McCarron unfazed by talk of Bills drafting a quarterback
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — AJ McCarron couldn’t help notice the number of draft-eligible quarterback prospects the Buffalo Bills have paraded through their facility in recent days.
UCLA’s Josh Allen was in town Monday. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield visited last week.
McCarron, on Tuesday, acknowledged he stopped to chat with some of the former college players to see how they’re holding up through the pre-draft process.
And yet, their presence — and the possibility of Buffalo selecting one of them in the first round of the draft next week — won’t distract McCarron from focusing on the reason he signed with the Bills in free agency last month after spending his first four NFL seasons backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
The Bills have an opening for a starter after trading Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland this offseason, and it’s McCarron’s objective to fill the job.
“As quarterback, you’ve got to have that confidence and you’ve got to take that approach to it, because if you don’t, you’re already a step behind,” McCarron said after completing the second day of Buffalo’s voluntary offseason conditioning program.
He’s started bonding with his new teammates over dinner, by exchanging texts and is already making plans to spend time working out together before the start of training camp.
“That’s the way I’ve always done it,” McCarron said. “I mean, even in Cincy, I knew how to do it and not step on AD’s (Andy Dalton’s) toes.”
And forget about him paying attention to what the Bills do in the draft with their nine selections, including two first-rounders at No. 12 and 22.
“I can’t worry about it because it creates mental clutter for myself,” McCarron said. “So for me to worry about ifs and what could happen, it’s just not part of my DNA. I’ve never been that way and won’t ever do it.”
General manager Brandon Beane has provided no hints regarding his draft plans. Beane said a GM’s primary responsibility is finding a franchise quarterback. And yet, Beane would also consider this year’s draft a success should the Bills not select a quarterback.
McCarron and Nathan Peterman are the only two quarterbacks on the roster, with both having very limited NFL experience.
A two-time national champion at Alabama, McCarron appeared in just 11 games with Cincinnati, mostly in mop-up duties. He started four games, including an 18-16 loss to Pittsburgh in a 2016 AFC wild-card playoff in which the Bengals squandered a one-point lead in the final seconds as a result of a turnover and two penalties.
Peterman proved he wasn’t ready to be a starter as a rookie last season. The fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh was yanked after throwing five interceptions in the first half of his first career start in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers in November.
Peterman also threw an interception in the final minutes of a 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in an AFC wild-card playoff after Taylor sustained a concussion.
Peterman said he’s focused on looking forward after spending the first month of the offseason assessing his rookie season.
“The first thing, you’ve got to actually look at what happened and take it all in, feel the pain of those losses and all the mistakes that you made, but also the good things that you did as well,” Peterman said. “I was able to do that and able to really press that reset button and look ahead.”
He also spent time working on his mechanics at the 3DQB quarterback training facility in southern California.
Much like McCarron, Peterman isn’t worried whether the Bills draft a quarterback.
“It’s all above my head,” Peterman said. “You can’t be focused on the things you can’t control because it wouldn’t be very productive.”
NOTES: DE Cap Capi was released Tuesday. He appeared in five games with Buffalo after being promoted from the practice squad last season. … RB Fred Jackson will sign a one-day contract on Wednesday to retire as a member of the Bills. He played eight seasons in Buffalo and has been out of football since completing the 2015 season in Seattle.
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