No matter how well Josh Allen throws the ball in preseason, the Buffalo Bills cannot afford to change their conservative plan with the rookie quarterback.
It’s easy to understand why the Bills’ coaching staff might be tempted to accelerate their plan for quarterback Josh Allen. However, they must resist temptation. Pushing Allen into the limelight too early could destroy his career before it truly has a chance to begin.
Unfortunately for Bills fans, Sean McDermott already seems to be softening on his stance against playing Allen early in the 2018 season. Immediately after the draft he was adamant that Allen would sit and learn behind A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman. Now, McDermott is starting to refer to his quarterback depth chart as a “fluid situation.”
In fairness to McDermott, he still is splitting first team reps pretty evenly between McCarron and Peterman. That means Allen is picking up the scraps with the third team. Given the level of competition he faced at Wyoming last season, that’s precisely where he should be.
The Bills selected Allen due to his exceptional arm strength. That’s a key characteristic for a cold weather quarterback. They did do with the full knowledge they were prioritizing that over accuracy. Allen still has miles to go before he becomes an average NFL quarterback in that regard.
Instead of working with Allen on the playbook, the coaching staff needs to be spending as much time as possible working on his mechanics. When you watch his tape from Wyoming he rarely repeats the same delivery. In particular, his lower body is all over the place. Predictably, that leads to trouble when it comes to accuracy.
It’s going to take him significant time to unlearn those bad habits. In a sense, the Bills need to teach him to walk all over again. He got by on arm strength in college but that’s not going to cut it at the professional level. He must develop technique to go along with that arm talent.
All of that means he shouldn’t be anywhere near the field when the Bills roll into Week One. At most, the coaching staff should be preparing him to play a game or two at the end of the 2018 season. If he plays meaningful football any sooner than that, the Bills’ plan for Josh Allen has gone horribly wrong.