Evaluating Every Pass Josh Allen Threw in 2017

Photo of Bills’ QB Josh Allen from CBSsports.com.

Leading up to the draft, fans across the NFL had a lot of opinions on Josh Allen, the most polarizing prospect in the draft. Like many, I was much more enamored with prospects like Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield during the pre-draft process, and was struck with a great deal of disappointment when the Bills announced that they had traded up to the seventh pick to select Allen with Rosen still on the board.

After spending some time lamenting the decision, I decided to go and watch every single pass that Allen threw against an FBS opponent in 2017.

What did I find you ask?

Some things you already knew, some things you probably didn’t, and some interesting notes and circumstances along the way. So without further adieu, let’s dive in, shall we?

(Note: All of the games that were available on youtube are linked below each recap so you can see some of the plays I refer to for yourself.)

Photo from WTOP.com.

Week 1 – Iowa

Final Score: 24-3, Hawkeyes

Allen’s Stat Line: 23/40, 174 yards, 2 INT

The Good: Against a heavy-blitzing Iowa team, Allen avoided the rush as well as any QB could. The Hawkeyes sent blitzers on nearly every passing attempt and the Wyoming offensive line proved unprepared for the task. Though, Allen wasn’t exactly masterful in his handling of the additional pressure, he did convert a handful of sure-sacks into incompletions or short gains by using his feet and shedding tacklers.

The Cowboy’s gameplan had a lot of designed come-back and curl routes along the sidelines, on which Allen was able to complete (or at least throw a catchable ball) to most of his targets. Despite Iowa’s lockdown coverage on short and intermediate routes, the Wyoming coaching staff seldom designed anything to try and stretch the field, allowing the Hawkeyes to keep most of Allen’s completions in front of them, limiting yards after the catch.

The Bad: On several occasions, Allen locked his eyes onto his primary target, seldom going through his progressions, causing him to force some passes that just weren’t there. Some of that can be attributed to how poorly his line played in front of him, though even when he had time, he still failed to look-off the defenders.

There were a handful of plays where Iowa only rushed four, and Wyoming’s line actually held up very well. On these occasions Allen was able to set his feet, step up in the pocket and deliver some laser-like throws on the numbers.

Most of the time.

On four or five instances, Allen heard “footsteps” that weren’t there, feeling rushed to throw the ball even though he had more time. That’s when the “slow eyes” everyone talks about were on full display. Even when he went through his progressions, he tended to linger on targets that were well covered, forcing passes that he didn’t need to force.

Allen’s Best Throw: His most impressive toss actually came on an incompletion with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter. After executing a masterful play-action fake, he had a man wide open, streaking down the middle of the field. Allen delivered one of the prettiest passes I saw through all of his film. Unfortunately, his receiver dropped the perfectly placed ball, causing me to audibly groan when watching it.

Allen’s Worst Throw: As mentioned above, there were instances where Allen panicked when he didn’t need to. With 11:45 remaining in the fourth, Wyoming was down by three scores. As soon as the defensive tackle started to break through into the backfield, Allen started to backpedal, launching an ill-advised throw toward the sideline off of his back foot, right into the hands of the defender in coverage. As soon as the ball was snapped he looked down the receiver the entire time, telegraphing the play, making for an easy turnover.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Iowa can be seen here.)

Photo from KOWB1290.com.

WEEK 3 – Oregon

Final Score: 49-13, Ducks

Allen’s Stat Line: 9/24, 64 yards, 1 INT

The Good: There wasn’t a lot to like about this one. Allen’s only real production came with his legs on a day where Wyoming couldn’t get anything started on offense. I really did try to find something positive, but it was awful all around. His offensive line had their worst performance of the season as the Ducks penetrated their defenses at will.

With pressure in his face all game long, Allen’s efforts, while perseverant and brave, were ultimately futile.

The Bad: It’s tough to hammer down any one thing that he did poorly in a game where he had no help at all. One of the things I noticed throughout all of his film is a reluctance to throw the ball away. He took a few sacks that could have been incompletions while trying to get any semblance of a spark going on offense.

Everything you heard about Allen’s negative traits were on full display, but again, I’m not sure if there was much else he could have done.

My advice to the Wyoming administration would be to burn everything associated with this game and forget it ever happened.

