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Andy Benoit: The Good, the Bad, and the Season Outlook for the NFL’s Rookie Quarterbacks; Added Any Given Sunday Write Up from FBO's Rivers McCown

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The Good and the Bad of Every Rookie QB So Far

 

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By ANDY BENOIT  October 10, 2018
 
In Week 5, starting rookie quarterbacks went 4-0—something the NFL has never before seen. The headline is better than the text, though. Those four winning rookie QBs averaged a modest 198 yards passing, and the previous week the rookie starters went winless—a subtle reminder that quarterback development is a long-term process.
 
But that doesn’t stop us from diving deep into what the short-term has shown so far. Here’s an overview of the rookie QBs, ranked 1–5 in terms of how their rookie seasons project to look at the end of 2018.
 
4. JOSH ALLEN
 
The Good: As expected, you see flashes of the raw talent. Allen’s arm is robust, particularly on deep balls, and he’s mobile enough that it’s fair to question why Bills coaches have not incorporated him more into their run designs, reminiscent of what Sean McDermott’s old team, the Panthers, do with Cam Newton. Allen is also willing to get hit, and while the hits have come far too often, at least he doesn’t flinch in the pocket. As Blaine Gabbert observers can attest, fear in the pocket will curtail a career, no matter how talented the passer.
 
The Bad: Allen doesn’t yet know what he’s doing out there. He’s only four games in, so it’d be foolish to make any definitive declarations. But in terms of processing defensive looks pre-and post-snap, understanding route concepts and getting off bad reads quickly (a crucial, overlooked quarterbacking skill), Allen has more room to grow than any first-round quarterback in recent memory.
 
The Forecast: Not encouraging. Allen has a ton to learn, and he must do so with an unathletic offensive line and subpar receiving corps. If McDermott’s Bills weren’t such overachievers, you’d say, realistically, the best outcome for this kid is to come away without any scars.
 

Any Given Sunday: Bills over Titans | Football Outsiders

 

by Rivers McCown
 
Josh Allen Progress Report: What Exactly Do The Bills Do Well?
 
Since we covered the Bills in Week 3, Josh Allen has put up two games with DYARs of -40 and -220, where he threw for a combined 223 yards and three picks. He has also taken a league-high 19 sacks. In some ways, Allen's season is the proverbial car wreck you can't help but gawk at. In a league where Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes are making everything look easy, Allen has Goff's numbers ... from Goff's rookie season with Jeff Fisher.
 
But outside of the triumphant return of Shady McCoy this week, other players simply aren't stepping up for Buffalo. This is a group effort.
 
Of Buffalo's receivers with 15 or more targets, only Zay Jones has positive DYAR. Kelvin Benjamin has been an unmitigated disaster, catching eight of 27 attempts for 103 yards, and has been the intended target on three interceptions. Andre Holmes has never been able to catch.
 
Allen owns the 19 sacks, but Buffalo through Week 4 owned a 34.0 percent pressure rate on the offensive line, 28th in the NFL. (After this game, that's dropped to 30.3 percent, now 24th, according to Sports Info Solutions). The offensive design for Allen to take shots downfield under Brian Daboll's sage tutelage has created (per NFL Next Gen Stats) an expected completion percentage of 61.3 percent, the third-worst in the NFL. We have 33 deep balls for Allen in our data -- he's completed seven of them, for 205 yards, with four interceptions and one DPI. That equates to a DYAR of -152 just on those snaps, which is nearly triple the second-worst deep ball DYAR this season (Nick Foles at -53) and makes him one of just three players with a negative DYAR on deep balls: Allen, Foles, and Tom Brady. (That's right! Tom Brady comparisons in Allen's first year!)
 
Listen, we hated this draft pick for the Bills with the fire of a million suns, especially once you factor in trading up for him, but this offense is doing him no favors at all. The Bills need only look at their recent coaching past for inspiration on how you manage a tall quarterback with a big arm and lousy accuracy: the job Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett are doing with Blake Bortles in Jacksonville.
 
