Josh Allen just went all-in on challenging himself, thanks to a catchy nickname.
The Buffalo Bills franchise quarterback is entering his third year out of Wyoming. While his team has been one of the better clubs in the AFC in the last three years, Allen isn’t about to change the way he plays the game of football.
“I’m not going to be Captain Checkdown,” said Allen. “I’m going to continue to play the game the way I love it.”
When Allen went No. 7 overall to Buffalo in the 2018 NFL Draft, it was met with both praise and criticism. On the positive side of things, he was going to a team with a strong defense and a great coaching staff. His howitzer of a right arm and mobility would be great fits in the harsh Northeastern winters. Though raw as a prospect, Buffalo was an ideal landing spot for him.
As for the criticism, Allen got worse in his final year at Wyoming. He struggled mightily against Power 5 competition vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Oregon Ducks in 2017. Accuracy issues and not exactly dominating the Mountain West as an upperclassmen were major concerns about the high variance he’d have as a pro prospect with major bust potential. It doesn’t look to be the case.
Don’t tell Josh Allen to be a game-manager at the quarterback position.
Despite never completing 60 percent of his passes in his first two years in the league, Allen has gone 15-12 in 27 career starts. He went 10-6 last year, as the Bills made the AFC playoffs for the first time with him on the team. Allen completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s really finding his own in Brian Daboll’s offensive system.
All the while, Allen has emerged as one of the better dual-threat playmakers in the game. He has 1,141 career rushing yards on 198 carries and 17 additional trips to pay dirt as a ball carrier. Though he’ll never lead the league in most major passing statistics, Allen can be a Pro Bowler as early as year three in the league out of Buffalo. His style of play is working, if you can believe that.
Despite his ball security issues, which were firmly on display in the AFC Wild Card game loss on the road to the Houston Texans, the Bills don’t need him to become “Captain Checkdown”. Frankly, it wasn’t all that long ago they had the epitome of “Captain Checkdown” starting games for them in Trent Edwards. That passing philosophy led to a lot of not making the NFL playoffs.
With the addition of Stefon Diggs as Buffalo’s undisputed No. 1 wide receiver, look for Allen to get over the 60-percent completion threshold as early as this season. We won’t go as far as saying he’ll complete 65 percent of his passes and approach 4,000 yards through the air, but the next progression of Allen as a passer is inevitably coming.
Buffalo projects as the third-best team in the AFC behind the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs in some order. Should the Bills win the AFC East and maybe a playoff game or two, look for Daboll to become an NFL head coach for the first time in the 2021 season. By him helping Allen get the most out of his talent, it’s clear Daboll is on the fast track of leading his own team soon.
Though it may feel a little extra at times, don’t look for Allen to change how he plays quarterback.