Allen’s Best Play: With a whopping 64 yards through the air, it comes as no surprise that his best play came on the run. With 3:48 remaining in the first quarter, Wyoming had the ball at the Ducks’ 10 after a botched punt return. With everyone covered in the endzone, Allen scampered up the middle for an easy touchdown.

Allen’s Worst Play: This isn’t so much Allen’s worst play, as much as it was the most futile, pathetic sequence for anyone in a brown uniform. Mere seconds into the fourth quarter, protection broke down immediately, causing Allen to roll out of the pocket. After finding his best option well after the window had closed due to inefficiently going through his reads, he launched a terrible ball after getting his arm swatted. It hung in the air for a moment before being intercepted in triple coverage. Woof.

(Had to use my personal CBS sports account for this one, so sorry there’s no link!)

Photo from staradvisor.com.

WEEK 4 – Hawaii

Final Score: 28-21, Cowboys (OT)

Allen’s Stat Line: 9/19, 92 yards, 1 TD

The Good: For the most part, Allen’s touch on shorter routes improved a little bit in this one. Yes, he still sailed a couple swing passes over the head of his running back, but his placement on screen passes was fine.

He absolutely nailed a few gorgeous attempts in the 15-20 yard range, three of which were dropped in profanity inspiring fashion. While his protection was one of the primary reasons for his difficulty against the Hawkeyes, his receivers hurt his stat line in this one.

From a vision standpoint, he did go through his progressions a bit more, however his blocking was MUCH improved from the game against Iowa. The Rainbow Warriors certainly didn’t blitz as much, and the Wyoming offensive line handled their four-man rush pretty well.

The Bad: All game long, Allen struggled setting his feet and stepping up into the play, often throwing off of his back foot. This nearly resulted in a pick-six that could have cost Wyoming the game.

Most of the Cowboy’s offense in this one revolved around running back, Trey Woods who rushed for 135 yards, limiting what the team needed from the passing game.

Though Allen’s wideouts weren’t particularly sure-handed, he needed to be better against one of the worst teams in the FBS. A seventh overall draft pick should have been lights out against such a pedestrian defense that failed to bring consistent pressure. Predictable play-calling on the part of his coaching staff didn’t help either.

Allen’s Best Play: His best pass came on the first play in overtime, taking advantage of single coverage deep, hitting his wide receiver in stride for the go-ahead touchdown. He sold the play-action very well and his line did an excellent job blocking.

Allen’s Worst Play: With 7:59 remaining in the third quarter, Allen had plenty of time to scan the field, but panicked as soon as pressure came. He stared down his target the entire time, throwing a terrible pass off of his back foot which should have resulted in a pick-six but the defender dropped the ball.

Another head scratcher came with 4:05 left in the fourth quarter. He had all day to throw the ball, and ended up running for a short gain. He kept his eyes locked on the right side of the field, never even glancing over at the wide open receiver to his left. Could have extended the drive had he seen him.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Hawaii can be seen here.)

Photo from trib.com.

WEEK 5 – Texas State

Final Score: 45-10, Cowboys

Allen’s Stat Line: 14/24, 219 yards, 3 TD

The Good: Against one of the worst schools in the FBS, Allen was definitely the best player on the field. He threw a few balls that were absolute missiles, a couple of which hit his receivers on the hands that they couldn’t haul in due to the sheer velocity.

Allen was able to take advantage of the excellent protection he got against a defense that struggled to generate consistent pressure. On the few occasions where the pocket did collapse around him, he was able to pick up yards with his legs to extend drives and avoid sacks. Most of his work came in the first half as the Cowboys entered halftime with a comfortable three score lead.

The Bad: For the most part, “Bad Allen” stayed home for this one. Most of his incompletions came on low percentage designed looks from the offensive play callers. He didn’t really have any bad misses.

Though he was given more time in the pocket, he still struggled at times to go through his reads efficiently. He got away with it against the last place team in the Sun Belt conference, but it is something he really needs to focus on at the NFL level. He also threw several passes off of his back foot, but again, it didn’t matter as his receivers were able to shake coverages pretty easily.

Allen’s Best Play: While there were several to choose from in this one, but my personal favorite came with 9:54 remaining in the second quarter. Despite pressure getting to him pretty quickly, he threw a perfect deep ball to hit his receiver in stride in the endzone. The ball was placed perfectly with pressure in his face.

