When the Buffalo Bills selected Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, it was no secret that the coaching staff would need to exercise patience as the raw, but insanely gifted passer developed.
Viewed as a boom-or-bust prospect coming out of Wyoming, Allen was one of the more controversial prospects in a draft class littered with talented quarterbacks. But ultimately, the Bills have faith in their coaching staff and believe that they can bring the best out of the uber-talented quarterback.
Through OTA’s Allen worked primarily with the third-team offense as A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman split reps with the first and second-stringers. Prior to Buffalo’s three-day minicamp, head coach Sean McDermott explained his plan for Allen’s snap distribution.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]”Josh [Allen] is going to continue with the third group, like he’s done before, but what we’ll do periodically is give Josh some reps with the ones,” McDermott said.[/perfectpullquote]
“That’s all part of his development plan. [It’s] really a chance for us to evaluate our entire roster as well from top to bottom. He’ll still work with the threes by in large and Nate [Peterman] and AJ [McCarron] will continue with the ones and twos, there. We’ll throw Josh in from time to time moving forward.”
Josh Allen dazzles Bills, media with huge arm
Allen played a handful of snaps with the first-team Tuesday, getting a series in 11-on-11 drills and another in nine-on-nine. He showed off his ridiculous cannon for an arm, which you can see in the following clips WGR-550’s Sal Capaccio posted to Twitter.
Video: Josh Allen deep ball going right over you. pic.twitter.com/jeQp71Nz0P
— Sal Capaccio 🏈 (@SalSports) June 13, 2018
…and the deep ball (it was caught if you can’t see that): pic.twitter.com/xtSrCBkWmO
— Sal Capaccio 🏈 (@SalSports) June 12, 2018
Allen hooked up with free agent acquisition Jeremy Kerley for a touchdown before connecting with Kelvin Benjamin on a big play that Bills fans should be prepared to see a lot of.
The former Cowboys passer possesses a gunslinger mentality. He knows he can throw the ball anywhere on the field and won’t hesitate to fire a pass into tight coverage, especially to a massive receiver like Benjamin, who stands 6-foot-5. Allen delivered the ball high, trusting the big man to high-point the ball, and it was executed flawlessly.
The rookie did make mistakes, as one of his passes was tipped by Micah Hyde into the hands of Tremaine Edmunds for an interception. However, Josh Allen wants to prove his doubters wrong, and isn’t too proud to seek advice wherever he can take it.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]“Micah Hyde broke one of my passes up so I went up to him after practice and just asked what he saw,” said Allen. “He said he saw my eyes. So being able to talk to the defense like that and pick up on keys that they’re looking at to help them make plays on the football is valuable. So I’m just trying to learn from all the reps that I get.”[/perfectpullquote]
Josh Allen gaining respect from teammates
LeSean McCoy is never one to mince his words, but even the 29-year old star running back had some high praise for the 22-year old after the practice session. McCoy was reluctant to admit it, but acknowledged that he thought highly of Allen – which is high praise for a rookie in his eyes.
“I have to be honest, he’s pretty good. I’m not a big fan of rookies.,” McCoy told the media Tuesday. “The best rookie I’ve probably liked in my career has been Tre [White]. Tre’s really good. A lot of guys as rookies, they’re not like him. The quarterback is on that level: he’s good, he’s smart, [but] he has to learn of course. He’s thrown some passes that probably shouldn’t have been thrown, but other than that he has a strong arm, [he is] very intelligent. He’s too smart. Sometimes, we have conversations, and I’m like, “Easy, this is not like an exam. Just talk to me. You can say ‘yo, what’s up.”
