After witnessing the horror show that was Josh Allen’s first career start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, its clear the Buffalo Bills cannot enter the season with the rookie under center.


First off, let me be clear: This has more to do with the team’s surrounding cast than it has to do with Allen himself.

While he’s still extremely raw and needs a lot of work before he’s ready to shine consistently, the real issue is that Buffalo features a porous offensive line that has gotten Allen and AJ McCarron knocked out of two consecutive weeks.

On top of that, Buffalo’s receiving corps is paper thin right now. Especially when it comes to guys who can gain separation off the line of scrimmage so that whoever is under center can find them quickly on hot reads.

Allen was a veritable punching bag for Cincinnati’s defense Sunday at home in Buffalo. He was sacked five times for a loss of 39 yards, which in turn led to him finishing the game with negative-five passing yards on 6-of-12 passing.

The Bills need to let Nathan Peterman start come Week 1. And if he can’t cut it, let AJ McCarron take snaps under center. The alternative is letting Allen get continually beat up in his first NFL season, which could lead to some very negative side effects like seeing ghosts in the backfield.

It’s one thing to let a young quarterback learn from his mistakes. But if Allen were to start for the Bills in Week 1, he’d be subject to the mistakes of his highly problematic offensive line and his mediocre receiving corps, too.

The Bills cannot let this happen. They must protect their investment by letting Allen grow from a distance in 2018. Spend the next offseason improving the receiving corps and offensive line, both in free agency and the draft, and then let him thrive.

Any other course of action would be irresponsible.