He also had a nice little heads-up play toward the end of the second quarter. With 23 seconds remaining, he navigated through pressure in the pocket. Though he spotted an open receiver in the middle of the field, he elected to tuck the ball and run toward the sideline. Given the fact that Wyoming was out of timeouts and it was third down, this was absolutely the right move.

Allen’s Worst Play: As I mentioned above, there weren’t many “bad” plays from Allen, though he did get away with a pretty dangerous attempt with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter. He did a great job of escaping pressure, however once he got outside the tackle box, the smart move would have been to throw the ball away since nobody was really open. Instead he decided to rifle it into triple coverage, which even if caught by his receiver, wouldn’t have been nearly enough for a first down on 3rd and 10 in his own end.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Texas State can be seen here.)

Photo from wyosports.net.

Week 6 – Utah State

Final Score: 28-23, Cowboys

Allen’s Stat Line: 18/26 208 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

The Good: While Allen maybe wasn’t at his absolute best in this one, the Aggies were a middle of the road FBS team that did qualify for a bowl game, so obviously they were a taller task than Texas State was a week prior.

Despite having pretty bad blocking throughout, he was able to extend plays with his feet, and make some really nice throws on the move. He also went through his progressions pretty well considering the quality of the Utah State pass rush against the Cowboy’s offensive line.

What impressed me the most is Allen’s final drive of the game where he led the offense down the field for the game winning touchdown. He was incredibly focused, and really stepped up his game as it was clear that the Aggies defensive backs had worn down in coverage.

The Wyoming coaching staff drew up a handful of really nice designed QB draws, which Allen proved adept at finding the gaps up the middle for positive gains.

The Bad: Early in the game, he threw a couple of very dangerous passes, one of which resulted in an absolutely brutal interception. Though he still made a habit of throwing off of his back foot, he did have a lot of pressure in his face for most of the game, so that can be somewhat forgiven.

Overall, the biggest knock on Allen was trying to create and extend plays where he would have benefited from just throwing an incompletion and moving on. It caused a few plays for a loss and near interceptions that could have been avoided.

Allen’s Best Play: For a quarterback who has shown throughout his film to get a little jumpy under, this one was particularly refreshing to watch. With 5:41 remaining in the first quarter, as Allen dropped back on 3rd and goal the Utah State blitz penetrated the Cowboy’s line almost immediately. Allen shook the first tackler, rolled out of the collapsed pocket and hit his receiver for a positive gain while on the run.

The play might not jump out when reviewing his body of work in this game, but after looking really closely at what transpired, it was really an incredible example of his capability to make something out of nothing.

Allen’s Worst Play: Fortunately for Wyoming, Allen got his worst throw out of his system early. On his first offensive snap of the game (at 13:20 in the first quarter), he rolled out on a play-action bootleg. The screen pass option was well covered and at first look, it appeared that Allen made the smart play and threw an incompletion out of bounds.

Nope.

He actually tried to hit his secondary option along the sideline, however the toss was wildly inaccurate and ill-advised, resulting in an interception.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Utah State can be seen here.)

Photo from KTVB.com and Getty Images.

Week 7 – Boise State

Final Score: 24-14, Broncos

Allen’s Stat Line: 12/27, 131 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

The Good: First of all, let me just say how much fun it was dissecting plays on that blue monstrosity that Boise State calls a football field (caution: sarcasm included) Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about what we saw. Allen had some fantastic plays where he made chicken salad out of chicken (expletive). Against a Boise State team that brought pressure for almost the entire contest, he held strong in the pocket, taking advantage of some surprisingly good protection from his offensive line.

The amount of sacks Allen took would lead one to believe that he didn’t have good blocking, however his receiver’s difficulty getting open was the bigger factor in this one.

The Bad: Despite his impressive improvisational ability, Allen was hot and cold on a drive-to-drive basis. Perhaps it was due to the fact that his receiving corps had a lot of trouble in man coverage, but he threw several really dangerous passes in an attempt to extend drives.

One area where he struggled was hitting his receivers off of their breaks as a result of going through his reads in an inefficient manner, often missing the ideal throwing window before locking onto the open man.

Overall, this game was a bit of a mixed bag. We saw some of the things that lead people to believe that he was a great quarterback on a terrible team, and also some of the reasons why certain fans remain extremely skeptical of his in-game decision making.

