Josh Allen has come a long way since his days at Wyoming. He was a raw, polarizing quarterback prospect who struggled to produce consistently in the Mountain West.
Allen has developed enough to inspire hope that he could be the long-term answer for the Bills at quarterback. He’s made notable progress attacking the short and intermediate areas of the field; his accuracy and decision-making ability have improved to complement his dual-threat skill set. Allen has completely won over Buffalo’s locker room with his work ethic, leadership and competitive toughness.
While Allen’s growth across two seasons as a starter is exciting, he still has work to do. There are still lapses in decision making, his deep-ball accuracy needs to significantly improve and he must be more efficient in facilitating the offense.
General manager Brandon Beane has assembled one of the best rosters in football with a mix of proven veterans, exciting young talent and plenty of depth. With Buffalo coming off its second playoff appearance in the last three seasons and first 10-win season since 1999, there is a reasonable belief it could make a postseason run in 2020. In order for that to happen, Allen must take another step.
The entire offensive coaching staff from last season returns. Despite a head coaching interview with Cleveland, Buffalo retained offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who has been with the team since Allen’s rookie season. While the scheme has evolved considerably in two seasons, Allen is at a great advantage having that consistency with Daboll.
While the Bills initially failed Allen by not having a veteran quarterback on the roster to mentor him, Matt Barkley has since filled that role. Allen and Barkley have a wonderful relationship, and Barkley understands his role in assisting Allen with preparation and on game days. Barkley is again scheduled to be Allen’s backup in 2020.
All of Allen’s wide receivers from 2019 are back next season with the addition of Stefon Diggs, who is the perfect No. 1 receiver for Buffalo’s offense. His ability to create separation, stretch the defense, produce after the catch and win in contested situations gives the offense a do-everything focal point in the passing game. Diggs joins John Brown, who is coming off the best season of his career, and Cole Beasley, who thrives in the slot. For a Bills' offense that likes to run 11 personnel, Allen’s top three wideouts are ideal, and Buffalo has important niche receivers to round out the depth chart.
The starting offensive line from last season returns, including the top four backups. The Bills also added Evan Boehm and Daryl Williams this offseason to give them 11 total offensive linemen that were rostered in 2019. Buffalo’s offensive line is deep and has an entire season of experience under their belt.
Buffalo’s tight end room is identical to last season, and Dawson Knox should be an even bigger factor in his second season in the league. Running back Devin Singletary should also demonstrate growth in his second year after being the Bills’ lead back. Buffalo upgraded the backup running spot with the selection of Zack Moss in the third round of the draft.
Buffalo’s defense is already championship-caliber, so there is no added stress to Allen and the offense to make up for any shortcomings in that department.
All of the ingredients are in place for Allen to take another step forward and bring the Bills to new heights. The continuity factor alone is huge, and Buffalo upgraded at WR1 and backup running back, a role that should see at least 150 touches. The unit has time to task together, in addition to expected improvements from Singletary and Knox, who showcased exciting playmaking skills as rookies.
In Allen’s first season, the supporting cast was beyond lackluster. The Bills ate a bunch of dead cap space and the roster was undermanned. That changed significantly in 2019 and the deck is set perfectly for Allen to reach his ceiling in 2020.