ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Bills rookie starter Josh Allen is gaining a mentor after Buffalo signed Derek Anderson on Tuesday.
The Bills announced the move Tuesday, a day after Anderson visited the team’s facility. The 35-year-old has a 20-27 record over 12 NFL seasons, and spent the past seven serving as Cam Newton’s backup in Carolina.
Coach Sean McDermott supported the need to add a veteran presence to help groom Allen in discussing the possibility of the Bills signing Anderson a day earlier.
"He’s got some good wisdom stored up in that brain," McDermott said.
"He’s got a good outlook on the game from an offensive standpoint and understands defences," he added. "So there’s a lot of value to it from where we are right now in terms of that quarterback room."
Allen welcomed the idea of the Bills signing Anderson when the possibility was first broached following a 13-12 win over Tennessee on Sunday.
"I’m not going to turn any help away, for sure," the rookie first-round pick said. "I know there’s a lot of things for me to improve and grow on, and that comes with repetition and that comes with an extra set of eyes maybe sometimes, too."
The move comes with the Bills off to a 2-3 start and preparing for a game at Houston (2-3) on Sunday.
Buffalo has lacked veteran depth at quarterback since trading fifth-year player AJ McCarron to Oakland on Sept. 1. That left the Bills opening the season by starting second-year player Nathan Peterman, and Allen serving as the backup.
Allen’s time on the sideline didn’t last long.
The Bills had no choice but to speed up Allen’s developmental timetable by naming him the starter after Peterman faltered miserably in a season-opening 47-3 loss at Baltimore.
Allen has a 2-2 record, and enjoyed his first game-winning drive by setting up Stephen Hauschka’s 46-yard field goal as time expired against Tennessee. The 22-year-old, however, is far from a finished product, and overseeing a sputtering offence that has yet to top 300 yards this season.
Allen had 82 yards passing against Tennessee, which were the fewest in a win by a Bills quarterback who played the entire game since Drew Bledsoe had 81 yards in a 38-14 victory over Arizona on Oct. 31, 2004.
Overall, he has gone 65 of 122 for 748 yards with two touchdowns passing, a team-best three rushing, along with five interceptions and a lost fumble. Allen has also been sacked 19 times.
The Bills are very familiar with Anderson.
McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane both worked in Carolina before being hired by the Bills last year.
First-year offensive co-ordinator Brian Daboll held the same job in Cleveland in 2009, when Anderson went 3-4 upon replacing Brady Quinn as the starter three weeks into the season.
Anderson went 2-2 in four starts with Carolina, and had three brief appearances in a backup role last year.
His best season was 2007 in Cleveland, when he went 10-5 and had 3,787 yards passing with 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions to earn his only Pro Bowl selection.
To make room for Allen, Buffalo released safety Dean Marlowe. Buffalo also shuffled its practice squad roster by signing tight end Keith Towbridge and releasing cornerback Michael Hunter.