Allen’s Best Play: On 2nd and 12 with just 27 seconds left in the second quarter, Allen took a disastrous play and turned it into a touchdown. Rolling to his right, he quickly recognized that the screen to his running back was well covered. Instead of doing the predictable thing in that situation (throwing the ball out of bounds), he chucked a perfectly placed dart on the run, hitting his man in stride in the endzone. Seriously, it was incredible. Go watch it.

Allen’s Worst Play: This was one of Allen’s worst passes I saw throughout all of his film. At the beginning of the second quarter, with great protection up front, he badly overthrew his receiver down field. The ball hit the deep safety right in the chest for an easy interception.

He simply waited way too long to throw to a man who was wide open from the time the ball was snapped. Yuck.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Boise State can be seen here.)

Photo from trib.com.

Week 8 – New Mexico

Final Score: 42-3, Cowboys

Allen’s Stat Line: 16/28, 234 yards, 4 TD

The Good: After a ridiculously bad first quarter of football, Allen went into hero mode, completing passes at will. For the first time all season we saw the Wyoming offensive line block while the receivers routinely beat their coverages. There was honestly nothing the Lobos could do to stop the Cowboy’s offense in quarters two and three.

By mid-way through the third, Allen was pulled as Wyoming had secured an extremely comfortable six touchdown lead. This is what Allen should have looked like against all of his inferior counterparts in the Mountain West.

The Bad: The entire first quarter. Burn the tape. His performance in the first 15 minutes of the game exemplified every negative rhetoric about Allen’s game. He stared down his primary targets, threw a few horribly inaccurate passes and failed to move the Wyoming offense down the field against an opponent who simply neglected to show up for the game.

Fortunately, he snapped out of it en route to a monster performance. The Cowboys defense shut down everything New Mexico threw at them and helped secure a big victory.

Allen’s Best Play: I’m not sure if this was his best play of the day, but it was certainly his most entertaining. With 9:05 remaining in the second quarter, Allen found himself under pressure, running deeper and deeper into his own end, shaking tacklers as he for what seemed like an entire minute.

Finally, he shook one last rusher, breaking free for a positive gain with his legs. Go watch it. It might have been the most awe-inspiring example of his athleticism throughout all of his film.

Allen’s Worst Play: There were quite a few of these in the opening frame. Perhaps the most brutal came at 9:12 when he dropped back on play-action behind excellent protection only to throw deep ball down the middle that was horribly overthrown against single coverage.

If Allen had gone through his reads faster, he would have noticed that the ideal throwing window had come nearly a second sooner, and would have resulted in a huge gain.

(All of Allen’s throws versus New Mexico can be seen here.)

Photo from reporterherald.com.

WEEK 9 – Colorado State

Final Score: 16-13, Cowboys

Allen’s Stat Line: 10/20, 138 yards

The Good: More than perhaps any other game I watched, Allen’s stat line was far from indicative of his performance. His offensive line and receiving corps were downright dreadful. The only reason the Wyoming offense managed to squeak out any sort of production was Allen’s big game on the ground, and a handful of clutch passes near the sidelines.

The only “good” thing about this game was the fact that Allen is capable of using his legs. Other than that, anyone involved in the Cowboy’s offense should be embarrassed to have been part of this affair.

The Bad: It’s hard to blame the quarterback for many of the incompletions in this game, despite his awful completion percentage. In an effort to make something (anything) happen, Allen did try to sling some risky balls into heavy coverage, but other than that there were only a handful of plays where he could have done more than he did.

Allen’s Best Play: With just eight seconds left in the first half, Allen threw a laser of a pass toward the sideline, hitting his receiver in stride, leading him out of bounds with three seconds to spare. This allowed Wyoming to attempt a manageable field goal before the end of the half.

I cannot stress enough how much this throw impressed me. Not only was Allen very aware of the game clock, he put the ball in the perfect spot to give a well-covered receiver a chance at it.

Allen’s Worst Play: Again, it’s really tough to criticize most of Allen’s attempts in this one. Most of his riskier or ugly passes came as part of a futile attempt to catalyze his offense on a day where nothing was going right.

A lot of people criticize him for his “lack of touch”. That concern is a bit overblown, however with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter, his running back was wide open to his right side on a swing pass, and Allen badly overthrew him.

