Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms is a massive fan of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Currently an analyst for NBC Sports and host of the podcast Unbuttoned, Simms has followed Allen’s career from the beginning and even nicknamed him “My Boy Blue.”
Recently, Allen and Simms had a lengthy chat about Allen’s improved mechanics, playing in bad weather and his approach to the offseason. Click the embedded YouTube video below for the whole interview.
Little League sports
The very first thing Simms wanted to know was whether or not Allen dominated Little League sports. Of course he did. Although Josh played basketball and football, he felt like he was best at baseball. He was always just a tad on the small side for football. He didn’t become a “giant” until college. He also told Simms that even when he was smaller, he always had an arm.
Allen told Simms that he hasn’t changed his grip since coming out of college. He has, however, switched up his mechanics quite a bit. He’s now more of a rotational thrower thanks to quarterback guru Jordan Palmer and Chris Hess, who is the owner of Biometric. Being able to see his body and the angles he was throwing from is what really made things click inside Allen’s head.
Allen goes into great detail about his previous mechanics and what he’s done to improve them. He tells Simms that backup QB Matt Barkley is also pretty big on mechanics and they always have fun conversations about it. Make sure to check out the video for more details.
Unleashing the ball
Simms asked Allen, “How many times a game do you think you just unleash it and throw it 100% effort?”
“Maybe once or twice a game,” Allen replied. “And it’s not the deep “go” balls, it’s like, “oh shoot, tight window here. Like, I gotta go.”” Allen seems to work best when he has to squeeze the ball in between defenders.
Light bulb moment
In talking about tight windows, Simms wanted to know at what moment Josh Allen realized that he couldn’t squeeze every ball in at all times.
“That would have been second year against the Patriots,” Allen immediately responded. “Three interceptions in that first half, get reamed on the sideline by Daboll, go out and get knocked out of the game. It was at that point I knew, I was like, ‘You know what, let’s trust the guys around me. I don’t need to make every single throw that I see.’”
Simms then complimented Allen by saying that he’s really good at touch throws and timing and he wanted to know what his thought process is like when he makes them. Allen basically said that those kinds of throws don’t need to be as precise but it’s still a matter of giving his guy a shot and not the defender. He also said he hates overthrowing the ball so he tries to limit those as much as possible.
“How do you practice chaos and backyard football?” Simms asked. Allen stated that it’s pretty difficult to practice scrambling because it’s something that just has to happen in real-time. He said that it’s more about trusting the guys around him and having the ability to feel the pressure.
Simms then asked Josh about whether he clearly sees a defender coming after him or just a blur. “Sometimes it’s a little bit of both,” said Allen as he caught a ball from Simms. “Sometimes it’s as clear as day. Sometimes you feel a flash.”
He credits playing Pop Warner football with giving him a good feel of who’s around him because they didn’t have offensive linemen. “It was just drop back and throw the ball or find a way out and get to a different spot and throw the ball,” Allen explained.
Does Allen ever throw blind balls amidst the chaos?
“I threw one blind football last year and it was the divisional game to Dawson Knox,” Allen stated with pride. He was referring to the back of the end zone touchdown against the New England Patriots, in which he believed he was just throwing the ball away. He even thought he was going to draw a flag on the play and didn’t realize he had scored until Knox came running up to him.
When asked how often he works out, Allen joked, “24/7. Every day in the offseason.” After a laugh, he then said, “I think my play style is different than a lot of quarterbacks in the league. After the season, I’m beat up physically.”
“This offseason is actually the least amount of working out I did. When I came back and I did our initial testing, I blew every test that I’ve ever done out of the water. It’s the best I’ve ever felt right now,” Allen stated. He believes that allowing his body to rest and recover has made a world of difference for him.
As far as arm workouts, Allen told Simms that he “barely touches anything up top.” No barbells or bench presses for the Bills QB. He does, however, work on his legs with squats and deadlifts. (Duh. Have you seen him in shorts?)
Does weather change Allen’s thought process?
“I know this is gonna sound weird. In the wind, you’ve gotta focus as much as you can on throwing a spiral,” replied Allen. He said that it’s almost worse when the wind is with him because he’s throwing a high-trajectory ball and he has no idea where the wind is going to take it.
Simms brought up MLB legend Derek Jeter and how he kept receipts of people hating on him to fuel his success. He wanted to know if Allen does something similar, especially since he had so many doubters in the beginning.
