Is Josh Allen ready? Are we? The Buffalo Bills knew they’d be trading exhilaration in exchange for incomplete swing passes when they drafted him. Now, they just have to figure out how soon to go crazy. A worrying team performance during a pretend game makes it tough to determine whether they’re prepared to encourage precociousness. This would all be much easier if everyone played smoothly.
Everything works out well until stuff happens. Cincinnati doesn’t have to worry about downplaying an exhibition, as they were the only team to play well. Fans went from looking forward to the fabled third preseason game to claiming that it’s just the least meaningless game. The ensuing rationalization is reminiscent of urging a franchise to avoid drafting a certain polarizing quarterback then dreaming of him thriving after management defied the wish.
At best, Sunday’s quasi-game wasn’t a fair audition for quarterbacks on account of an offensive line that was a revolving door in more ways than one. This is the time of year for maintaining that Dion Dawkins, LeSean McCoy, and scheming are the difference between getting shredded like soaked paper towels and finally challenging the Patriots.
Allen has become like Tiger Woods, who gets attention when he’s leading and also when someone else is. The discussion focuses on the team’s most prominent new player whether he’s starting or not. Buffalo’s latest applicant for savior hasn’t had a chance to win majors yet. When should he get his first chance? While we’re asking the tough questions, does existence have meaning?
Fans may be starved for drama. But take comfort in the staff’s quest to be rationally boring. We await a declaration of coaching philosophy. Does the fortune invested get maximized or squandered if Allen starts instantly? Claiming which approach is correct will tell us what the club’s leaders think. The only certainty is that the right answer is impossible to know. Sports are fun like that.
The chance for Allen to make daring throws depends itself on risk. Nathan Peterman’s quiet efficiency during faux games makes him seem like a stable veteran. He has been around for a whole year. As for the competing notion, Sean McDermott gets paid that much to figure when he should unleash Sheriff Cannon on the frontier. When it comes to AJ McCarron, he seems really nice and had a tremendous college career.
Going with Allen would mean indulging in passion over technical proficiency. The wild man throws like Pete Townshend timing a power chord. Ensuing feedback beats listening to endless measures of classical noodling even if it matches the sheet music. Now, would he have to swing his guitar at defenses rushing his stage?
No quarterback can succeed on his own. Even Batman joined the Hall of Justice after realizing that being a brooding loner didn’t stop enough crime. The collective underwhelming performance Sunday leads to wondering who’s least likely to be murdered if the offensive line buckles. Are any of these quarterbacks skilled at running for their lives? One of them will be lucky enough to receive the opportunity to dash like it’s Pamplona in July. Based on early showings, beef’s going to be uncomfortably close.
I hope Allen wins the job just so he can create evidence. There have been volumes of words written about someone who’s presently at game zero. Only this sport could feature such polarization without a single real pro pass. The debate is reminiscent of the one held before Johnny Manziel’s drafting, only about performance and not attitude paired with patronizing taverns.
Games offer good practice. Allen could learn by doing instead of attempting to improve by watching others give it a try. To be fair, the last rookie quarterback given the chance to start immediately was EJ Manuel. But he featured a low ceiling, like that half-floor in Being John Malkovich. Allen could bottom out but also reach far greater heights.
Allen will undoubtedly struggle at times no matter when his first game occurs. I’m sorry to be such a downer, but I was born over three seconds ago. He’s not just young but also as raw as the New York Dolls. A lack of rehearsal is only charming in certain contexts.
The only way to get better is by playing poorly. Improvement follows from mistakes committed either by himself or those around him. So, screw up for the opportunity to not do it again. We’re already bracing for tough games in true Buffalo fashion. Dream of the wildest best-case scenario in the midst of woe to truly feel like a local.
Life is a perpetual rehearsal. Football is reminiscent of everything else if you want an excuse to watch three consecutive Sunday games. The cruel schedule doesn’t care about development stages. Nobody can wait for perfect circumstances to occur, as you’ll end up postponing a career until retirement.
Allen could learn enough while also trying to win games. But the only thing he might develop is a twitch from being sacked two steps into his drop. The collective talent at the other offensive positions might not be conducive to letting any quarterback thrive. Exposing Allen to danger would force him to improvise. Or, he’ll get too rattled to ever learn. If decisions about how to proceed provoke anxiety, note that those actually making them could lose work over it. A fake game is sure making real life tough.
Editor’s babble: It’s Wednesday and I’m still doing deep breathing exercises after watching the Bills/Bengals mess-fest. Decided to run with the “McDermott obfuscated the game by purposely running a line changing drill” in the middle of what was supposed to be Josh Allen’s starting debut. That will only take me so far, but I’m running with that mantra for now. Thanks to Anthony Bialy for always being gentle when the earth-shaking THUD of reality descends upon us. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.