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]”I don’t want to make him a Jim Kelly already, but he’s got to learn different things. He’s a rookie. Quarterback is such an important role. He’s like a coach on the field as far as making the right reads, being confident. He has so much he has to learn from his position to the wide receivers to the lineman, protections. He has a lot on his plate. Other than that, just talent wise and intelligence, he has it to be a starting quarterback and also a franchise quarterback.”[/perfectpullquote]
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]McCoy went on to explain that Allen is the type of passer that wants to be the risk taker and air it out all game, joking that the young signal-caller can’t forget about the superstar lined up behind him.”[/perfectpullquote]
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]”He’s special, that’s for sure.”Only thing is, those dudes like that, they get carried away. We’ve got to give Shady the ball 25 times and then you can throw it here and there.”[/perfectpullquote]
Allen saw his snaps increase on Wednesday and his play rose also. In red zone situation drills, Josh Allen was rotating in with the first-team and connected with Jeremy Kerley for a score and nearly had another but the pass was dropped by Charles Clay.
Once again, he flashed his insane arm strength, effortlessly tossing a 50-yard dime to Rod Streater. Asked about the play, all Streater could do was shake his head while saying, “He’s got an arm. He’s got an arm.”
Tre’Davious White echoed those comments in an appearance on Sirius XM Radio Wednesday as he discussed being baffled by Allen’s arm.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]”He’s got a tremendous arm. I’ve never seen a quarterback as long as I’ve been playing football throw a 15 yard out and it looks like it was shot out of a cannon.”[/perfectpullquote]
#Bills CB @TreWhite16: Josh Allen has a tremendous arm and I've never seen a Quarterback as long as I've been playing football throw a 15 yard out and it looks like it was shot out of a cannon. pic.twitter.com/E6qj6yK7pd
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) June 13, 2018
Bills veterans a valuable resource for Allen
Allen spoke with the media after he finally earned his shot to work with the starters and talked about how he’s leaning on veterans like LeSean McCoy and Micah Hyde, who are each assisting him as he adjusts to the NFL. Allen isn’t as candid and ‘tell-it-how-it-is’ as McCoy. The rookie has a vastly different personality, and acknowledged that he was a bit anxious but McCoy helped him shake off some nerves and feel part of the team.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]”He likes to joke around,” Allen said. “He says I’m all football, so there’s nothing wrong with that, but he wants me to loosen up a little bit, so I’ll loosen up for him.To come up and have that relationship with me where he can tell me something [about] how he’s feeling, obviously he’s been in this league for a long time now. He’s a really great football player, so for him to say that, I’m going to take that to the heart and come out and be more relaxed and be myself.”[/perfectpullquote]
In college, Allen didn’t have much of a supporting cast to help him out. This led to some occasional recklessness as he tried to do too much, and as a result, made some boneheaded decisions.
Now, he has playmakers around him and knows that he needs to be smart with the football if he wants to prove that he’s accurate enough to be a quality starter.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”22″]”It’s really about taking the smart play. Sometimes the smart play is throwing it away or holding on to it,” said Allen. “Just trying to consistently develop great habits. Coach Daboll continues to tell us ‘don’t pass one to take one’. If we see a guy open, it might not be the long one or the home-run ball, [but] if he’s open now, get it to him now. Let our guys make plays.”[/perfectpullquote]
The Bills wrap up minicamp Thursday and have about one month off before training camp kicks off. While Josh Allen impressed, Sean McDermott said that Nathan Peterman and AJ McCarron will continue splitting first and second-team snaps, meaning Allen will be back with the third-stringers.
Josh Allen needs be all about football if he wants to prove doubters wrong. Draftniks and analysts ripped him throughout the pre-draft process and they’re waiting for him to fail. After all, he had awful production in relation to his draft position while playing inferior competition. He finished his career with a 56.2-percent completion rate while throwing for 5,066 yards (7.8 yards-per-attempt), tossing 44 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions.
While he’s already turned heads, McDermott is challenging Josh Allen to push himself and leave no option than to name him the opening day starter.
“There are areas in Josh Allen’s game that he’s a further along than we expected at this point but there’s still plenty of work to get done,” said McDermott.