Jon Gruden surveyed the quarterbacks on his Oakland Raiders training camp roster and one name in particular stood out. For a change, the reasons were positive.
Nathan Peterman, whose attempts to play quarterback for the Buffalo Bills ended in spectacularly bad fashion, came in for praise when Gruden was asked whether Peterman or Mike Glennon would back up Derek Carr.
“I like these guys,” Gruden said of his options. “This Nate Peterman is growing on me. He’s athletic. I know he’s had some nightmare performances in the NFL, but when you watch the film you can see why. It’s not all his fault but he’s got some talent, he’s got some athleticism, he’s got some experience.
“Here’s an opening day starter for the Buffalo Bills last year. I take that very serious. And he’s smart. He’s done a good job, he’s been consistent and I think he’s starting to get his confidence back. And we all need that.”
Nightmare performances is right. Peterman has played in eight games, starting four, over the 2017 and ’18 seasons. Most memorable (or perhaps forgettable) was his performance in the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. With a 0.0 passer rating in Buffalo’ 47-3 loss, he completed 5 of 18 passes and was twice intercepted. In 2017, he managed to have a better passer rating for the Los Angeles Chargers than the Bills, throwing five interceptions (and one pick six) for a mythical 41.1 passer rating. His rating for the Bills was 17.9.
Focusing on the big picture, he has completed 68 of 130 passes for 548 yards and three touchdowns, with a 32.5 passer rating (and eight interceptions).
Placing stats aside, Gruden has long seen something he likes in Peterman. “I know what kind of kid he is and what kind of worker he is,” he said after the Raiders signed Peterman last December. “I like what he did at Pitt. They beat [then No. 2] Clemson. I like what he did in that game, at Clemson. He showed some real savvy and some real pocket presence. He’s an athletic guy. I know he’s had some problems in Buffalo, but again we’re talking about our practice squad quarterback here.”
Gruden hasn’t wavered since his glowing assessment in 2017. “Peterman is ready to walk in and be a contributor from day one,” he wrote for ESPN while still working in the “Monday Night Football” booth. “He just looks like a pro quarterback — coming out of the huddle, running an offense with different formations, shifting, motioning, different patterns that other colleges don’t run. Peterman will recognize route combinations and associate formations . . . Most importantly, he will be able to get in a huddle from day one and look at 10 grown men and tell them where to go and what to do and handle a versatile snap count.”
Gruden must figure out how to recapture what he saw back when he was an observer as well as working on Peterman’s confidence, a project made more difficult because it will play out on national TV, with the Raiders starring in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” starting next week.
“I don’t watch or read anything, so I don’t see what people are saying about me,” Peterman said in December. “One thing you learn pretty quick is to tune out the outside noise.”
Read more from The Post: