FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2017, file photo, Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) is assisted off the field after being sacked by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, in Baltimore. Taylor is still recovering from a concussion, leaving his status uncertain for the team’s season opener against the New York Jets on Sunday. Coach Sean McDermott said Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, that Taylor has shown signs of improvement but remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.(AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK — Bills starter Tyrod Taylor took the next step in recovering from a concussion by returning to practice on Monday.
How Taylor feels over the next few days will determine whether he will be cleared to open the season against the New York Jets on Sunday.
Speaking before practice, coach Sean McDermott expressed caution in saying Taylor has shown signs of improvement, but remains in the concussion protocol. The team then announced during practice that Taylor’s on-field participation is part of the evaluation process in determining whether he can be cleared to play.
In his first appearance since being hurt in a 13-9 preseason loss at Baltimore on Aug. 26, Taylor took part in individual passing drills during the portion of practice open to reporters. Afterward, Taylor casually chatted with several teammates at his locker.
The Bills are off Tuesday and return to practice Wednesday.
Taylor’s presence on the field was an encouraging sign for a team depleted at quarterback. Third-stringer T.J. Yates in concussion protocol after he was also hurt against Baltimore. Yates also took part in practice on Monday.
The uncertain status of Taylor and Yates left the Bills potentially turning to rookie Nathan Peterman .
Buffalo also signed free agent quarterback Joe Webb for insurance earlier in the day. Webb has been in the NFL for seven seasons and spent the past three with Carolina, where he also played on special teams.
Webb is familiar with McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane, who previously worked for the Panthers before being hired by the Bills this past month.
McDermott wouldn’t say when he must decide on his starter.
“We’ll cross that road when we come to it at this point,” he said. “We feel good we’ll have clarity around the situation when we need it, and this team’s ready.”
McDermott expressed confidence in Peterman in the event he has to play.
“He is ready,” McDermott said. “When you look at what he’s done throughout the preseason, I’m confident, and we’re extremely confident in Nathan. I expect that he’s only going to continue to get better.”
The fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh has jumped ahead of Yates to become the primary backup.
Peterman saw the most extensive playing time of the three quarterbacks this preseason, and finished 43 of 79 for 483 yards and a touchdown.
Buffalo freed up roster space to sign Webb by releasing veteran safety Colt Anderson, who has been sidelined by a foot injury.
NOTES: McDermott said cornerback E.J. Gaines has gained the edge on Shareece Wright in competing for a starting job opposite rookie Tre’Davious White. … McDermott cleared up several other position battles by announcing RG John Miller and RT Jordan Mills will start. … Backup DL Jerel Worthy is in concussion protocol after he was hurt during Buffalo’s final preseason game against Detroit on Thursday.