“It’s a double-edged sword there,” said Allen with a sigh. “I know who has said what, I’ve seen it. That’s our job. We get critiqued in the public. At the end of the day, I know what I’m capable of. As long as I had the respect and trust of my teammates, everything else is minutia.”
Josh Allen recently made a statement that he wants to own the game of football. Simms had him explain what he meant.
Allen said that he wants to better understand defenses and coverages, weak points, and certain concepts. He also wants to improve in situational football and know exactly why offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey is calling what he’s calling.
Head coach Sean McDermott
“When did you know that he had your back? Like he was gonna break the mold of a defensive coach, like a Tony Dungy with Peyton Manning, and go, ‘You know what? This dude’s real. Let’s just go and attack with it,’” Simms wanted know.
Josh Allen said that it happened in part of his third season. McDermott told Allen that he trusted him completely and gave the captains the “keys” to the team. His two caveats were that Josh took care of the football and scored points.
Being able to play loose and be himself are extremely important to Allen. Backup QBs Matt Barkley and Case Keenum have said that the respect and leeway that coaches give the players in Buffalo is awesome because they’ve both been on teams with systems that were much different. “It makes you feel like a grown man playing football,” Allen remarked.
OC Ken Dorsey and OL coach Aaron Kromer
Simms asked Josh what different things Ken Dorsey and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer are bringing to the table now that Brian Daboll is with the New York Giants.
“I think in terms of run game, we’re going to be consistent in terms of approach to it,” Allen answered after a brief pause. “I know it’s preseason but coming out and playing the way we did last week (against the Denver Broncos), in running the ball the way we did, guys start to buy in and start to believe that when things go the right way.”
Does Josh always want the coach to call a run play for him?
“I mean, the competitor in me is like, ‘Yeah, put the ball in my hands.’” stated Allen. He knows that he has to let the running backs do their jobs but he also believes that allowing the QB to run only helps the team because it forces defenses to play differently against them.
Surely Allen would rather throw the ball but he’s always ready when the call comes to run it. He even played running back in his first year of Pop Warner, he told Simms.
Being the man
Moving on from mechanics, Simms asked Allen how it feels to be considered among elite QBs such as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.
Being the humble guy that he is, Allen responded by saying, “It doesn’t really sit with me like that. At the end of the day, I’m doing what I love to do, being a QB for such a historic franchise here in Buffalo and it’s such a great fanbase.” He then added, “Something I’m proud of is what I’ve been able to do off the field in the community here and have the Patricia Allen Fund and be able to help out Oishei Children’s Hospital.”
He said the one time it did hit him was playing in The Match against his idols Brady and Rodgers and with Mahomes. It was surreal to him and at one point, he even leaned over to Mahomes and said, “This is freaking crazy!” Mahomes apparently felt the same way.
Simms and Allen also had a little laugh about Brady calling Allen a bit “chunky.” “How dare he? He won’t race me though,” Allen joked with his hands on his hips. “And he won’t tackle me.”
Simms agreed with Allen on both.
The Mahomes/Allen Era
Simms brought up the John Elway/Dan Marino and Payton Manning/Brady eras and stated that it seems like it’s now heading towards the Mahomes/Allen Era. He wanted Josh to describe his unique relationship with Mahomes.
Allen answered that their relationship is rooted in how they grew up. They were both doubted early on in their careers, neither went to really prestigious colleges, and they both love the game of football. He said that they both really enjoy and have a lot of fun on the field and they respect each other’s games.
“It is such a unique situation though because the media and the people, they want us to hate each other so much. But I respect him so much that that could never happen,” Allen told Simms with a smile.
Simms also wanted to know if Josh finds himself checking up on how Mahomes and the Chiefs are doing but Allen said he doesn’t. While he watches a ton of football, he’s focused on what the Bills have going on.
Handling Super Bowl expectations
“Everything we do on or off the field is towards that goal to give us a chance to win the Super Bowl,” Allen remarked. He said it’s on everyone’s minds and that’s what the team is setting out to do.
DT Aaron Donald
Since Allen played against Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald before, Simms had to know what it’s like to deal with him.
“It sucks,” announced Allen. “I’ve never been toyed or manhandled the way I’ve ever been with him. He’s a monster and he’s one of the, if not the, best player in football.” Allen also let Simms know that he and Donald share the same financial advisor. He quipped that maybe because of that, he’ll take it easy on him and set him down gently.
The two then ended the interview with one of Allen’s special handshakes and a reference to the time when Peter King left him hanging for one.