Let’s go back to the 2018 NFL Draft when the Buffalo Bills traded up to the seventh overall pick to select Josh Allen. We all know people that wish we drafted the other Josh, but go talk to those people now. Every single one will admit how dead wrong they were.
It’s understandable to have wanted the Quarterback with a higher level of competition and quick frankly, success. However, the Buffalo Bills did the right thing betting on the person underneath the helmet. With three seasons under his belt, we can all see just how committed Josh Allen is to improving year after year.
Josh Allen’s Progression
In year one, Josh Allen didn’t even enter the season as the starter. The only reason he was thrust into the starting role was because of Nate Peterman’s quick display of incompetence. Upon drafting Josh Allen, it was evident that his skills needed refinement and he would get better with more experience. Allen’s biggest learning curve in his rookie season was minimizing turnovers.
In year two, Allen marginally improved in that regard, but still struggled when it came to fumbles. In terms of throwing the football, it became evident that he needed to work on his accuracy in various ways. It wasn’t that he was missing the mark on throws, but more so that he needed to work on different types of throws. In 2019, Josh Allen really regressed when it came to completing the deep ball. Obviously, this was a sore subject considering how strong of an arm we all know he has. It seemed like wasted potential at the time.
Last year, we really saw Allen clean up multiple areas of his game. This was evidently proven by lazily looking at his season stats, but also by watching the tape. Josh Allen proved that he was capable of throwing just about every type of pass in 2020. He cleaned up his mechanics, connected on deep balls, improved in his decision-making, and much more. We saw this exemplified, by a marginal reduction in turnovers, an increase in completion percentage, and the overall ability to sustain offensive drives by converting on tough third downs.
It’s quite difficult to nit-pick at what Josh Allen needs to do in 2021 to improve as a player. However, Allen touched on a couple of things in his press conference that he has specifically focused on as areas of improvement. The first area that he touched on was improving on in-breaking routes.
I couldn’t think of many instances that he missed receivers on in-breaking routes. Then he went on to say he needs to be better when it comes to ball placement on those routes. If the throw is even a little bit behind the pass-catcher, it can take them out of stride and make it more difficult to gain yards after the catch (YAC).
If the throw is on the money, the Receivers can stay in stride and maximize the YAC. Even this minor improvement can be felt on a major level. Thinking back to last year, there really weren’t a lot of moments where Bills Receivers gained a ton of YAC. Just imagine adding those extra yards to an already above-average offense.
Josh Allen Rollout Right
As the 2020 season progressed, it became clear how comfortable Josh Allen was rolling out to his right. It’s not that he was incapable of rolling out to his left, but he made a ton of plays when escaping pressure and rolling out to his right. Furthermore, we saw some of his best throws on the run this past year when he moved to his right. Think of the Cole Beasley catches against the Rams and 49ers.
However, in that same press conference, Josh Allen also alluded to improving when it comes to making throws to his left. In my opinion, I don’t think that he struggles in that area. But there’s a big difference between struggling and needing improvement. It has become obvious that Josh Allen will never be satisfied with his play and will always look to improve on even minor deficiencies.
Josh Allen Rollout Left
With that said, I believe he will need to improve when it comes to making throws as he rolls out to his left more specifically than making throws to his left from the pocket. I think back to the season opener against the Jets. In that same game, he missed John Brown and Dawson Knox on wide-open throws as he was rolling out to his left.
Teams will likely start combatting Allen’s ability to escape pressure and make plays rolling out to his right. This can be done in various ways. For example, defenses could begin to send more pressure to the right side of the line than the left. Furthermore, they could play cover six zones in which there are two deep coverage players taking deep halves of the right side of the field while the other deep coverage player takes the entire left side of the field.
Josh Allen has obviously made some great plays while moving to his left as well. Think back to the playoff game against the Colts. He hit Davis on the left sideline a couple of times rolling to his left.
This may not be something that will make or break Josh Allen’s career. However, if Allen develops a counter to this defensive counter, Buffalo’s offense will be one step ahead of their opponents in 2021. Therefore, they will be able to pick up right where they left off.
Air Raid Hour Recap
On yesterday’s episode of the Air Raid Hour, Judge officially returns from his time in Las Vegas. We begin the show by analyzing Dion Dawkins’ appearance on Good Morning Football. We then transition to OTAs and the players that are absent as of right now. Naturally, with Judge back on the stream, we had to give him an opportunity to talk about the Julio Jones trade rumor mill. Additionally, we deeper into this topic regarding Josh Allen’s improvement.
If you were unable to catch us live, the replay to the Air Raid Hour is linked and embedded above. At the tail end of every show this offseason we will be doing a question and answer segment with the live chat. If you have any Buffalo Bills questions you want to be answered, you should join us live. We air on the Buffalo Fanatics Youtube channel every Monday and Thursday at 8 PM EST.
As always, go Bills!