It was a long and arduous process that covered several months, before head coach Sean McDermott decided on Nate Peterman as his starting quarterback. Though there were two other signal callers competing with Peterman, for the second-year QB, the road to the starting job dealt much more with personal self-improvement than anything else.
"It was a goal accomplished for sure. I definitely set some high goals this year," Peterman said. "This was one of them and I want to keep accomplishing those. Obviously, I'm excited. I'm very thankful. It's a great opportunity. I definitely worked really hard to try to get myself in this position. I think all the work is still in front of me."
There's no denying that of the three quarterback candidates, Peterman had overcome the most. His teammates recognized that as well.
"I think it started after Peterman hit the adversity (in Los Angeles last season)," said his draft classmate Dion Dawkins. "I just saw a steady pace. He didn't get down. He didn't beat himself up. He just kept climbing day after day and it paid off.
"L.A. is where it all started. Peterman was on an incline and then it went to a decline in that game. I was a rookie with him at that time and knowing the ups and downs of ball, that could have eaten him alive. He could've beaten himself up and he didn't. He caught himself and went step after step after step after step. I'm just happy that Peterman kept climbing and now he's our starting quarterback."
"Nate was here last year. He's been here all spring and taken the steps that he needed to take to be the guy," said Kyle Williams. "He's a tough guy. A resilient guy. I would hate to think I would be judged from one half of one game from my rookie year going forward. I've seen a lot of growth in Nate and he's gone out and earned it and done it the right way. I'm looking forward to watching him to go out and perform."
“I believe he is a resilient young man. He has certainly come through some times of adversity throughout his career. He is still a young player and I have been impressed with his mental toughness, his command of the offense, the way he has generated yards and points in the preseason and the way he has developed to this point. Head Coach Sean McDermott
Head coach Sean McDermott is big on a player's character, and one's character is often revealed in the most trying of circumstances. It's clear that the combination of Peterman's play and character was what resonated with his head coach.
"I believe he is a resilient young man. He has certainly come through some times of adversity throughout his career," McDermott said. "He is still a young player and I have been impressed with his mental toughness, his command of the offense, the way he has generated yards and points in the preseason and the way he has developed to this point. I think that character trait is a great trait to have in terms of being a resilient young man."
Peterman believes his willingness to battle back in trying times is the single biggest reason he has reached this point as a second-year player.
"I think it's helped in my entire career," he said. "I think as a quarterback you go through ups and downs. That's just the way the position goes. Nothing is over. This is just a start to a long journey and I've got to keep doing that."
Dawkins saw a noticeable change in Peterman's game this past spring. A change that carried right into training camp and the preseason.
"Confidence. He was playing with a stronger purpose," said Dawkins. "Everything is better. Just his demeanor as a person. He's just strong, powerful, demanding. When Peterman talks you listen. He's our quarterback. Peterman is my guy."
Peterman is known as the consummate teammate. He's always willing to help anyone with anything pertaining to the offense, even rookie teammate Josh Allen. But when it comes to being Peterman's opponent, much like Baltimore on Sunday, Dawkins said there is a fire that burns in Buffalo's starting quarterback.
"Kill or be killed," Dawkins said. "Watch yourself. Petey is coming."