Allen has the size and speed to be a threat on running plays and do credible play-action. He's going to sail some easy throws, because he was always going to do that. Did you watch him in college?
 
AltruisticCooperativeBlesbok-size_restri
 
Edited by 26CornerBlitz
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Every rookie QB besides us have star or above average receivers. Our receiving core is so basic, and last in the league along with our offense.

Edited by Clyde Smith

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If any QB needed time to sit and learn, it was our guy. I’m hoping Derek Anderson can help him the rest of the season ($$$ well spent, I pray), and Palmer works with him daily in the offseason. There’s just SO MUCH learning and refining to do. He was my 4th choice, but he’s OUR GUY now! 

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1 minute ago, Augie said:

If any QB needed time to sit and learn, it was our guy. I’m hoping Derek Anderson can help him the rest of the season ($$$ well spent, I pray), and Palmer works with him daily in the offseason. There’s just SO MUCH learning and refining to do. He was my 4th choice, but he’s OUR GUY now! 

 

Not to mention getting the guy some help at OL and WR to maximize his talent. 

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Just now, 26CornerBlitz said:

 

Not to mention getting the guy some help at OL and WR to maximize his talent. 

 

OH, that is the starting point and half the reason I wish he could sit this year. Give the guy a CHANCE! 

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24 minutes ago, Clyde Smith said:

Every rookie QB besides us have star or above average receivers. Our receiving core is so basic, and last in the league along with our offense.

Fitz isn’t a star wr anymore and I won’t call the Jets guys stars either.  As bad as they are, we have a 1st and 2nd rounder at receiver. 

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36 minutes ago, 26CornerBlitz said:

If McDermott’s Bills weren’t such overachievers, you’d say, realistically, the best outcome for this kid is to come away without any scars.

 

I would still say, realistically, the best outcome for this kid is to come away without any scars, especially this week.

 

On-point assessment though.

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24 minutes ago, C.Biscuit97 said:

Fitz isn’t a star wr anymore and I won’t call the Jets guys stars either.  As bad as they are, we have a 1st and 2nd rounder at receiver. 

The cards have a highly drafted rookie and Fitz is still way better than our 1st rd wr in KB. The jets have 3 guys in QE, Anderson and krease who would be our top receivers here

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2 minutes ago, GimmeSomeProcess said:

The cards have a highly drafted rookie and Fitz is still way better than our 1st rd wr in KB. The jets have 3 guys in QE, Anderson and krease who would be our top receivers here

Fitz looks slow as hell now and he’s hurt.  But while you might be right on the Jets, the same people who drafted Allen, are the same ones responsible for the receivers. 

 

I wanted ESB from Notre Dame in the 6th.  We drafted undersized slot wrs.

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Yeah Andy we get it.

 

They are all better than Josh and

how does Buffalo win those upsets?

He’s an idiot and I don’t get why people click his trash 

 

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This is one of the reasons I want him to play the entire season.  I want him to get every possible look he can at what defenses are going to do to him in the NFL.  Then, after the season is over, I want him to take every piece of video, every note, and every single detail he can and study them constantly so going into next season he has every counter to the looks he sees this year.  Whether it's another summer with Jordan Palmer, or someone else than can help him through these looks, I want him to have a complete understanding of where he needs to go with the ball next season.  I know virtual reality in the NFL is in it's infancy, but QBs in the league are using it to get real looks at defenses at full speed.  If the Bills are one of the teams that utilize it, I want him to take advantage of it.  If we're not a team that uses it yet, I am not sure why we aren't.  It could be a very valuable teaching tool, especially for QBs.

 

Yes, it is ambitious for sure, but if Allen wants to be a good QB in this league, he will need to put in the work, especially in the film room. This will help him process what he is seeing faster next season so some of the throws he is late on, or the reads he is not getting through this season, are second nature to him next season.

Edited by sven233
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6 minutes ago, ShadyBillsFan said:

Yeah Andy we get it.

