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Veteran QB from Scappoose signs for 2019 NFL season,will mentor Buffalo's Allen

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Derek Anderson, who served as an emergency replacement at quarterback for the Buffalo Bills in 2018, is returning to the team next season.From Scappoose to Buffalo.

Once and always an Indian. Now and still a Bill.

Former Scappoose Indians quarterback Derek Anderson is sticking with the Buffalo Bills. Last week, Anderson signed a one-year contract with the NFL team for the 2019 season.

Anderson came aboard — and out of semi-retirement — on Oct. 9. He was an emergency replacement after an elbow injury to 22-year-old rookie starting quarterback Josh Allen, a 6-5 native of Firebaugh, California, from the University of Wyoming.

Anderson played briefly for the Bills, then was injured himself on a hit late in a 25-6 loss to New England on Oct. 29.

Anderson went 0-2 as a starter, starting with only a couple of days of practice to face the Indianapolis Colts (37-5 defeat).

But he was credited in Buffalo for playing a key role in helping Allen learn the ropes. And, Anderson has been on the sidelines since, serving as a backup QB and mentor, primiarly to Allen but also to a lesser extent for second-stringer Matt Barkley, a 28-year-old out of USC who has been with seven teams in six NFL seasons.

Barkley signed a two-year contract extension with Buffalo two weeks ago, so all three signal-callers are under contract.

Anderson, 35, will continue to serve the Bills and their QB crew in the position room and elsewhere for at least another year.

"D.A.'s been a great addition to our football team for a variety of reasons," Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll told the Buffalo News.

Buffalo drafed Allen with the seventh pick in the 2018 draft, trading up from 12th with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to make that selection. Allen beat out AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman in camp for the starting job.

Allen missed four games with his elbow injury, then finished the season strong, though overall he had a low passer rating of 67.9, with a 52.8-percent completion rate and 2,074 yards through the air.

His mobility was a plus, though, as he ran for 631 yards and eight touchdowns. He set a Bills record for single-game rushing yards by a QB when he got 135 in a 21-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 2.

Anderson, always more of a stand-up pocket passer, wound up with 42 completions on 70 pass attempts (60.0 percent) this season for 465 yards but no touchdowns. His passer rating was 56.0 in 2018.

It was Anderson's 14th NFL season. He began his pro career out of Oregon State in 2006 with the Cleveland Browns. He also played with the Arizona Cardinals and then from 2011-17 with the Carolina Panthers, mostly backing up Cam Newton. He's started 49 times in 78 NFL appearances, throwing for 60 touchdowns and 10,878 yards.

The Bills ended their 2018 season on a high note, defeating Miami 42-17, on Dec. 30. Allen ran for two touchdowns and passed for three TDs in that game.

Buffalo finished 6-10, with Allen going 5-6 at QB (and 3-3 in his last six games).

Allen finished his debut year with 10 TD passes and 12 interceptions in 12 games.

Barkley, in limted duty, was 15 of 25 passing for 232 yards and two touchdowns, posting a very high 117.4 rating.

But Allen is the man for the Bills' future, even though his 2018 rating was way, way down the NFL list and basically at the bottom for starters.

Others of note: New Orleans' Drew Brees at 115.7; Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, 113.8; Seattle's Russell Wilson, 110.9; New England's Tom Brady, 97.7; Tennessee's Marcus Mariota, 92.3; Baltimore's Lamar Jackson, 84.5; and Arizona's Josh Rosen, 66.7.

"There's a lot of good conversation in that (quarterbacks) room," Daboll told the Buffalo News. "There are different levels of experience. Matt was the number one recruit in the country, and then he went to a big-time school. D.A.'s been in the league for 14-plus years and played in a variety of teams, a variety of offenses. Both of those guys have a very good understanding of defense, have a good understanding of system. We have some really good conversations, whether it's about protections, maybe some route schemes.

"And then Josh, for a young player, is smart. He talks with those guys. There's a lot of good communication. There are no egos. Everybody's pulling in the same direction. If someone has something to offer or we can do something better, we all work together."

Allen acknowledged the help he's received from both Anderson and Barkley, telling the Buffalo News "I definitely feel like I'm a better quarterback because of them. I've learned a lot from them, just kind of how they carry themselves, how they attack practice, how they execute in games. For me to see that, that was huge for me and I appreciate what they've done for me."

Anderson was very enthusiastic in his first tweet after signing his new deal.

"Than you Buffalo for a wild ride this season!" Anderson tweeted on New Year's Eve. "Very excited about where we are headed in the future. Thank you @buffalobills for the opportunity coming next season as well! Looking forward to continuing this journey with a bunch of great dudes!"

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