When it comes to the top of the quarterback depth chart, the Buffalo Bills are about as set-in-stone as possible. Josh Allen is the team’s $258 million man, locked in as starter with one of the highest-profile backups in the league, former No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky.
But the battle for what could be the final quarterback spot on the depth chart — the player who could eventually be the long-term backup to Allen — is heating up considerably after the team’s first preseason game. Both Davis Webb and Jake Fromm excelled in a win over the Detriot Lions, which could lead to a very difficult decision for the Bills.
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Allen’s Backups Shine in First Preseason Action
For both Fromm and Webb, Friday’s preseason opener against the Lions represented a long-awaited chance to get on the field. Fromm, a fifth-round draft pick in 2020, never got to take a snap last season after the preseason was canceled and the Bills opted to use him as a quarantine quarterback, keeping him away from the rest of the team in case a COVID-19 outbreak wiped out those ahead of him on the depth chart. Webb came to the Bills in 2019 after being released by the Jets prior to the start of the season, spending that year and 2020 on the practice squad.
Both Webb and Fromm took advantage of their first chance to put on a Bills jersey and take on another team. Webb entered the game in the second quarter, going 11-for-16 for 90 yards and engineering a 15-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Devin Singletary.
Fromm was the closer, playing the third and fourth quarters and going 8-for-13 for 65 yards. He excelled on the team’s final drive, hitting rookie Marquez Stevenson for a 42-yard completion on 4th-and-10 that put the Bills in range for the game-winning field goal.
After the game, Fromm’s play earned some praise from Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who noted that the 23-year-old had a knack for coming through during high-pressure moments during his college career in Georgia.
“He’s been in these moments before,” McDermott said, via ESPN. “And he just doesn’t seem to be fazed in these moments.”
The strong performances from Webb and Fromm could make for some hard decisions down the line. As the Buffalo News noted, McDermott has preferred to keep just two quarterbacks on the roster in the past, but the dynamic could be different this year given Trubisky’s short-term projection. The Bills signed him to a one-year deal, and general manager Brandon Beane said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL radio that the plan is for him to stay just one year, developing enough so that he can compete for a starting job elsewhere in 2022. If the Bills choose to develop a long-term backup for Allen, it could mean keeping Webb or Fromm on the practice squad this season.
Webb may have an advantage in the race. He has been a favorite of the coaching staff, earning praise from offensive coordinator Brian Daboll at the end of last season for his deep understanding of the game and ability to help bring the best out of Allen.
“I could go on and on about this guy,” Daboll told the Buffalo News last year. “He’s one of the best teammates that I’ve ever seen. … He does an unbelievable job of helping Josh prepare for games.”