The E.J. Manuel comparison people make is pretty lazy, however this play could give Bills fans flashbacks.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Colorado State can be seen here.)

Air Force quarterback Arion Worthman (2) receives a snap in an NCAA college football game against Wyoming in Colorado Springs, Colo., Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Dougal Brownlie/The Gazette via AP)

Week 10 – Air Force

Final Score: 28-14, Cowboys

Allen’s Stat Line: 8/11, 70 yards, 1 TD

The Good: This one was a shame. Throughout his tape, Allen routinely struggled in the first quarter, taking between 5-7 throws to “warm up” in every game that he played.

Not this time.

Allen came out on fire, completing passes at will against a Falcons defense that could barely keep up. He completed his first five attempts of the game and led his team down the field twice before sustaining an injury to his throwing shoulder less than two minutes into the second half.

The Bad: Given the small sample size, the only thing I noticed was Allen’s continual insistence on throwing off of his back foot, but it didn’t really matter in this contest. He was able to use his strength to put some heat behind his passes without decent footing.

Allen’s Best Play: Less than a minute into the second quarter, Allen dropped back on play action with the pocket collapsing almost immediately. He then proceeded to fire a homing missile to his receiver running across the middle for a touchdown. He couldn’t have placed the ball more perfectly.

Allen’s Worst Play: Again, considering the fact that he only has three incompletions (one of which was on his last play of the game, where he was clearly injured), there was only one ugly pass he threw. With 3:35 left in the second quarter, the Wyoming offense executed a very sloppy pseudo-flea flicker. With pressure in his face, Allen launched a pass off of his back foot into triple coverage. Fortunately for him, every Air Force defender had his back turned. Could have easily gone the other way.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Air Force can be seen here.)

Photo from Getty Images.

 Week 13 – Central Michigan (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

Final Score: 37-14, Cowboys

Allen’s Stat Line: 11/19, 154 yards, 3 TD

The Good: Oh joy, the blue field at Boise again. How I missed the. Anyway, this marked the second consecutive game where Allen got off to a good start. What I noticed most about this contest was Allen’s patience and poise despite pretty consistent pressure. At times throughout the season he was jumpy and scatted-brained even with a clean pocket during games where pressure was in his face.

Another interesting and encouraging note was how much more efficiently he went through his reads against a Chippewa defense that was pretty good in coverage. This also may have been his best game with the deep ball all year.

The Bad: Given the stage, Allen tried to go into “hero mode” at times where he should have just taken an incompletion and moved on. Though he only threw a couple of dangerous passes, he did take several sacks as a result of a reluctance to throw the ball away once he rolled out beyond the tackle box.

Past that, Allen was pretty fantastic in this one. Most of the damage he did came in the first half, but by that point the Cowboys were already running away with this one.

Allen’s Best Play: On just his fourth attempt of the game at 8:01 in the first, Allen dropped back on play action, stepped up in the pocket and delivered a frozen rope for a touchdown. It was the most efficient step-up Allen executed all season, giving him a clear lane to throw an absolute dart for the go-ahead score.

Allen’s Worst Play: With 1:34 remaining in the second quarter, Allen had great protection, but nobody open. He made the smart move to evade incoming pressure by rolling to his right, however after juking defenders and backpedaling, he took an sack for a huge loss when he absolutely should have thrown the ball away. His tape is riddled with small mental gaffes like that, and it’s something he will need to focus on at the NFL level.

(All of Allen’s throws versus Central Michigan can be seen here.)

Photo from AL.com.

Myths Busted and Facts Confirmed

Throughout the entire draft process we heard so many narratives regarding the flaws in Allen’g game, and excuses for his abysmal stat line. Some were justified, others were just plain lazy. Let’s review some of the more common criticisms and excuses to see if they hold water.

Myth #1: Josh Allen is Wildly Inaccurate

After watching every throw he made in 2017, I can say with confidence that this is absolutely false. It’s not like Allen is some wild-ball pitcher who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

But what about his low completion percentage?

That can be attributed to a few things. First of all, his receiving core was extremely inconsistent. Some games they caught everything thrown their way, others, not so much. In the Wyoming offense, Allen was forced to make throws in extremely tight windows, rarely having receivers running wide open, and when he did, he usually delivered a catchable pass.

