Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has risen to every occasion in the NFL. He’s going to have to continue growing in Year 3 to meet the expectations heaped on him by general manager Brandon Beane with the moves he made this offseason.
By adding wide receiver Stefon Diggs and further solidifying the offensive line, Beane has removed any layers of excuses you might be able to make for Allen in his third season. Other QBs from the Class of 2018 have had inconsistent line play, lacked weapons, and rotated coaching staffs while Allen has had each of those hurdles removed.
Now Allen has a solid offensive line with a highly-paid center and they’re returning all their starters from a year ago plus new players. Now Allen has three top wide receiving options plus a well-compensated free agent and an emerging young player at the tight end position. Now Allen has his third year with the same offensive coordinator and second year with the same quarterbacks coach and veteran QB mentor.
I’ve doubted Allen several times, most notably before the Thanksgiving game where I wondered if he would be up to the challenge of the biggest game of his life. He responded with the highest completion percentage and passer rating of his NFL career and a gut-check moment that was added to his highlight reel, mustering a converted fourth-down from a mishandled snap. If he was gripping the ball any tighter, it didn’t hurt his ability to deliver.
While his numbers weren’t great in the playoff game against the Houston Texans and he made some boneheaded decisions, he also showed up time and again to make plays at key moments. Moral victories are hollow, but he was able to put his team in a position to win in overtime.
The Bills have set themselves up to make a run over the next few seasons but it will all come down to whether or not Allen takes the next step in his development. General manager Brandon Beane isn’t worried.
“I’m very confident in Josh,” said Beane during his free-agency press conference last week. “He reached out to Diggs and some of these guys we signed and he’s working, you know he’s out on the West Coast. He did a little bit of travel I think after the season just to kind of burn off some steam and stress, but I’m just confident in Josh and who he is and he is not going to leave a stone unturned. He’s his own worst critic. I know he has many critics out there. Some which I just think are way off base, but I am confident. Sean’s confident. Our team is confident. And I think our fans and everyone else should be confident in Josh Allen.”
“I have no doubt, just like he took a big step from year one to year two, that he will continue to grow. Again, he’ll have to, you know, ideally, I wish he and Stefon were able to throw right now. That’s not available, but I know he will figure it out. You know, how to make improvements to some of the things that didn’t go, perfect for him last year but again I thought he took some great strides and he’s looking forward to taking that next step and proving any of the doubters and naysayers wrong.”
He’s done it before. Hopefully he can do it again.