 

They are all better than Josh and

how does Buffalo win those upsets?

He’s an idiot and I don’t get why people click his trash 

 

 

Does this guy have any credentials for evaluating QBs? 

 

Also, how does Rosen going 10/25 put him ahead of Allen?

 

Allen has flashed some ability to be the best in the group. Mayfield is obviously the most pro ready at this point.

Edited by billspro

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I can't believe that, in two seasons, Beane hasn't been able to:

 

Draft our future QB

Assemble a decent O line to protect him and effectively run block

Assemble a high quality WR corps

 

What a !@#$ing bum!!!!!!!!  We were only a QB, 3 wide receivers, 2 linebackers, a defensive end, a defensive tackle and an offensive line and two safeties away from being the best team in football.  How long is this supposed to take??

 

And why isn't Josh Allen as good as Patrick Mahomes????  No excuses.  Failure.

Edited by Gugny
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Funny part is, Mayfield, Darnold, Allen, Rosen are ranked 40, 42, 44 and 46 respectively in terms of completions and the bills have no one in their WR group that can run a route let alone catch a ball.

 

Allen has been off the mark in some games and has made bad throws at times but I don't think he's that far off from the others that were drafted.

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1 minute ago, Gugny said:

I can't believe that, in two seasons, Beane hasn't been able to:

 

Draft our future QB

Assemble a decent O line to protect him and effectively run block

Assemble a high quality WR corps

 

What a !@#$ing bum!!!!!!!!  We were only a QB, 3 wide receivers, 2 linebackers, an offensive line and two safeties away from being the best team in football.  How long is this supposed to take??

 

We have two great safeties and two great LBs. 

 

10 draft picks and 100 mil in cap room, we will have a playoff caliber roster next year.

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You guys keep coming back to the Oline and WRs. If we swapped Oline and WR groups with the Rams we'd still have trouble moving the ball right now. That's how raw Josh is. The focus needs to be on determining if Allen can develop in his pre and post snap reads and with his accuracy enough to be a winning QB. If not, then we should be thinking about finding a new QB to develop rather than ignoring the problem and looking for players who might cover up his debilitating weaknesses.

Edited by VW82
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8 minutes ago, VW82 said:

You guys keep coming back to the Oline and WRs. If we swapped Oline and WR groups with the Rams we'd still have trouble moving the ball right now. That's how raw Josh is. The focus needs to be on determining if Allen can develop in his pre and post snap reads and with his accuracy. If not, then we should be thinking about finding a new QB to develop rather than ignoring the problem and looking for players who might cover up his debilitating weaknesses.

Getting a new qb doesn't solve the other issues though.  If you have the talent around you to succeed, it's more likely you will.

 

It's basically asking a pro golfer to par a 600yd hole without a driver or any wood for that matter.

 

Can they do it, yes.   Consistently, doubtful.

Edited by The Wiz
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9 minutes ago, The Wiz said:

Getting a new qb doesn't solve the other issues though.  If you have the talent around you to succeed, it's more likely you will.

 

Agreed but we just spent a lot of draft capital to take Allen who right now doesn't look like an NFL QB. I think we need to figure that out because if he doesn't dramatically improve there's no amount of talent we can put around him that will allow this team to succeed in a way that makes sense long-term.

 

The worst thing we can do is pretend like we have the QB position fixed, go out and spend our cap and draft picks to build around Allen only to realize after the fact that he can't play. Now we're back to where to were two years ago: capped out, without the right leadership, and needing to rebuild. 

Edited by VW82
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3 minutes ago, VW82 said:

 

Agreed but we just spent a lot of draft capital to take Allen who right now doesn't look like an NFL QB. I think we need to figure that out because if he doesn't dramatically improve there's no amount of talent we can put around him that will allow this team to succeed in a way that makes sense long-term.

 

The worst thing we can do is pretend like we have the QB position fixed, go out and spend our cap and draft picks to build around Allen only to realize after the fact that he can't play. Now we're back to where to were two years ago: capped out, without the right leadership, and needing to rebuild. 

