Buffalo Bills: ESPN’s Bill Barnwell offers up progress report on Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills fans have seen both good and bad from Josh Allen. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell echoes some familiar sentiments in a recent article.
Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Four of them started the season on the sidelines but now all five are starting for their respective teams.
The Buffalo Bills surprised some by taking Josh Allen at No. 7 overall, and he has done both good and bad in different phases of the game so far this season.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell published a piece today offering up progress reports on all five rookies. A particular focus is paid to Allen’s predecessor, and Barnwell offers up this interesting take:
"Instead, so far, the Bills have witnessed … a less impressive version of Taylor. The same frustrated fans who were sick of Taylor failing to hit 200 passing yards in a game have seen Allen average 181.6 passing yards in his eight full starts. He is completing just 52.4 percent of his passes while throwing his average pass 10.5 yards in the air. (Over his three years in Buffalo, Taylor completed 62.6 percent of his passes while throwing them an average of 9.0 yards in the air.) Allen has added an unwanted propensity for interceptions, given that his nine picks are nearly as many as the 10 Taylor threw over his final two seasons in Buffalo combined."
The Bills moving on from Tyrod Taylor in favor of Allen was a bold move after Taylor helped lead the team to the postseason in 2018. The stats don’t lie, but Allen’s evaluation should be a bit different considering he is a rookie and has only started eight games in his young NFL career.
The main difference between Taylor and Allen, in my opinion, is that Allen has the ability to go deep at any time and has shown that in a few plays this season. He just doesn’t have the talent at receiver to consistently have someone open deep down field. The lack of talent on the offensive line doesn’t help this either.
Some fans want a rookie quarterback to show up right away and dominate. Unfortunately, that is extremely rare. It takes time to learn the NFL game, and most rookie quarterbacks are showing up on teams who need upgrades all over the field.
Allen is in that scenario this year and the focus is on him learning the NFL game and progressing every week. He will make mistakes, and the goal is to learn from those.
Barnwell touches on this as well:
"Allen can’t make his receivers better — they’ve dropped 5.3 percent of his passes, the second-highest rate in football behind Blake Bortles — but the first thing he can do is make smarter decisions. There has to be a tick in his brain telling Allen to avoid throwing across his body on the run, despite that massive arm strength."
It is fair to be harsh on a starting NFL quarterback, yet Allen has shown enough for there to be some optimism regarding his future.
The key for the team is to add more talent around him and not make Allen the focal point both on the ground and through the air.