The Buffalo Bills completed another week of OTAs, and the talk of this week was again quarterback Josh Allen. While he is still unsigned and taking reps with the third string, he has reportedly been “blowing people away.”
Maybe an exaggeration on Chris Simms’s part, but from the little footage that the media has been able to capture, Allen’s work habits have been encouraging.
We know Allen has a big arm, but we also know he has a lot of work to do to refine his game. It appears the staff knows that, as well, because when you watch some of the practice footage, it almost seems like there are several coaches and assistants supporting Allen as he goes through drills. But the coach that has been front and center with Allen has been offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
While Nathan Peterman and AJ McCarron rotate reps with the “1s”, you can see Daboll exchanging words with the rookie from Firebaugh, California. It’s almost as if Daboll is making it his personal challenge to clean up Allen’s game. But this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. It was reported that Daboll was asked during the draft process by GM Brandon Beane about what he would do if they drafted Allen.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”30″]“Brian and (quarterback coach) David Culley, Sean (McDermott), the Pegulas and everybody, we visited all these guys that we considered drafting and Brian, we had him go through with each of the quarterbacks: how will you use him? What would you do differently if we get this guy? That’s the great thing about Brian . . . Brian had a specific plan for Josh, once we selected him, and he’s very excited to work with him. So is coach Culley.”[/perfectpullquote]
As I have mentioned before, Allen’s accuracy stems from his weight distribution. You have to remember Allen is 6’5″, 237 lbs, so when that weight gets moving, stopping or redirecting momentum takes some force. At times, Allen struggles to properly shift his weight while in the pocket. His base will be too wide, he can exhibit erratic footwork in order to put his lower body in position to fire the ball. That helter-skelter sort of play will not cut it at the next level, because defenders are just too good. A glitch in his mechanics will send the ball up over a receiver’s head and right into a safety’s hands.
QB Drills and Techniques
The staff understands this, and you can see Daboll drilling the fundamentals in just about any practice footage. In week one, we saw Allen being put through agility drills. This drill was a staple of Peyton Manning.
This week, Daboll expanded upon it. Instead of putting him through the bags, he had Allen’s eyes glued on him. Allen will take his drop, and then Coach will point in a direction to move, and Allen will follow.
The following video footage is courtesy of NYUpstate.com
Pretty simple drill. Allen has to keep his eyes on Coach, follow his directions, but the main coaching points are as follows: you want to see Allen keep his shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage or Daboll regardless of what direction he is moving. This will prevent him from turning his shoulders in the direction that he wants to throw in a game, in turn cueing a defensive back. Secondly, when Daboll gives him a command to change direction, you want Allen to do so smoothly, with level shoulders, feet just about shoulder-width apart, and to remain in a throwing position at all times. You will see as Allen hits the top of his drop that he loses his base just a tad, and I mean for a split second, as he is waiting for Daboll to give a command. He should hit the top of his drop and gather his base and wait for the command. This is an issue because, in essence, it forces Allen to gather before making the throw, so it adds a step to the throwing process.
He recovers and continues to ‘fire his feet’ until Daboll gives him a command to shift left then right, all of which he does smoothly.
Once he displays that he properly shifted his weight, Daboll points to Allen’s right and directs him to throw it. Allen sets his ‘hallway’ by rotating his body into a position to where his feet and lead shoulder are pointing at the target. He displays very good balance, separates his hand from the ball as his lead foot strikes, doesn’t overstride and delivers the ball. Here is the entire rep:
Here is another clip of Allen running through the drill. Aside from Allen trying to anticipate the change of direction from Daboll, Allen runs through this rep smoothly, displays clean mechanics and is able to accurately deliver the ball approximately 10-15 yards.
I know it is only OTAs, but what I am seeing from Brian Daboll really excites me. He was brought on because of his ability to develop quarterbacks, and every chance we have had a peek at practices, he is doing just that. You see him consistently correcting and praising the rookie, and this is the type of attention that Allen’s mechanics need. Daboll has internalized the challenge. I don’t know about his coaching aspirations, but developing a guy like Allen could open up opportunities for Daboll in the future. It is becoming a trend.