ALAMEDA – AJ McCarron just had a baby boy. The backup quarterback was allowed to be with wife and newborn son as this Raiders practice week began, meaning Jon Gruden needed a signal caller to run the scout team.
He chose Nathan Peterman. Yeah, that one. Gruden chose the guy who threw five interceptions in one half, and the one with three touchdowns, 12 picks and a 1-7 professional record to his credit.
He signed with the Raiders on Tuesday, though many forget one important distinction when railing against this decision.
“He’s on the practice squad right now,” Gruden said. “I want to reiterate that.”
Peterman’s here to lead the scout team, and go through an extended tryout of sorts in meeting rooms and on the practice field. If all goes well, Peterman will be around longer than a fortnight.
“There’s a good chance of that,” Gruden said. “Hopefully we can take him into the offseason program and see if we can’t restart him and get him going.”
The Raiders should be in the market for a backup quarterback. Despite giving up a fifth-round pick for McCarron in September, the Alabama alum has a $3 million roster bonus set to hit March 15, with a $1.9 million base salary on top of that. That might be too rich for Derek Carr’s backup, and Peterman could step into that role and develop working with Gruden, a coach who has admired and publicly praised him several times.
“He and I go back to the University of Tennessee, where I came from,” said Gruden, who started his coaching career at the school. “I know what kind of kid he is. I know what kind of worker he is. I like what he did at Pitt (after transferring from Tennessee).
"I like what he did against Clemson. They won that game at Clemson. He showed some real pocket presence. He’s a really athletic guy. I know he had some problems in Buffalo but, again, we’re talking about our practice squad quarterback.”
Peterman made McCarron expendable in Buffalo, though rookie Josh Allen is the Bills starter. Peterman stepped in an struggled with Allen got hurt, including a three-interception Week 8 loss to Chicago that ended up his final game in Buffalo.
Peterman is looking for a fresh start, and is happy to be learn under Gruden.
“It's awesome,” he said. “It's great to be here and there are some things in the offense that are similar 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’s signing, even as a practice squad quarterback, has raised eyebrows across the league. Peterman doesn’t pay attention to that, and is here to work and improve as a professional quarterback.
"I don't watch or read anything, so I don't see what people are saying about me,” he said. “One thing you learn pretty quick is to tune out the outside noise."