Bills playing it smart with Josh Allen beginning as backup

Buffalo Bills


Josh Allen was drafted to be the Buffalo Bills’ quarterback of the future. That doesn’t mean the Bills are going to throw him onto the field in Week 1.

There’s zero question that the Buffalo Bills drafted Josh Allen to be their starting quarterback of the future. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be under center on Week 1, though. Instead, credit the Bills organization for managing expectations for Allen right from the start of his career.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane insists that Allen will start off the preseason process at the team’s third-string quarterback. Presumably, that means that AJ McCarron will receive snaps with the first team while Nathan Peterman serves as his backup. That news might not excite Bills fans desperate for more upside at the quarterback position, but it’s certainly best for the team in the long run.

Allen entered the NFL Draft as the most divisive quarterback prospect on the board. Some scouts love the elite size and arm strength he brings to the position. There’s a reason that many NFL executives believed he would be the Browns’ first pick just days before the draft began.

On the other hand, plenty of scouts have real doubts about Allen’s ability to throw the ball accurately in the NFL. That’s the primary reason he didn’t go No. 1 overall. Critics of Allen’s game question why anyone would believe his mediocre completion percentage in college (56.2%) will increase once he hits the NFL.

No matter what you think of Allen as a prospect it’s clear that he can benefit from a slow integration into the NFL. If nothing else, the difference in competition between Wyoming and the NFL will send his head spinning. No offense to the defensive backs who lined up against the Cowboys last year, but they certainly weren’t as good as what he’ll face week-in and week-out at the next level.

Instead of being rushed into game preparation the coaching staff can spend some quality time with Allen trying to improve his deficiencies. In particular, the Bills will work hard to clean up Allen’s inconsistent delivery. His best chance of becoming an accurate quarterback will be to find a throwing motion he can repeat consistently. Allen can expect a lot of drills to clean this issue up before he ever sees the field.

Starting him off as the team’s third string quarterback will also quell the early calls from fans to start Allen over McCarron and Peterman. While Peterman can safely be ruled out as a solution at quarterback for the team, McCarron could prove to be a solid NFL option at the position. Establishing his value at that level can pay off for the Bills both on the field and in the event they ultimately elect to trade him to clear the way for Allen.

Everyone associated with the Bills need to stay patient with Allen. If he’s rushed into action it could ruin any chance he has to become a long-term fixture at quarterback for the team. Keeping him on the bench for as long as possible is best for everyone involved.



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