He is electrifying, mesmerizing and giving a figurative middle finger to anyone that doubted him. He is flawed and fabulous. He is getting better every second of every day.
Give credit where it’s absolutely due: Josh Allen has become one of the game’s most dynamic young quarterbacks, a 6-5, 237-pound tank of hope for the Buffalo Bills.
He is without question the best signal caller in the AFC East right now, scratching the surface of his world of potential.
Critics like yours truly initially couldn’t see past the raw ball of clay, pointing to things he couldn’t do at Wyoming rather than seeing what he could become in a stable environment.
Allen’s sub-par completion percentage and errant passes emboldened naysayers. They became paralyzed by his shortcomings. They couldn’t envision that he would work, adapt and improve at the next level.
They couldn’t believe that brilliance was all around him, too.
They couldn’t imagine that the Bills brain trust would foster such a solid setting to help Allen evolve during this critical stage of his development by bringing in as much help as possible.
Buffalo knew that asking a kid out of college to leap tall buildings in a single bound was unfair. It could cause irreparable damage to the player and organization.
The Bills knew that it would take a village. So, general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott built up Allen’s world by supplying him with protection and playmakers in a fast and efficient manner.
They created a manual on how to develop a promising young quarterback, trusting that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll would guide his pupil the proper way.
They didn’t strike gold on every decision, but the rope was pulling the right way so fast. They nailed a litany of moves that have the Bills in position to take over the AFC East for the foreseeable future.
The proof is staring all of us in the face.
Bills' Josh Allen has quietly shifted to the top of the AFC East.
Allen has grown so much since the Bills traded up to draft him with the No. 7 pick in 2018. The guy is far from perfect, but he’s made staggering improvements. There will be valleys along the way, but the arrow is pointing to the heavens.
Allen joined Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Patrick Mahomes as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 700 passing yards, six touchdown passes and no interceptions in the first two weeks of a season. He set career-highs in passing yards in the first two weeks, rallying his team with a 417-yard, four-touchdown eruption in a come-from-behind win last week that earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Allen leads the league in passing yards (729) and ranks third in passer rating (122.9) and fifth in yards per attempt (9.0). His 70.4 completion percentage (eighth) is leaps and bounds better than his 57.7 career rate.
“He’s got ice water in his veins, man,” McDermott said. “There’s no moment too big for him. That was true from the very start when we got him here.”
Allen, frankly, is a killer. He exudes confidence. He plays with a fearlessness that makes teammates want to rally around him. He’s tougher than quantum physics.
[More Jets] Another Jets starter gets hurt as Adam Gase prepares for Colts »
Allen’s athleticism made it easy to pick apart his game in the pocket. Critics were blinded by his ability to escape trouble with his feet. So, they viewed him as nothing more than a glorified running back. It was an easy trap.
Sure, Allen could beat you with his legs, but sooner or later, he would have to come through as a “real quarterback” to be taken seriously, right?
Well, that time has arrived.
Allen’s 54 total touchdowns and 21 interceptions have helped him go 17-13 as a starter.
He’s blossoming thanks, in part, to decision makers who added playmakers like Stefon Diggs. He’s evolving before our eyes as a passer even though he clearly has plenty of room for improvement in that area.
He’s far from a finished product. He’ll have some forgettable moments this season.
He’s still learning.
Allen ran entirely too much in the season opener against the Jets (12 runs and two kneel downs). The Bills would love if he could win consistently with his arm like he did against Miami in Week 2 (only three runs and one kneel-down).
However, Allen’s dual-threat powers makes him dynamic. Finding a happy medium is the next logical step.
A long season lies ahead, but no young quarterback has improved more and faster in the past two-plus seasons than Allen.
[More Jets] Mekhi Becton, Quinnen Williams have been monsters in the trenches for Jets »
“I’ve always played with a lot of confidence,” Allen said, “But as far as knowing our playbook, knowing protections... the comfortability of the offense, it’s really good right now.”
It’s really great right now.
In so many ways, Allen reminds you of a younger Cam Newton, who looks re-born in the early stages of his second act with the Patriots. Allen and Newton are a cut above the talented Sam Darnold, who has been tasked to carry a lost franchise, and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick at the moment.
Allen landed with the exact right franchise and the exact right people at the exact right time. His ceiling touches the heavens. Critics like me owe him our sincerest apologies.