Another reason for his low completion percentage was due to his glaring deficiency going through his progressions in an efficient manner, which bring us to our next point…

Fact #1: Josh Allen Struggles Reading the Field

It’s true. Even when he was given ample time in the pocket, Allen had a tendency to lock onto his first read. Even when he did go through all of his progressions, he did it very slowly, often resulting in him using his legs despite having men open, or missing his throwing windows all together.

In my estimation, it is his biggest flaw and the most daunting problem that he must overcome in order to become an effective NFL quarterback. History is not on his side in this regard. The professional game is so much faster than what he saw in the Mountain West.

There were also dozens of times where he took a sack or an incompletion because he failed to notice open targets because he was only capable of reading half of the field at a time. Again, this bodes very poorly for his pro trajectory.

Myth #2: Josh Allen Is Inaccurate on the Run

I actually felt this way during the pre-draft process, but after dissecting each and every play, I can assure you that Josh Allen is actually quite accurate on the run, mostly because of his superior arm strength.

If you look at almost any quarterback in the league, their completion percentage takes a hit when they don’t set their feet. At Wyoming, the coaching staff ran a ton of play-action bootlegs, which forced Allen to complete passes on the move. Add that to the fact that his offensive line struggled against bigger schools, it’s not a surprise that he had to do it more than any other quarterback in the draft aside from Lamar Jackson.

Fact #2: Wyoming’s Receiving Corps Stunk

It’s true. The Cowboys’ receivers are a bad little bunch. Though they didn’t have a ton of dropped passes, they were woefully inconsistent at getting open unless it was against vastly inferior opponents, in which case Allen was able to find them most of the time.

Though his pass-catchers weren’t top-of-the-line, that doesn’t absolve Allen of all blame here. There was never a single game all season (save for the atrocity against Oregon) where he didn’t fail to see a wide open target. Let’s not pretend that his wideouts never got any separation, ever. They did, but unless they were wide open AND one of Allen’s first two reads, they often went unseen.

Photo from WTOP.com.

Myth #3: Allen Can’t Hit Receivers in Stride

Actually, it turns out he can. I don’t care how many people tell you that he throws behind his receivers, or over their heads, they’re wrong. There were dozens of times where Allen delivered pinpoint passes right in the outstretched hands of his targets as they ran toward the sidelines.

So where did this narrative come from?

After watching his tape, it became increasingly evident that the Wyoming coaching staff avoided these plays for the most part. More often than not, Allen’s first read was along the sidelines to a receiver either running a curl route or a comeback. They reason for this is Allen’s elite velocity, which made passes like that extremely efficient.

Here’s the problem. In the NFL, teams are going to catch onto that pretty darn quickly, just like Iowa and Oregon did early in the season. It will be up to Allen as to whether or not he can hit receivers on the move consistently. The sample size is pretty small from his time at Wyoming in a very predictable, simple and repetitive offense. It got to the point in games like the one against Iowa where the Cowboys play-callers were like that one friend you play against in Madden who just keeps calling the same two plays over and over again. It’s Maddening (sorry for the pun).

Fact #3: Allen Never Had a Dominant Outing

Despite the well documented inefficiencies on the offensive line and among the receivers, they both tended to perform really well against bad opponents.  Even when they were at their best, Allen only imposed his will once or twice all year.

Part of this had to do with the fact that he almost always came out ice cold to start games. It also might be because the Cowboys coaching staff ran a run-first offense, whether it made sense to or not.

Last week, Bills’ GM Brandon Beane said something that I found somewhat interesting:

I agree with that statement to an extent. It’s true that Allen was the best and often only effective player on the Wyoming offense against big-time opponents, but it’s not like those are the only teams he struggled against. For every Oregon and Iowa game you show me, I’ll turn around and ask you to explain games against opponents like Hawaii and Utah State where Allen’s teammates played well around him and he still failed to dominate FBS opponents who couldn’t even crack the top-100.

He should have been raining hellfire on those teams, especially against the Rainbow Warriors who were essentially begging him to run away with that game.

Myth #4: Allen is too Reliant on his Legs

This is perhaps the most incorrect and poorly informed rhetoric of them all.

Let me be clear: Josh Allen is a miracle worker with his legs.

Time and time again, we saw him escape collapsing pockets and shake defenders turning sure-losses into positive gains. Never have I seen a quarterback fling 300-pound lineman off of them like fleas. I think the Cam Newton comparison is a little generous, but in this regard, I can see the similarity.

