PITTSFORD, N.Y. — AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman are still side-by-side in the Bills quarterback battle entering the first preseason game, but Thursday night could be the beginning of someone throwing themselves ahead of the competition.

"The games are important. Up to this point, we haven’t had a game to weigh,” said head coach Sean McDermmott. “We had the spring in shorts and t-shirts, basically, and now we have training camp somewhat in pads, and that will have ‘games’ to factor into that equation, that evaluation, and ultimately, that decision. Just like every position, we put a little more weight into games.”

That may not apply the same to Allen, who has stopped getting time with the first team. From an outside perspective, some may think the way the Bills are bringing Allen along would be slowly, but McDermott choosing the word “calculated,” looking back on his time in Philadelphia where Donovan McNabb sat early as a bit of a guideline on how to handle the rookie quarterback.

"We’re not rushing this; we want to make sure he’s ready to go and look there will still be growing pains with that journey,” McDermott said of Allen. “You can see the arm talent. You can see the special type of player that he could become, but there’s a lot of room for growth between where we are now and where he needs to get to. So, we’re just going to continue with the plan, continue with the schedule and, just like our entire team, continue to learn and grow.”

All three quarterbacks will see time in Thursday's first pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers.