ALAMEDA (AP) — Nathan Peterman became a national punchline as the quarterback in Buffalo because of his poor performance filled with interceptions and other numerous bad plays.
So, when the Oakland Raiders signed Peterman to the practice squad this week, coach Jon Gruden got quite a few calls asking about it and he saw criticism of the move that he tried to deflect Thursday.
“He’s on the practice squad right now,” Gruden said. “I want to reiterate that to everybody. He’s on the practice squad.”
The Raiders brought Peterman in this week because backup AJ McCarron went back to Alabama to be with his wife, who gave birth to a child. Oakland needed a second quarterback for practice and Gruden knew Peterman from his time in college at Tennessee and Pittsburgh and from Gruden’s pre-draft quarterback camp during his time as an analyst at ESPN.
While Peterman is only on the practice squad for now, Gruden said he’d like to keep Peterman for the offseason program to see if he can compete for a backup spot next year.
“I know what kind of kid he is,” Gruden said. “I know what kind of worker he is. I like what he did at Pitt. They beat 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 we’re talking about our practice squad quarterback here.”
Peterman’s problems in Buffalo were big after he was drafted in the fifth round in 2017. He ended up getting cut last month before the end of his second season.
He feels fortunate to have a second chance.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s great to be here and there are some things in the offense that are smiler to things I have done in the past. ... Gruden is obviously a master at what he does. I am just here to watch, learn and do whatever they need.”
Peterman struggled mightily with the Bills. He began his rookie season as Tyrod Taylor’s backup before getting his shot to start midway through the season. He threw five interceptions in the first half, while completing just 6 of 14 passes before getting pulled for Taylor.
Peterman then won the starting job for the Bills this season, beating out rookie Josh Allen. But his tenure lasted just two series into the third quarter of the opener when he was pulled for Allen after going 5 for 18 for 24 yards with two interceptions in a 47-3 loss.
Things unraveled further when Peterman took over after Allen was hurt in the third quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston on Oct. 14. After hitting Zay Jones for a go-ahead touchdown, Peterman closed the game by throwing two interceptions, including one returned for the decisive score in the final two minutes.
He then threw three more interceptions in his final start against Chicago on Nov. 4 before getting cut.
For his career, Peterman has completed 52.3 percent of his passes with 12 interceptions, three TDs and a 32.5 passer rating. Only two players since the merger have thrown more passes than Peterman’s 130 with a lower rating. Scott Bull had a 24.8 rating for San Francisco and Kim McQuilken had a 17.9 rating for Atlanta and Washington, both in the 1970s.
“I don’t watch or read anything, so I don’t see what people are saying about me,” Peterman said. “One thing you learn pretty quick is to tune out the outside noise.”
NOTES: Gruden said he’s more optimistic that LG Kelechi Osemele can play this week after missing the past two games with a toe injury. ... Gruden said he doesn’t expect RT Donald Penn to be able to return from a groin injury that has had him on IR since he got hurt in Week 4. Penn has been practicing the past few weeks.