Very few times throughout the tape did I see Allen break free and run for it when he had receivers open, or more time in the pocket. Watch the film and you’ll agree.

Fact #4: Allen has the Highest Bust Potential

It was true then, and it’s true now that he’s a Buffalo Bill. Josh Allen has the highest odds of completely flaming out in the NFL. Now, let’s be clear, I am not guaranteeing that he will fail. Heck, I’m not even saying that he has a 50/50 shot of failing. What I’m telling you is that after watching every spec of film out there on the guy, I can comfortably say that Josh Rosen was the safer choice.

It’s not so much about what Allen does well versus what Rosen does well, but more what they each need to improve upon. At the end of the day, Allen’s flaws (timing, reading the field, footwork) historically, have a terrible track record of improving in the big league. For a fan baase that has seen quarterbacks with incredible physical tools fail to correct these issues in the past, we sure do have short memories.

But hey, maybe Allen bucks the trend. It has happened before with players like Brett Favre and Matt Stafford, but you’ll have to excuse me for not placing any bets on it.

Photo of Bills’ QB Josh Allen and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from sportingnews.com.

Closing Thoughts

After watching hours upon hours of tape, dissecting each play several times, my opinion has changed, albeit only a little. Though I never sat down and watched every single play over and over like I did here, during the pre-draft process, I watched a lot of Allen’s games. I did gain a new appreciation for his ability to extend plays and the uncanny way he launches rockets off of his back foot, however most of the flaws I saw initially still stuck out to me.

At the end of the day what we have here is a supremely talented athlete who has a lot of work to do if he ever plans to become an elite NFL signal caller. Sure, he has unteachable gifts, but he also carries inefficiencies that historically have a terrible track record of magically correcting themselves in the professional ranks.

His first quarter struggles and a general difficulty playing on the road were seldom talked about, but were certainly noticeable when watching him game-in and game-out. Though he certainly boasts a warrior mentality and presence, these things simply will not fly at the next level.

Time will tell whether or not the Bills’ brass bit off more than they could chew with Allen, but they seem pretty confident that they got it right. While mildly encouraged, I’m not quite there yet.

I was hoping to come out of this exercise as an optimist regarding his trajectory. While I certainly color myself as “optimistic”, I would say that his film turned me from a disappointed Josh Rosen supporter, to a hopeful pessimist (who still thinks Rosen was the better option).

One way or another, fans clamored for the team to go up and get “their guy”. Well, he’s here and he’s ours and we’ll support him 100-percent, because we’re Bills fans, and that’s what we do.

Stay tuned.

Editor’s babble: We’re very grateful to Anthony Sciandra for taking the time to review Josh Allen’s 2017 season at the University of Wyoming. Obviously, I’m a complete Wyoming homer and have zero ability to be objective about Allen, and Anthony did a masterful job pointing out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Anthony’s observations are spot on as far as what I saw all season from Allen as well. Here’s hoping our coaches and trainers can help Allen become the quarterback we all hope he can be for the Buffalo Bills. Only time will tell.

*Views expressed by authors are not necessarily the opinion of the owners of the BillsMafia.com website.

About Anthony Sciandra

I'm a passionate Buffalo sports fan, former amateur pugilist, and UB alum. Born and raised in Western New York.

13 Replies to “Evaluating Every Pass Josh Allen Threw in 2017”

  1. Nice work here. For the first time since Polian and Butler we have a real GM and early returns say a real coach. I am gonna trust them on this one. If we have to wait a year or two to see it on the field, hell we waited 17 years. Whats two more. At least there is hope now. Great write up.

  2. WOW!
    Incredible job Anthony and I believe you! You have justified your position and have been objective and honest.
    Unfortunately we’re screwed……….

    • Thanks for reading! There’s a lot of work to be done, that’s for sure. Hopefully he bucks the trend and figures things out.

  3. Nice work again, Anthony.

    My question is, if Josh Allen was the best weapon Wyoming had and consistently played against crappy competition…why did the Cowboys focus so much on the run…especially when they weren’t a very good running team, much less dominant?

