June 16, 2024

Josh Allen was having trouble accepting that the Buffalo Bills were done for this season in the moments following yet another playoff setback to the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We were right there,” general manager Brandon Beane remarked to Allen following the game, “I don’t think he had rationalised that we lost the game.” Tell me that we won this game.

Speaking with reporters the following day, Allen still felt the same way.

“It still feels surreal that we’re not practicing today,” Allen stated. Our season didn’t seem to be over yet. It doesn’t feel that way, to be honest.

For the Bills, losing in the postseason has become an all too familiar feeling. The standard has increased in the years since they overcame their protracted playoff drought, mostly due to Allen’s performance.

The Bills have one AFC Championship and zero Super Bowl appearances in the years since Allen was drafted in 2018, while owning the third-best winning percentage in the NFL.

Along with concerns about the defense’s inability to stop Patrick Mahomes in the postseason, Allen’s postseason performance has not been the problem, with 64.6% completion percentage, 21 passing touchdowns, four interceptions, 83 rushing attempts for 563 yards, and five rushing scores. This raises the question of whether the group surrounding him is capable of going to the next level.

When 2024 begins, Allen will be 28 years old and in his seventh NFL season. The Bills are going into this season with a lot of questions and little cap space to deal with.

Speaking about a roster that has practically been played out, Beane reaffirmed on Tuesday that this isn’t a team that is rebuilding. However, the same outcomes have disappointed some fans, and responses in

What’s next in the quest to support Allen offensively?

The implications of the OC switch

All three of the Bills’ coordinator jobs are under doubt going into the summer, but Allen’s open endorsement of interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady makes him the front-runner to keep the job. Under Brady’s coaching, the Bills only dropped one game during the regular season.

“I cherish Joe. I adore the energy and enthusiasm he gives to our offence, this squad, and football in general. He gets my vote,” Allen remarked.

After Brady, Allen noted, the offence “simple better” and ran the ball “extremely well.” The Bills had the second-highest designed rush percentage (46.5%) in the NFL when Brady took over playcalling in Week 11, down from 26th from Weeks 1-10 (35.5%).

McDermott made clear his pass-first preferences on Tuesday, while also emphasizing the importance of the ground game.

“I got cut around Andy Reid, the coach who was all about passing first and throwing to win. And that has essentially been my guiding principle here from the beginning,” McDermott stated. “I do think that you have to be able to dominate the line of scrimmage and run when you need to run, especially since Josh has developed into the quarterback that he is. Therefore, I believe it is crucial that we be able to run the football, especially in Western New York.”

Brady might execute his offensive philosophy more effectively with a full summer. Seeing what it might be, according to Allen, “does get me excited.” He had methodically anticipated a small shift.

Running the ball more with Allen—who had 48 carries in the first ten games and 83 in the nine that followed—was one of the things Brady emphasised.

“As long as he’s smart about [running the ball], we don’t want to take that away,” said Beane.

The advice would be for them not to. Restricting Allen’s running ability reduced his overall potency. Before the Chiefs game, Brady stated, “I think when you try to hold Josh Allen back, you’re probably doing a disservice.”

In 2023, the Bills just didn’t have enough of them. Only 12% of completions went for 20 yards or more (25th in the NFL), while 4.9% of offensive plays for the Bills, including the playoffs, went for 20 yards or more (28th).

Stefon Diggs’ long pass drop on the opening play of the Bills’ last offensive drive served as a perfect example of this fact in the team’s defeat to the Chiefs. Diggs caught 5 out of 24 receptions with at least 20 air yards when he was targeted.

“Your best players have to play well when you’re playing for a chance to go to the AFC Championship or a chance to get in the playoffs, all that,” Beane stated. And many of our players performed admirably, but once more, this is only a play.

Improving yards after catch (YAC) was one goal going into the season. That was the highest average for the offence with Allen at quarterback in 2023, at 5.2 yards per reception. More huge plays and less of the need for Allen to bear the entire burden would result from that number having to rise.

The fact that all five of the starting offensive linemen are signed for the upcoming season is fantastic news for the Bills in that regard. This season, the team, which started every game, gave Allen a career-low 24 sacks.

“Usually, a scoring drive has baked into it an explosive run or an explosive pass or a big time penalty, say on the defence,” McDermott stated. “I understand that, we understand that, and that’s a part of us moving forward as we look at our roster and we look at player acquisition, something that we need to take a hard look at.”

 

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