he did so often last season, Jordan Poyer picked it off.
My main takeaway from the quarterback battle is this: I do not envy Sean McDermott and the rest of the staff for having to pick a starter from the group. McCarron had flashes of brilliance, Peterman was consistent and steady, and Allen was electric at some points and humbling and others.
I have little doubt that Josh Allen is the future quarterback for the Bills and I am excited to see what the staff chooses to do with him. Will they treat him like Mitch Trubisky and let him start really early on? Or will they treat him more like Patrick Mahomes and let him take everything in for a year before giving him the keys to the kingdom? I do not have the answer, but the staff has my unwavering support in whatever choice they make.