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A Scout’s Take: Nathan Peterman is the NFL’s Most Disrespected and Misunderstood QB

Greg Gabriel has some thoughts on Bears backup quarterback Nathan Peterman.

NFL: JUL 27 Chicago Bears Training Camp Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Bears have a rising star with third-year quarterback Justin Fields. They also have a young rookie quarterback in Tyson Bagent, who has defied the odds in making the Bears roster, having come from a Division II background. The Bears also have a third quarterback in Nathan Peterman, who, because of ONE poor game (as a rookie), is despised and totally misunderstood by fans around the League.

Peterman came into the League in the 2017 NFL Draft as a fifth-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills. Nate had a fairly good career in college, first at Tennessee and then at Pitt. In 2016, Nate's final season at Pitt, he threw for over 2800 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. I watched Peterman in four or five games his final year at Pitt, and I really liked his overall game. He was smart, made good decisions, had a quick release, and was accurate. While I didn't feel he had the talent to become a top NFL QB, I knew he would be a solid NFL backup at worst. And now, seven years later, that is exactly what he is. Still, fans loathe him and think he just may be the worst quarterback in football. It's not true and total nonsense.

As a rookie in 2017, Peterman was the backup quarterback to Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo. In a game on November 12th, Taylor got injured and had to be replaced by Peterman. He finished that game completing seven of ten passes for 79 yards and one TD. The following week in a game at San Diego, Peterman had to start as Taylor was still injured. The game turned into a nightmare for Peterman as he threw five interceptions.

Being brought up in Buffalo, I have always been a Buffalo Bills fan. I began my career as a part-time scout for the Bills in 1981, working as a film grader for the then Quadra Combine, in which the Bills were a member. As a Bills fan, I watched that first start by Peterman, and I am here to say it wasn't nearly as bad as the stat line looks.

The first two interceptions were good throws that the receiver muffed and then got intercepted. They weren't Nate's fault. On one of the other picks, the receiver fell just as he was about to make the catch, and the defender got an easy interception.

The first two interceptions came on back-to-back throws, and after that, Peterman, being a rookie, began to play cautiously as he was losing confidence. The third pick came shortly after when the targeted receiver fell, and the DB had an easy pick. It just snowballed from there. Yes, the game was a horrible start for a young, promising QB, but that is not who he is, and he shouldn't be remembered for it.

Following that game, Peterman became the butt of jokes nationwide and was considered by fans to be just a poor quarterback. There have been several quarterbacks who have been very successful but have horrendous games, and it never hurt them. As a kid, I was at a Jets/Bills game in Buffalo in which Hall of Famer Joe Nameth threw five interceptions. Do we ever hear about that game? Of course not. But because of this game in San Diego, which was Peterman's first start as a pro basically blew up, fans won't let it go. It's ridiculous!

While the fans want to think that Peterman is a horrible player, coaches and teammates feel much differently. This is Peterman's seventh year in the League, and if he were as bad as fans want to think, then he wouldn't still be in the League. Coaches rave about his level-headedness, preparation and knowledge of the game. He is an ideal backup!

Not much has changed in Peterman's game since I watched him at Pitt. He still makes good decisions, has a quick release, and throws with fairly good accuracy. What's even more important and something the fans don't know about is that he is very intelligent and a great mentor and teacher for young quarterbacks like Justin Fields and Tyson Bagent. With seven years of experience, Peterman has seen a lot of NFL football and thoroughly understands the game. Yesterday in an excellent article by the Chicago Tribune's Dan Wiederer, Justin Fields went out of his way to point out how valuable Peterman is to him as a teacher and sounding board. In reality, Peterman is a second quarterback coach who gets what is going on in the game in all situations. Trust me, Nate Peterman has been invaluable to Justin Fields' development.

Going into game week versus Green Bay, we don't know who the Bears' backup quarterback is. Head Coach Matt Eberflus evades the question in press conferences as he should. It's a slight competitive advantage to not let it out. While Tyson Bagent is deserving because of his pre-season play, my gut feeling is Peterman will be the number two QB for the early games this season. When the Bears feel Bagent is ready, he'll move up to the backup role. Yes, Bagent is more talented, but in these early games, experience matters.

As for Peterman, who knows how much longer his career will last, but it wouldn't surprise me if he went into coaching right after he retires from the NFL. Players with the resume, knowledge, and respect that Peterman has usually turn into darn good coaches. I'm hoping that is the case with Nate Peterman.