Josh Allen main concern for talented Bills in 2020
Josh Allen is in line for a career-defining season. The Buffalo Bills are no longer being held back by Tom Brady. They don’t have to worry about the Miami Dolphins or New York Jets having more talent this season.
No, the Bills are clearly the best team in the AFC East for the first time since Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed were roaming the sidelines.
However, Buffalo still has one main concern to parse: is Josh Allen good enough?
Allen is entering his third year after the Bills made him a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Allen played in 12 games and threw for 2,074 yards with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, completing only 52.8 percent of his throws.
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The good news? All of those figures improved in 2019. Buffalo went to the playoffs behind a dominant defense –more on that unit below — but Allen wasn’t an anchor. He tossed 20 touchdowns against nine interceptions across 16 games. His completion rate went up six percent, as he notched 3,089 passing yards.
The problem, though, is none of those numbers are particularly good.
Allen ranked 23rd in passing yards, 25th in yards per attempt, 21st in touchdown passes and dead last (32nd) in completion rate. If Buffalo is going to win the AFC East and make a serious run at the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens come January, Allen needs to continue improving.
General manager Brandon Beane understands this, and sought help for Allen this offseason. He traded away a first-round pick and then some to land star receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. Diggs, who has yet to receive a Pro Bowl invite, has totaled over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.
Diggs joins a talented offense including receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley, tight end Dawson Knox and running back Devin Singletary. Allen unquestionably has enough help to see his numbers improve.
Of course, Allen doesn’t need to be the driving force. His defense, coached by coordinator Leslie Frazier, is one of the league’s best. The secondary is phenomenal with All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. The front seven is anchored by second-year defensive tackle Ed Oliver, edge rushers Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy, and linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano.
If Allen can lead the offense to 24 points per game, Buffalo will roll.
Of course, the question is whether Josh Allen improves once more. If he takes another large step, the Bills are a problem for the rest of the AFC. If not, it’s disappointment all over again in western New York.