The Buffalo Bills have a plan for Josh Allen and have from the start. Their handling of him through OTAs and minicamps has me buying into their plan for the rookie quarterback.
Josh Allen was selected No. 7 overall this past April by the Buffalo Bills with the team ready to hand over the keys to the car to their future franchise quarterback. However, Sean McDermott, Brandon Beane and Brian Daboll are waiting for their young, talented new pick to earn his learners permit before giving him the keys.
Like most, I was in disbelief when the team traded up to select Allen over my personal favorite quarterback in the class, Josh Rosen. I saw Rosen as the most pro-ready quarterback, a good fit for Daboll’s offense and someone who has the physical and mental tools to be a star in the NFL. As for Allen, I saw what everyone else does – elite athlete, throws only a handful of humans can make, cannon for an arm and rare/raw potential.
With Rosen getting attention out west as potentially already pushing Sam Bradford for the starting job in Arizona, Allen is almost strictly with the third-team in OTAs and minicamp. Some want Allen to be pushing for the starting job right away and taking first team reps, but the more I follow and listen to the Bills’ plans for Allen, the more I buy into the team being able to develop him into what they hope for him to be.
From the beginning of OTAs to now, the team has taken the pressure off Allen to be the guy right away. By putting him with the third team, every throw he makes is not criticized or put under a microscope. He can learn the offense, work on his mechanics and work closely with the coaches. Going back to the initial rookie minicamp after the draft, it was easy to see that new offensive coordinator was going to be coaching-up Allen rather immediately:
While this is not uncommon, I love the approach. Quarterback is the most important position in sports and the Bills have certainly had a number of subpar players under center over the past two decades. They heavily invested in Allen, and they are going to make sure they do whatever necessary to help him improve. With Daboll following Allen around, it shows that they know how important the position is to the team’s success and future.
If Allen was to do something right or wrong, I like that Daboll is there to encourage or correct it early. The Bills have already seen so much on Allen and what he can and can’t do at the position, so they know exactly what they need to work on. Fixing and tweaking the bad aspects of Allen’s game immediately and before he even sees a higher level of competition in his teammates at OTAs will greatly benefit his long-term success.
Allowing Allen to develop at his own rate and work through his hiccups can continue his growth exponentially. The team has the drought off their backs and not many expect them to be impressive this season. With a young roster and question marks throughout the offense, it allows the team to take their time with Allen. They don’t have to start him to begin the year, in the middle of the year or this season period.
I have really enjoyed the team’s belief in their plan and willingness to stick to it. Beane and McDermott clearly had one last season and it ended the drought. They made moves last season in the draft and wound up with one of the best young corners in the NFL in Tre White, a promising young linebacker in Matt Milano and potentially a franchise left tackle. Why would we not trust their plan now?
That plan rolled into minicamp as the plan continued to go on and Allen stuck with the third-team, but he would get time with the first-team:
Not only did he get first-team reps because he is the future franchise QB, but because he earned it. His progression has continued and he made the most of his first-team opportunity, showcasing his abilities:
Then to end minicamp, Allen again showcased why he was the No. 7 overall pick and why there is so much buzz around his abilities. He not only led long touchdown drives:
But Allen was effective in the redzone as well:
I know that these are just minicamps and there are no pads and no one is going full-force, but the team has a plan. With first-team reps, Allen was able to lead the offense to a touchdown. He did overthrow Jeremy Kerley following the touchdown pass, but still there is some promise there.
I am still not completely sold that Allen can fix his accuracy issues, but he obviously has the talent. The Bills clearly think they can develop him, and why should we think they can’t? They have done so much that fans and the media had thought they wouldn’t do already that we should believe in them and in their plan.
Come training camp time we will see if Allen will be given more opportunities with the first or second-teams, but he is clearly the most talented player at the position. He also may surprise many with his early development and earn more chances with the starters and take them away from AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman.
Until we can see more, I will continue to trust the process and buy into the plan that Buffalo has for their franchise signal-caller.