The Buffalo Bills will look to rookie quarterback Josh Allen to get their offense rolling Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Chargers at New Era Field and running back LeSean McCoy is taking it upon himself to make life easy for the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
The 30-year old spoke to the media following the team’s practice Wednesday and was emphatic that the Bills had no room for excuses going forward. McCoy acknowledged that Buffalo’s skill players absolutely must do whatever is necessary to make plays and build up Josh Allen’s confidence. The running back even joked that carrying the ball 40-times wasn’t out of the question when discussing how he could assist the rookie in his first NFL start.
“40 carries [laughs]. No, I mean [I will just be] helping him out,” said McCoy. “The one thing I’m going to talk to the offense about, especially the skilled guys, is when a rookie quarterback, to have a good game for them, it’s to make it easy on them. If he makes a wrong read, that’s a tough ball to catch, catch it. You might not get yards after the catch, but just catching the ball, giving him confidence, moving the chains in the running back room, making guys miss, breaking tackles.”
In Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season, the Bills were obliterated 47-3 by the Baltimore Ravens. Nathan Peterman, who earned the starting job after an impressive preseason, was benched little over two quarters of play in which he completed just five-of-18 passes for 24 yards, throwing zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Allen, who Buffalo traded up to select with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, didn’t have much better luck from a statistical standpoint than Peterman (6-of-15, 74 yards, 24 rushing yards) but the rookie showed off fantastic arm strength and athleticism that helped him extend plays.
The move to start Josh Allen in Week 2 was almost a no-brainer when comparing him to Peterman. While some may argue that the wise decision would be to allow Peterman to take the beating against the difficult string of opponents looming on Buffalo’s schedule as Allen continues to develop, it’s hard to deny the fact that the Wyoming product gives the Bills the best chance to win.
Head coach Sean McDermott acknowledged that he wanted to see Josh Allen get better in some areas but noted that he was impressed with what he saw by the 6-foot-5, 232-pound signal-caller.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I thought his command of the offense was there, McDermott said. “There were some things that he did well in getting us in and out of the huddle, which are things you don’t take for granted when a young player is out there. After the snap, [he] executed fairly well at times and then there’s other times where we need to execute better. He moved well to put himself in position and generate some offense within the pocket and then outside of the pocket. There are some things, like I said after the game, that he can do better. He’s going to continue to learn and grow and that’s the growth mindset that our team embraces, and that’s the case in this situation.”[/perfectpullquote]
During the Bills’ minicamp, LeSean McCoy made it clear that he wasn’t a big fan of rookies, but noted that Josh Allen seemed like an exception to a small group that also includes second-year cornerback Tre’Davious White.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “I’m not a big fan of rookies. 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,” McCoy said regarding Josh Allen. “Sometimes, we have conversations, and I’m like, “Easy, this is not like an exam. Just talk to me.” As a talent level, he’s going to be good for a lot of years and I want to be a part of that when he takes over eventually. [We] took him early in the draft, so that’s common sense. 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]
LeSean McCoy gained just 22 yards on seven rushing attempts during Buffalo’s Week 1 loss, catching one pass for minus-one yard. In a season that McCoy hopes to join an exclusive club of running backs to gain 12,000 career rushing yards, stability at the quarterback position is crucial to his success. With Buffalo’s Peterman-led offense consistently going three-and-out, the Bills weren’t able to get into enough of a rhythm to establish the run.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”To be honest, that game kind of got out of whack fast. We didn’t really get to run the ball to get the running game established. It’s hard to really judge it. They made plays, we got down so fast, and I think the penalties kind of killed us when we did get some positive yards in the running game. We didn’t really get the chance to really run the ball.”[/perfectpullquote]
The Chargers boast a ferocious defense that features one of the NFL’s top pass rushing units. Last season they beat the Bills 54-24. While LeSean McCoy rushed for 114 yards, Los Angeles’ tandem of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa wreaked havoc on Peterman, forcing him into throwing five interceptions. The Chargers notched seven sacks and generated 23 total pressures in the game. While Bosa’s status for Sunday remains up in the air after missing Week 1 with a foot injury, Buffalo’s offensive line is worse than last year’s unit, so the Bills will need to get things going quick on offense if they hope to have any chance of coming out of their home opener with a 1-1 record.