Bills QB Matt Barkley in the mix to start against Jets
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s status remains uncertain. Derek Anderson is out. And that means it might be Matt Barkley time for Buffalo.
Barkley is suddenly in the mix to start against the New York Jets on Sunday, some 10 days after Buffalo signed the journeyman to serve as an emergency backup.
Coach Sean McDermott on Friday backed off his previous commitment of having turnover-prone backup Nathan Peterman start against the Jets if Allen and Anderson can’t play. Asked about the possibility of Peterman starting, McDermott sidestepped the question by saying he preferred to keep the focus on Allen.
That’s a switch from Monday, when McDermott said Peterman would be the starter.
Anderson will miss his second game due to a concussion .
Allen is listed as questionable on Buffalo’s injury report. He’s been out since spraining his right throwing elbow in a 20-13 loss at Houston on Oct. 14. Allen began testing his arm last week , and practiced on a limited basis for the past three days.
“We’re going to continue to take it one day at a time here,” McDermott said of Allen. “It comes down to No. 1, a medical decision and making sure we’re doing everything right in terms of the priority of being his health and functionality from a football standpoint.”
One consideration is Allen benefiting from an additional break with Buffalo entering its bye week after playing the Jets.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Barkley is being considered ahead of Peterman, but a final decision hasn’t yet been made. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because McDermott did not reveal the team’s plans.
The Bills are 2-7 and have lost four straight.
Peterman has thrown seven interceptions in four appearances this season, including three in a 41-9 loss to Chicago last weekend.
The Bills signed Barkley on Oct. 30. He is on his sixth team in six seasons, and hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game since 2016, when he started six games with the Chicago Bears. Barkley was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals in September after hurting his knee in a preseason game.
“We’re all in the mix to start. You could be out there, we never know,” Barkley said with a laugh, referring to a reporter.
“I’m a little bit surprised of how quickly I was able to pick up this stuff,” he added, after taking additional snaps after practice and being the last quarterback to leave the field. “It’s really like riding a bike. You get a little sweat going and it’s go time. You’ve done it for years, so I should be good to go.”
Barkley was selected by Philadelphia in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, and spent his first two seasons there. Overall, he has a 1-5 record as a starter and has gone 159 for 266 for 1,911 yards with eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 11 career appearances.
“It hasn’t maybe been the plan I signed up for when I thought of going to the NFL,” Barkley said of his numerous pro stops. “But from what I’ve been able to learn along the way, I think I’m in a great spot right now.”
Barkley would become the fourth quarterback to start for the Bills this season, and third in three weeks.
The carousel at quarterback has contributed to the offense’s season-long struggles. Buffalo has scored two touchdowns in its past four games, eight overall, and has an NFL-worst 96 points.
Running back LeSean McCoy is familiar with Barkley from when the two played in Philadelphia.
“He’s intelligent. He’ll have a tough time because they’re a good defense and it’s a fresh start, but I don’t think it’s nothing he can’t handle,” McCoy said. “We’ll support him. We’ll be behind him. I’m sure he’ll have a good game. It’ll be a tough matchup. It’s a good defense.”
Starting tight end Charles Clay was ruled out after hurting his hamstring last weekend. Defensive end Trent Murphy will miss his third game with a knee injury. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (concussion), running back Chris Ivory (shoulder) and receiver Andre Holmes (neck) are listed as questionable.