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Buffalo Bills need to go back to quarterback Josh Allen after the bye week

I can’t believe I’m writing this opinion piece.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Josh Allen needs to be the starting quarterback of the Buffalo Bills. End of story. Period.

Quarterback Matt Barkley, signed off the scrap heap two weeks ago and starting his first game in more than a full NFL season, came in for the Bills and played a great game. He pushed the ball down the field. He gave receivers a chance to make plays. He caught a couple breaks when balls he threw weren’t intercepted. It was your replacement-level type of NFL start. That’s great, but he’s not the future of the organization. He shouldn’t be the present, either.

Once the Bills made the decision to put Allen into the starting lineup, it needed to be permanent. You can’t insert him then take him out and rattle his confidence. If you were worried about his readiness, that was a conversation for roster cutdowns when you traded AJ McCarron and didn’t sign another vet or Week 2 when you put him in the starting lineup. Now that’s he’s been in the lineup, you roll with him or he’ll begin questioning everything that’s made him the guy you wanted him to be when you traded premium assets for him.

Think of a time when you’ve been in over your head, probably at work but it could be at home or somewhere else. You jump in with both feet, realize the water is too deep, and you hopefully get helped out of the water. Next time you jump in, you’re a little more prepared to swim because you don’t have the surprise of the water being so deep. Allen has that chance following his elbow injury. He’s had a chance to see how Derek Anderson works. He’s had a chance to see Barkley come in and be successful. He’s more prepared to swim.

With seven losses on their ledger in 2018, the Bills are likely not destined for the playoffs. They would need to run the table and get some help. So if we’re turning the page to 2019, it only makes sense to put in Allen and let him learn on the job. When things slow down for him, Buffalo will be able to take the next step and keeping him out of the lineup will only delay that.

Jason Wolf at The Buffalo News not only disagrees with me, he called people who think like me crazy. CRAZY!

“After the offensive eruption we just witnessed... the only sane option, if the Bills, indeed, are not just chasing the highest possible draft pick, is to ride the hot hand,” wrote Wolf after the game.

“It’s also not fair to Allen throw him back out there with Barkley coming off this performance, because if and when the rookie struggles, some fans and even teammates might prefer the backup who lit up the Jets,” wrote Wolf later.

First, the Bills brass should not be worried what fans or the media think. Secondly, they’ve proven several times that they do things their way regardless of the locker room (or the fans). It wasn’t popular to trade super-talented players last year, but the team stayed together.

As for Barkley, who has been with four teams in six seasons after being a fourth-round pick, he is not the QB the team is building around. He has a career TD-to-INT ratio of 10-18 even after Sunday’s big win and a career passer rating of 68.3. And he’s been with the team for six whole practices, so he’s already the most popular person in the locker room?

It’s also interesting to note how the players around the QB performed. Allen has hit Robert Foster in the hands plenty of times, but the UDFA rookie receiver dropped them early in the season. On Sunday, he topped 100 yards after being added back to the main roster. Zay Jones has been gaining separation. The offensive line opened holes for LeSean McCoy. With the players around the QB improving, or at least having a better game, wouldn’t Allen have the same opportunity for success?

This is a long-winded way of saying that Buffalo needs to go back to Allen whenever he’s healthy. But maybe Sean McDermott and I are just insane.