After a miraculous 2020 season from Buffalo Bills Quarterback Josh Allen, he finished second in the MVP race. Moving ahead to the 2021 season, Allen will look to build off of last season’s performance. Obviously, this is much easier said than done.
Last week, I took a dive into the comments that Josh Allen made during his most recent press conference. He made specific comments regarding what he is doing and has been doing to improve for this upcoming season. While much of those comments were about how Allen can improve his game, any upgrade he can make on an individual level will be felt on a team level.
It’s clear that Allen wants to be the best version of himself. But more importantly, he wants the Buffalo Bills to be the best team that they can be. While winning MVP is a great accomplishment, it seems that Allen is more focused on team success. However, if Allen plays well enough to win MVP next year, I would like to think that would also be accompanied by team success.
Recapping the 2020 campaign
Looking back to last year, Josh Allen had a completion percentage above 69%, threw for 4,544 yards, and ran for an additional 421 yards. Then when you start to bake in touchdowns, Allen had 37 through the air and 8 on the ground. Also, one cannot forget his one receiving touchdown. Lastly, Allen did get a bit better last year when it came to ball security. In 2020, Allen threw 10 interceptions which is one more than he threw in 2019. However, something he still needs to improve upon is ball security as a runner. He put the ball on the ground nine times last year. Kind of crazy, but that was actually an improvement on his 2019 fumble total of 14.
With the type of stats he put up last year, it seems like the only thing that was holding him back from MVP was the turnover total. Conversely, 2020 MVP Aaron Rodgers only had four fumbles to Allen’s nine and five interceptions to Allen’s ten. Other than that, the numbers between the two quarterbacks are very similar. Rodgers actually threw and ran for fewer yards. However, a lower turnover rate, more total touchdowns, and a better completion percentage are likely the things that set Rodgers apart from Allen in the MVP race last year.
Josh Allen’s development
To this point in Josh Allen’s NFL career, we as Bills fans have been spoiled by his year-to-year improvement. Why? Because player improvement is not guaranteed every season. There are often obstacles that mitigate it. However, Allen has improved from a statistical, intangible, and pure decision-making standpoint in each year of his career.
Thus, most of us are expecting him to improve on his 2020 season. I’m here to say that even with an extra regular-season game, that is going to be very tough to do. I hope to eat my words on this one though. Without fans in the stands for a majority of his games last year, Josh Allen was playing under perfect offensive circumstances. 2020 was actually a blessing in disguise for his pre-snap diagnostics and leadership development. In 2021, he’ll have to show that he can produce at a similar level with considerably more distractions.
Is Josh Allen regression coming?
I think it would be foolish to assume that Allen’s play won’t be impacted by fans in the stands. Even at home games, fans don’t understand to be quiet when their team is on offense. So Allen will confront this in every game. Furthermore, we all know how much of a competitor Allen can be. There’s a real chance that we see the presence of Bills Mafia in the stadium as a negative. That being said, Josh Allen did a great job last year when it came to accepting bad plays. In prior seasons, we saw Allen try to make a miraculous play and it ended up making a bad play even worse. I do have some concerns in that area as that crept back into his game in the playoffs.
I’m not here to say that fans in the stands are enough to take Josh Allen out of the MVP running in 2021 because it won’t. However, it may cause a slight statistical regression. That does not mean that he will regress in terms of his leadership ability or his ability to continually put the Bills in the best position for success. My prediction is that Josh Allen will regress in terms of passing yards and completion percentage. Simply because it will be more difficult for him to diagnose the defense pre-snap and subsequently relay those messages to his pass-catchers.
What will it take to win MVP?
Even if Allen does regress in those areas, it’s clear how much of an emphasis is placed on turnovers when it comes to MVP votes. If Josh Allen can significantly reduce his turnovers, despite regressing in terms of passing yards, he will still be in the conversation for MVP. With 46 total touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 9 fumbles, that’s a touchdown to turnover ratio of about 2.4:1. Aaron Rodgers on the other hand won the 2020 MVP with a ratio of about 5.6:1. So it’s clear that ball security is the area that Josh Allen would have to improve if he wants to increase his chances of winning MVP in 2021. And not for nothing, but if he improves with ball security, that will likely positively influence team success as well.
Air Raid Hour recap
If you missed one because you were celebrating Memorial Day, we have you covered. You can watch our most recent episode of the Air Raid Hour in the embed above. Judge and Tilt started the show by clearing the air on the “potential for Josh Allen hubris.” They share why there are certainly some concerns when it comes to Allen and consistency, but also why we as Bills fans should be confident in what we have moving forward. Furthermore, they break down the depth behind Allen at the quarterback position. And lastly, I joined the show to help break down the Buffalo Bills week one matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If you enjoyed the Josh Allen MVP conversation or any of the topics I just mentioned above, this most recent episode of the Air Raid Hour is the one for you. If you want to talk more about the content within this article or disagree with something I said, you can post in the comment section or you can find me on Twitter @MirskyKendall.
As always, go Bills!