    I will be surprised if he amounts to being average. I’ve heard analysts come on WGR and say maybe he can develop and become a Blake Bortles-like player…as if that’s something to strive for. I think you’ve made a poor choice if you’ve picked Blake Bortles and these guys talk like that’s what you should be hoping for out of this guy. I dunno, playing against crappy competition, I think you should be dominating like Roethlisberger and Wentz to have any chance of being anything at the pro level. This guy didn’t dominate a single game. I’m legitimately curious what makes this guy any more promising than Cardale Jones?

    • All great questions. What really stuck out to me was just how terrible the Wyoming receivers were at getting open. Definitely limited his ability to dominate inferior opponents on a regular basis.

      As a counterpoint to what I just said though, the games against Hawaii and Utah State stuck out to me where despite his receivers getting open regularly, he had trouble going through his reads, often missing open receivers. Hawaii was basically begging Allen to rain hellfire on them and he didn’t. It’s a legitimate cause for concern.

  4. Nice breakdown Anthony, sounds like “The Good, The Bad and THe Ugly”… All we can say is we will see what happens, could be a Terry Bradshaw, Blake Bortles but wishful thinking has him progressing to a Big Ben status….

  5. i watched a few of the games and i like what i saw and really have hope. his style reminded me of an extra large philip rivers. although he followed one receiver he was giving him time to get separation- before he threw the ball or did something else. but he was not hesitant, wishy washy, slow or indecisive. he was quick to release the ball or run with it. he has good instincts and appears to be a leader.
    he commanded the offense. the plays were exciting- he was really amped, hyper alert once the ball was in his hands and he was in the pocket. good footwork. he was a quick processor of the field. he looks like a lock to be a much better QB than tyrod taylor. i liked watching him play. it will be fun to have him as the Bills QB.

  6. Like I’ve said from the very beginning this coaching staff has to coach Allen up and the Brass has to continue to add weapons around him. Another thing if they know that they plan to start him week one then give him every rep from rookie camp to the last practice prior to the Ravens game. Don’t even play around like it’s a “competition” if you know this is the route you’re going. I don’t care how good a qb is if there’s no talent around him he’ll never be great! And That’s Reality! #TruthHurts #RealTalk #keepingIt💯 #RealRecognizeReal #RealBillsFan #NFL #BillsMafia

    • I missed this, so thanks Goose! Trent Dilfer’s frustration explaining why completion % is not = accuracy was right on. Plus, if you haven’t watched any Wyoming games, you cannot appreciate the lack of talent he had around him.

      Robyn

  7. Sounds a lot like JP Losman who also struggled processing, seeing the field and trying to make hero plays that ended in disaster.

  8. To all those worrying about the passing percentages for Josh Allen, here are the legendary Jim Kelly’s college stats at the University of Miami during his collegiate career there. From this it seemed that some were also concerned about his future as a quarterback. Just sayin’.
    College career
    Kelly was offered a linebacker scholarship instead of quarterback to play college football at Penn State University under coach Joe Paterno.[5] He went on to play for the University of Miami, where he played an important role in helping build the program into one of the nation’s best. Kelly finished his career at Miami with 406 completions in 646 attempts for 5,233 yards and 32 touchdowns; he was inducted into the university’s hall of fame in 1992.[6].
    Statistics
    Year Team Games Passing G Rec Att Cmp Pct Yds TD Int Rate 1979 Miami 11 5–6–0 104 48 46.2 721 5 6 108.7 1980 Miami 12 9–3–0 206 109 52.9 1,519 11 7 125.7 1981 Miami 11 9–2–0 285 168 58.9 2,403 14 14 136.2 1982 Miami
    7–4–0 81 51 63.0 585 3 1 133.4 Career 45 30–15 676 376 55.6 5,228 33 28 128.4

  9. Couple things. One, it’s typically not a great argument to compare passing numbers of today to nearly 40 years ago. The game has changed just a little bit in that time. There are a lot of mediocre present day QBs that have better numbers than Kelly did, but the game has changed significantly, mostly due to defensive rule changes, so it’s an apples to oranges comparison. Two, if Josh Allen’s only red flag was his completion percentage, then fine. Problem is Josh Allen doesn’t have ANY numbers related to performance that suggest he’ll be a good pro. The only impressive numbers he has are his physical measurables. He’s big, strong, athletic, and has a canon for an arm. All great things if you’re really good at playing QB. But mostly of little significance if you stink. Brandon Weedon had most of the same physical traits…and I bet he had some better college numbers than Kelly, too! Lot of good it did him…