Josh Allen improved in his second season with the Buffalo Bills but the team can help him continue to grow by making some key moves in the 2020 offseason.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was touted by many draft analysts and fans alike to be an NFL bust from the moment he was selected inside the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite his incredible intangibles and athletic build, those outside of the One Bills Drive were concerned he could not refine his accuracy issues or decision-making at the next level.
Allen has already proved many doubters wrong, throwing for 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his second season, while adding 510 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. He led his team to their second playoff berth of the century and the Bills’ first 10-win campaign since 1999.
Even though the Bills added multiple weapons for Allen last offseason, including John Brown, Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox and Devin Singletary, there are moves they can make to help him progress in his third year. For an offense ranked 26th in passing and 23rd in points per game in 2019, here are three moves the Bills need to make to help Josh Allen.
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3. Add Offensive-Line Help
The Bills did a lot to address their offensive line issues in the prior offseason, primarily adding center Mitch Morse and guard Quinton Spain in free agency and drafting offensive lineman Cody Ford in the second round. The offensive line was much improved due to these additions.
Nonetheless, Allen took 38 sacks in 2019, which ranked in the top 10 among quarterbacks. In the Bills’ playoff loss to the Houston Texans, Allen was constantly pressured and sacked three times. Allen makes poor decisions when under pressure, so the Bills would be wise to ensure he has adequate protection.
Retaining Spain before he hits free agency, signing competition for the right tackle position so Ford can play guard and adding depth to the unit would be ideal for Buffalo. Fortunately, they did not suffer many injuries to the O-line this season, but leaving the cupboard less than full could be disastrous for Allen in 2020.
2. Draft a Receiver
This point has been beaten to death early on, so I won’t belabor it. Allen is a strong-armed quarterback who has accuracy issues. He needs a wide receiver with a large catch radius that can make plays on the ball.
The Bills’ current options have opposing skill-sets. Brown is a speedy deep threat that can run smooth routes and Beasley is a slot receiver that relies on precision passes.
The only “big-bodied” wide receiver Allen played with was Duke Williams, the 6-3 former CFL wide receiver that appeared in just four contests with Allen. Williams was one of the Bills’ best wideouts in their Wild Card game, catching four passes for 49 yards and making several contested catches.
It would be wise for the Bills to spend a draft pick on a big college receiver like Tee Higgins or Laviska Shenault. They could also pony up in free agency for A.J. Green or Amari Cooper, but it is doubtful they hit the market. Either way, Allen needs an outside weapon he can trust instead of needing to throw a go-route to his fullback.
1. Find A Complement to Singletary
Buffalo’s 2019 third-round pick, Devin Singletary, was great in limited action, rushing 151 times for 775 yards and two touchdowns and catching 29 balls for 194 yards and two touchdowns. However, the Bills need to add a backfield complement that can provide a pass-catching element to the offense.
Behind Singletary, only 36-year old Frank Gore received a notable amount of touches in the backfield. Gore was ineffective in his role though, only averaging 3.6 yards per carry and less than one catch per game. The Bills need to add a pass-catching threat out of the backfield to take the pressure off of Allen when protection breaks down and provide an outlet to create easy yards.
Singletary is great and should become the lead back, but his 29 catches and 4.66-second 40-yard dash won’t cut it. Tendering offers to restricted free agents like Austin Ekeler or Matt Breida or trading for players in crowded backfields like Tarik Cohen or James White would be ideal for Allen’s development.
If the Buffalo Bills can make these moves, Josh Allen could take the necessary steps to become an elite quarterback next season and lead his team to a playoff win for the first time in the 2000s.