The Bills quarterback room will look the same in 2019 as it did at the close of the 2018 season. A little more than a week after Buffalo re-signed QB Matt Barkley to an extension, the Bills did the same with Derek Anderson.
Anderson signed a one-year deal with the Bills the day after the 2018 season ended Monday.
Originally signed in emergency fashion on Oct. 9th after Josh Allen went down with an elbow injury in Week 6, Anderson made two starts for Buffalo in Weeks 7 and 8. He completed 60 percent of his passes in the two losses as the veteran QB worked to learn on the fly.
But Anderson’s chief role in his return to the club for the 2019 campaign is to continue to mentor Josh Allen and help to develop his game.
“D.A.’s been a great addition to our football team for a wide variety of reasons,” said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll of Anderson.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott and the offensive staff quickly recognized the chemistry in Buffalo’s quarterback room over the second half of the season after Matt Barkley arrived following the injury to Anderson in Week 9.
The experience of Anderson and Barkley served to shorten Josh Allen’s learning curve, as the rookie quarterback made noticeable advancements with his game when he returned to the lineup in Week 12.
“There’s a lot of good conversation in that room,” said Daboll in reference to his quarterbacks. “There are different levels of experience. Matt was the number one recruit in the country, and then he went to a big-time school. D.A.’s been in the league for 14-plus years and played in a variety of teams, a variety of offenses. Both of those guys have a very good understanding of defense, have a good understanding of system. We have really good conversations, whether it’s about protections, maybe some route schemes.
“And then Josh, for a young player, is smart. He talks with those guys. There’s a lot of good communication. There are no egos. Everybody’s pulling in the same direction. If someone has something to offer or we can do something better, we all work together.”
It’s likely that having the same quarterback room for 2019 is something that Josh Allen wanted too, knowing how much he felt his game benefited by having Anderson and Barkley by his side to school him up on the NFL game with each passing week this season.
“They’ve taught me a lot,” said Allen of Anderson and Barkley. “From the time I got hurt in the Houston game to the point now, I definitely feel like I’m a better quarterback because of them. I’ve learned a lot from them, just kind of how they carry themselves, how they attack practice, how they execute in games. For me to see that, that was huge for me and I appreciate what they’ve done for me.”