Can Josh Allen tackle? Check if he’s a good blocker, too. We’re asking a lot of someone who’s just starting to work. But at least he’s getting in his drill steps.
Only the Buffalo Bills could win as they lose. The franchise must prepare for next year because we’ve seen the lack of results when try their utmost during this one. Sure, we’ve been waiting as long as we’ve been watching. But at least this ordeal might finally be for a reason.
Sunday’s easiest parlay would’ve been betting on huge passing plays along with a few poor decisions during a loss. It’s not that Allen is wholly ready, as seen by a performance as dynamically uneven as expected. But starts like this will make him so.
Foes are not going to be kind to him just because he’s wearing a trainee name tag, which is as we hope. Buffalo fans are watching the 2019 preseason, so set the difficulty on high instead of trying to win the Cup with offside turned off.
The defense improved after Vontae Davis retired. But the abrupt departure of a demoted feckless quitting pouter won’t spur ticked teammates all season. Kindly setting up Allen for a big comeback isn’t enough.
Everyone has to get in experience. For one, Tremaine Edmunds must learn to be the defensive quarterback with about the same level of talent surrounding his offensive counterpart. Forget the optimistic dream of counting on him being a Pro Bowler from the opener. He’s enduring the same normal struggle that accompanies realizing how fast the NFL goes. Are the feet always blurry like that?
The difference between practice and games has never been more apparent. Rehearsing a prom invitation in a mirror is nothing like the actual moment. Presuming Christina Hendricks will say yes is going to lead to losing the limo deposit.
Remember Nate Peterman? He performed best of all quarterbacks during the preseason. It’s odd to say, but that’s not the point. Switching to Allen is an investment in the future. This year is about preparing for future ones. Besides, it wasn’t like the club’s most experienced quarterback was stampeding through the conference. Wasting allowances isn’t even fun when buying Necco Wafers instead of good candy.
Waiting until next year feels even more apt than usual. What’s best for the franchise over time might not mean positive things right now like, oh, wins. But the youngsters are learning on the job for when it counts. The simulation of real football action is so vivid that players profess it’s almost like reality. This is the Star Trek Holodeck of seasons.
Allen already played as expected, which is to say with unexpected twists. Having a quarterback willing to take risks that are almost psychotic is a lovely change of pace. Some will pay off while others inevitably turn into interceptions while trying to evade sacks. He can’t reduce the latter without realtime repetitions.
There’s no learning without trying. The biggest lesson is that downsides can only be managed, not eliminated. Evel Knievel could’ve avoided many broken bones if his wheels never left the ground.
Advocates of pursuing advanced degrees fear early playing time could ruin Allen. He could regress either through an underwhelming supporting cast or reinforcement of regrettable tendencies. But he already looked as if he learned from quarter to quarter. If he’s not ready, then the best option’s playing him until he is. Make Allen-San paint the fence until the mechanics are second nature.
I’m impressed if the Bills are testing Allen to see how much he can do with how little. It’s not that Jeremy Kerley was the Keymaster, although gaining seven yards means he was infinitely more productive than that vanisher Davis. The trouble is how few other options remain. It takes work to look at the roster and not conclude that, like George Costanza wearing sweatpants, it’s a signal they give up.
The biggest distraction is also the top target. Bank on LeSean McCoy leading the Bills in receptions as well as rushing. He’ll probably sell the most magazine subscriptions, too. Anyone in the backfield is living the punk aesthetic of doing it yourself. The offensive line presently isn’t a turnstile: they’d have to slow people first.
It’d be fitting that Jim Kelly had a nice talk with Allen on any day; Sunday’s conversation was especially welcome considering the circumstances. After all, Kelly started his career making fantastic throws paired with occasional forced interceptions as a byproduct of facing hazards. It’s not to compare the new guy to the franchise’s best ever. But a fearless mentality that, say, Tyrod Taylor didn’t offer is a good place to start.
The Bills must commit to letting Allen work through goofs. That hasn’t always been franchise policy. Fans recall J.P. Losman getting pulled for Kelly Holcomb, of all quarterbacks, before then being rewarded for a promising season by losing his job to Trent Edwards. Meanwhile, EJ Manuel never recovered from being replaced by Kyle Orton, and who could blame him?
Stick with the guy who could use the practice. At least he’ll enthrall while learning patterns. This is the anointed savior, after all. Josh’s mom has a jersey with the name “MAFIA MAMA” if we had any fear this was a poor fit. With a howitzer like that, even de facto scrimmages will be fun. It’s a shame about impending losses, but those were coming anyway.
Editor’s babble: I’ve never looked forward to ‘Anthony Bialy Wednesdays’ at the blog more than this season. Thanks to Anthony for keeping our jolly jar full of giggles to help us get through a season of growing pains. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.