What must Bills QB Josh Allen improve on entering Year 6?


I posed the question on Twitter: what does Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen need to improve on going into his sixth NFL season? Many fans responded to the question, assessing what he has to do to take another jump in the 2023 campaign.

Allen is coming off of a year that was more of an anomaly to me in terms of his red zone turnover troubles. In 2021, Allen completed 55% of his red zone passes for 489 yards, 34 touchdowns, and only two interceptions, per Pro Football Reference. He ran the ball for 153 yards and six touchdowns. You could argue that Allen was the best quarterback in the league in the red zone in 2021. In his three years prior to 2021, he was also very effective in the red zone and notoriously limited turnovers.

In 2022, Allen completed 50% of his passes for 359 yards, 23 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also ran the ball for 80 yards and six touchdowns. Many fans clamored that he needs to fix those red zone mistakes this upcoming season, and I would have to agree. The Bills have been one of the most efficient red zone offenses in the league, finishing first in 2021 at 66.28% and ninth in 2022 at 60%. (TeamRankings.com) A big reason why the team took a step back last year in the red zone was Allen and his costly mistakes at critical times in games. The first drive against the New York Jets where he tried to fit one into Dawson Knox on the sideline comes to mind. The Bills ended up losing that game, 20-17.

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Another part of Allen’s game that fans want to see improved is his overall turnovers and trying not to play hero ball so much. In his last two seasons, Allen has turned the ball over 18 and 19 times. Maybe this is the result of Allen doing too much, and his style of play results in the turnovers. The turnovers need to come down, but at what cost? I don’t want Allen to go into a shell and not play his normal game just so he can keep the ball away from the other team. Allen is at his best when he is hurdling defenders and making throws on the run. He just needs to be smarter in key situations, and if he needs to get rid of the ball, get rid of it.

A big point of emphasis for this Bills’ offense and something they have struggled with since Allen’s arrival is getting yards after the catch from receivers. They brought in Deonte Harty and drafted guys like James Cook and Dawson Knox to evolve that part of their offense. It just hasn’t happened yet, and it’s something that Cover 1 contributor @UberHansen says he wants to see more of from Allen this year. Hansen believes Allen needs to “lead his receivers more consistently.”

Allen needs to do that. He came out of college and silenced people who thought he was an inaccurate quarterback. Allen has been more than accurate in the NFL, and that has been a non-issue. However, putting the ball in better spots to allow the receiver to get yards after the catch is something he can work on going into year six.

Allen is coachable and has continued to show his willingness to learn and improve as a quarterback. With offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey returning for a second season, big things could be on the horizon for Allen and this offense.