2nd Time Around: Bills Expectations for Allen Were Big and Have Gotten Bigger

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Josh Allen is now on center stage with the Buffalo Bills.

A year ago, he was the No. 1 pick who was going to be brought along slowly during his rookie season, but instead he was given a full plate of work, and established himself as a central park in the Bills now and in the future.

As a result, he goes into this summer with the spotlight of being the No. 1 quarterback on a team with few other things set about it's offense for the 2019 season. The Bills have added skilled position players including John Brown, Cole Beasley and Tyler Kroft, and were busy signing free agent offensive linemen. Among the second-day draft picks were offensive linemen Cody Ford, tight end Dawson Knox and running back Devin Singletary.

And former quarterback Ken Dorsey was hired as the Bills' quarterbacks coach.

Where everyone fits remains to be seen.

Allen’s rookie season saw some remarkable highlights (ex: Anthony Barr used as a hurdle) and some major struggles (ex: Lambeau Field performance). Nevertheless, inconsistency is expected of a quarterback adjusting to the pro game — you have to give him some leeway in the transition, Justin DiLoro wrote in the Buffalo News.

Allen threw for 2,074 passing yards in 12 games. In his 11 starts, Allen averaged 181.8 passing yards per game. His touchdown-to-interception ratio, while it improved as the season continued, still saw more interceptions than touchdowns by the season’s conclusion. On the plus side, Allen scored eight rushing touchdowns, and in games be both started and finished, the QB had a 5-5 overall record. 

Twenty-nine quarterbacks averaged at least 200 passing yards per game. Additionally, of 33 quarterbacks who started at least eight games, 29 threw more touchdown passes than games started (Allen, Josh Rosen, Marcus Mariota, and Alex Smith meet this mark).

Success can be found without throwing for a massive amount of yards. Russell Wilson, who just signed the most lucrative contract in NFL history, averaged 215.5 yards per game last year. Wilson’s penchant for throwing touchdown passes (35) and keeping the ball out of defenders’ hands (seven interceptions) is ultimately what makes him special.

With Allen, it’s not unreasonable to expect him to approach Bortles-like numbers. With better receivers and a stronger grasp of the professional game in his second year, the Wyoming product should improve upon his anticipation for routes, which should improve completion percentage as well.

Thus, it’s realistic to expect Allen to average more than 200 yards per game and improve upon his touchdown-to-interception ratio. Let’s also say Allen will not have a sub-100-yard passing game next year, even though he had two such games in his rookie season.

Thus, a conservatively realistic stat line for Allen is a season of 3,300 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions, and completing 56 percent of his passes. His rushing numbers may take a step back, but he could still rush for about 300-400 yards on the year.

While we are not expecting a Jared Goff-type jump in production from season one to season two for Allen, there should be some meaningful progress.

Now, wins trump stats any day of the week. However, the better Allen plays, the more likely he will rack up some positive stats and in turn, Buffalo will win more games.

This should be the floor for Allen. There are obviously extenuating factors (such as an injury) that could take him off this course. Nevertheless, it’s sensible to expect this much from Allen during his second season with Buffalo, according to DiLoro.

For coverage of Josh Allen and the Bills it is worth the price to get an online subscription to the Buffalo News.

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