1 - Buffalo's rookie class rising up
The Bills selected six players in the 2017 NFL Draft. Those rookies have seen significant playing time through nine games. That'll only increase with quarterback Nathan Peterman behind center this Sunday.
Buffalo's rookies have combined for 21 starts in route to their 5-4 record. Peterman, a fifth-round pick, will add one to that list with his first career start against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Members of his rookie class expressed their excitement for him in wake of the news. Second-round pick, Dion Dawkins, noted how blocking for Peterman is different than blocking for Tyrod Taylor.
"Petey [Peterman] is just a stud. He does what he has to do," Dawkins said. "It's definitely different. He's more solid in the pocket. He doesn't do too much running around. Just knowing where he is in the pocket is definitely different."
Another second-round pick, Zay Jones, has spent more time with Peterman than most in the Bills locker room. Their relationship goes back further than the NFL Draft. The two were on the same team in the 2017 Senior Bowl. Jones and Peterman connected for a late touchdown in the game that nearly notched them a win.
"We were on the same team so it's crazy just how this has really progressed. I have a lot of confidence in Nate," said Jones. "I know he does in this football team as well so it's just time for us to draw together and come together because like I said earlier our goal is still in sight."
Add in what Tre'Davious White and Matt Milano have done on defense, and Tanner Vallejo's contributions on special teams and Buffalo's rookie class from 2017 has had a huge impact so far this season.
2 - How rookie QBs have fared in their first road start
Nathan Peterman's first NFL start will come on the road in Los Angeles this Sunday. Let's look at how recent rookie quarterbacks have performed in their first road starts.
The first overall pick in the 2016 draft, Jared Goff, made his first road start in New Orleans. He put up some impressive numbers. Goff completed 20-32 passes for 214 yards and threw three touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating was 100.4, but the Rams fell short 49-21.
Carson Wentz, who was selected second overall right after Goff, won his first road start in Chicago. He went 21-34 passing, threw for 190 yards, and tossed one touchdown with zero interceptions in route to a 29-14 victory.
A couple QBs from this year's draft class have walked away with wins after their first road trip. The first QB taken in the 2017 draft, Mitchell Trubisky, earned a 27-24 win in Baltimore. He completed 8-16 passes, resulting in 113 yards and one touchdown. Trubisky's passer rating was 94.0 in the Bears victory.
First-round pick, Deshaun Watson, took the league by storm prior to tearing his ACL. He didn't put up whopping numbers in his first road start, but did manage a 13-9 win in Cincinnati. Watson completed 15-24 passes for 125 yards and had a passer rating of 75.9. In his final road game before his injury he threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns.
These first and second year QBs didn't put up eye-popping numbers in their first starts on the road, but most of them did walk away victorious. That's exactly what Peterman will look to do in Los Angeles on Sunday.
3 - Coleman take prides in run defense
The Bills made a move on Tuesday to bolster the interior of their defensive line. The team brought back defensive tackle Deandre Coleman and released Jerel Worthy.
Buffalo's run defense has done a complete 360 the past two weeks. They went from being a top-three unit to allowing 492 rushing yards to the Jets and Saints. That's an area where Coleman can benefit the team.
"I pride myself in stopping the run. Playing the run well," he said. "I still try to work on my pass rushing, but I know for a fact I can play the run pretty good."
The 6-5, 341-pound defensive tackle at the very least will be a large presence on the D-line. It's unclear if Coleman will be active against the Chargers, but he's ready for the opportunity.
"Anything to get back on the field and help the team," he said. "Whatever they ask me, whatever role I play, I'm just ready to get back to making some plays and helping the team win."
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