Sully's Mailbag: Anderson can be Mentor to Bills' Josh Allen

JerrySullivan

It’s hard to beat this time of year in pro sports. Next Tuesday, the NBA season gets under way. For about two weeks, all four major pro sports will be playing for real. Next Thursday, assuming the ALCS doesn’t end in a sweep, all four will be in action on the same night.

At 8 p.m., the Bulls and Sixers tip it off on TNT. At 8:09, there’s the likely first pitch of Game 5 between the Red Sox and Astros on TBS. At 8:20, the Broncos kick off in Arizona on FOX. If Buffalo fans are still awake, they can tune in to the Sabres game at San Jose at 10:30 on MSG.

A full four-sport smorgasbord is only possible on three dates: Oct. 18 Oct. 21 and Oct. 28. They’re all contingent on baseball series not ending early. Bills fans won’t have to deal with a potential conflict when the Pats come to town on Monday night, Oct. 29. That’s an off day between Games 6 and 7 of the World Series. This week’s Mailbag:

Paul Ante asks: Is it really the job of one player to mentor another? Isn’t that what coaches are supposed to be doing? I, of course, am referring to Derek Anderson.

Sully: Ultimately, it’s the job of the coaches to lead and teach young players. But it’s naive to think that older players can’t help by imparting their hard-earned knowledge to kids. Anderson has been in the league for 13 years. He’s seen it all and can certainly help Josh Allen.

Patrick Mahomes has given Alex Smith a lot of credit for mentoring him last year in Kansas City. I’m not sure Mahomes couldn’t have played earlier (and maybe won a playoff game), but there’s no question that Smith was an integral part of the process of Mahomes’ maturation.

Heck, veterans can be mentors. Frank Reich was an invaluable resource for Jim Kelly when he was backing up Kelly in Buffalo. Reich had a keen intellectual grasp of the position (while Kelly was an athletic genius). Kelly has said many times that Reich helped him become a better QB.

Of course, mentoring is one thing and playing is another. I think it’s foolish to suggest that Anderson could replace Allen as the starter at some point this season. Allen is the future. Anderson is a marginal backup who was out of a job last week. Teachers teach, as they say.

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Steve Tripi asks: Given Brady's domination of the AFC East, is it fair to assume #Bills have about 3 years left to figure out their long-term answer at quarterback?

Sully: I’ve learned never to sell Brady short. He wants to play into his mid-40s and he shows no signs of slowing down. But three years is a bit much. I’d say the Bills can be serious contenders for the division in the 2020 season if Allen is for real and Brandon Beane stacks another solid draft or two.

Brady is 41. Only two quarterbacks have ever thrown for 3,000 yards at that age — Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde. No one has done it at 42 or older. So Brady is moving into uncharted territory. It’s hard to imagine he won’t hit a wall, or at least approach one, when he’s 43 in two years.

Who knows? Maybe it can happen sooner. The Bills have lots of cash to spend next offseason. They have a promising core of young defensive players (Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, Harrison Phillips). If they can find some quality receivers and other depth players in free agency and the draft, they could make a run next season, if Brady and the Patriots slip. If

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Dan Miller asks: Who was Whaley’s best late-round draft pick(s) that compare to Taron Johnson (4th) & Milano (5th) ? I’m not giving him credit for Milano.

Sully: I wouldn’t give Whaley credit for the 2017 draft, either. He was fired the day after it ended. Sean McDermott was in charge. He gets credit for Milano. He also gets blame for trading out of the 10th overall pick and passing up on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Whaley didn’t have any real hits in the fourth round or later. Karlos Williams had a nice rookie year after being taken in the fifth round in 2015, but quickly smoked his way out of the NFL. Actually, the best late pick of Whaley’s three years as GM might have been offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson.

Henderson, a seventh- round pick in 2014, had a number of health issues, plus a history of marijuana use. But he resurrected his career in Houston and was starting for the Texans before a recent injury. Whaley was a prominent voice in personnel when the Bills took linebacker Nigel Bradham in the fourth round in 2012. Bradham is starting with the Eagles and won a Super Bowl ring last season.

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@garylo200 asks: Do you get the sense that McDermott is trying to save face with the Peterman situation? Or is he just plain stubborn?

Frank in Cheektowaga asks: Bills must have a plan to use Peterman at another position, right? Why else would they keep him on the roster?

Sully: I suspect that Sean McDermott’s ego was a factor in his decision to make Peterman the starting quarterback twice, with disastrous results. He drafted him, remember, and he wanted the world to know he didn’t make a mistake in picking him — and when he inserted him for Tyrod Taylor last season.

Peterman isn’t good enough to be a reliable backup in the NFL, never mind a starter. If he was Whaley’s guy, McDermott would have gotten rid of him by now. He probably would have cut him when they signed Derek Anderson, rather than keep Peterman on the roster instead of some depth defensive player.

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Moegavin1 asks: Do you miss real baseball or are strikeouts and home runs enough to keep you glued?

Sully: I love baseball, and I know things evolve. But at times, I do miss the game of my youth, when it wasn’t ruled by K’s and homers and a lot more balls were put in play, putting a greater premium on defense and speed.

Strikeouts increased this season for an astonishing 13th straight season, to an average of 8.47 per team per game. The incidence of whiffs has soared by more than 33 percent since 2005, when it was 6.30 per game.

Home runs dropped slightly after reaching an all-time high of 1.26 per game. They’re about 50 percent above the levels of a quarter century ago. More players are trying to elevate the ball and aren’t afraid to fan. Meanwhile, pitchers who throw in the mid-90s or above have soared, too.

For the first time in history, there were more strikeouts than hits in the 2018 season. I’m still glued, but I wonder if they’re losing the marginal fan.

Comments (6)
No. 1-2
RicoGarion
RicoGarion

The best thing the Bills have done for Allen is to bring in Anderson. Wouldn't you listen to a 14 year veteran? His experience alone, let alone the recognition of what defenses are trying to do to you. The Bills would be wise to find any way possible to protect their investment.

jp.
jp.

hey buddy. do you really expect anyone to be excited about denver - arizona on a thursday nite? buddy....


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