Wtf he is 4 games into his career and is 2-2.

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2 minutes ago, VW82 said:

 

Agreed but we just spent a lot of draft capital to take Allen who right now doesn't look like an NFL QB. I think we need to figure that out because if he doesn't dramatically improve there's no amount of talent we can put around him that will allow this team to succeed in a way this fan base will be satisfied with. 

 

The worst thing we can do is pretend like we have the QB position fixed, go out and spend our cap and draft picks to build around Allen only to find out that he can't play. Now we're back to where to were two years ago: capped out, without the right leadership, and needing to rebuild. 

Look at what the Jets gave up to move up for a guy that is basically on par with Allen at this point a cost them 3 2nd rounders.  I'd call it a steal to get Allen with the amount of picks given up.

 

And I'm not an Allen drum thumper, just pointing out what is wrong and what other teams are doing.

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11 minutes ago, 4merper4mer said:

Wtf he is 4 games into his career and is 2-2.

 

He's played 18 quarters plus preseason of NFL football. It isn't too early to make some observations about where he is in his development. I'm not suggesting he's a finished product or won't make it. But the early signs suggest he has a long ways to go, and according to Andy Benoit maybe the longest out of any QB in recent memory as far as football IQ.

 

Again, I don't think we should just assume "better weapons" is the answer here. Let's see if he develops at all first before we hard commit to the Allen era.  

10 minutes ago, The Wiz said:

Look at what the Jets gave up to move up for a guy that is basically on par with Allen at this point a cost them 3 2nd rounders.  I'd call it a steal to get Allen with the amount of picks given up.

 

And I'm not an Allen drum thumper, just pointing out what is wrong and what other teams are doing.

 

This isn't about the picks. If he's good it's worth it to overpay. I think virtually everyone who isn't a hard core Bills fan would agree that Allen is not on par with Darnold at this point. Not even close. That isn't to say that Allen might not one day surpass him. But in terms of where they are re NFL sophistication, Darnold and Baker are light years ahead. I haven't seen much of the AZ kid yet. 

Edited by VW82

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2 minutes ago, VW82 said:

 

He's played 18 quarters plus preseason of NFL football. It isn't too early to make some observations about where he is in his development. I'm not suggesting he's a finished product or won't make it. But the early signs suggest he has a long ways to go, and according to Andy Benoit maybe the longest way out of any QB in recent memory as far as football IQ.

 

Again, I don't think we should just assume "better weapons" is the answer here. Let's see if he develops at all first before we hard commit to the Allen era.  

18 quarters wow.  That's 270 minutes.  When you put it that way and add in the character who is self promoting you've convinced me.  No reason to give him a 271st. 

 

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10 minutes ago, 4merper4mer said:

18 quarters wow.  That's 270 minutes.  When you put it that way and add in the character who is self promoting you've convinced me.  No reason to give him a 271st. 

 

 

You're the only one talking about him not playing anymore (even if it's just to be facetious). Obviously he needs more time.

 

The question I raised is does it make sense to commit a bunch of other resources next off season to build around Allen if he hasn't improved considerably from where he is today? I think that's a fair question. Many here seem to be taking the default position of "it's not his fault because he's a rookie and the Oline and WRs suck so we can't objectively rate his performance." That's crap. You have to take that into consideration but it's clear he'd be having the same problems with better teammates because of how tremendously raw he is. He's so raw it's fair to question whether he'll ever improve enough to be successful, and it's worth monitoring that improvement over the course of the year so we can make a more informed decision about him in the off season.  

Edited by VW82
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Josh Allen is exactly who we all thought he was coming out of the draft, a freakishly athletic QB with a howitzer of an arm and good leadership skills who was going to need to work on his accuracy and need some time to develop his game. 

 

Now that he is playing, all these incredibly knowledgeable national media types are pointing out that he is a freakishly athletic QB with a howitzer of an arm and good leadership skills who needs to work on his accuracy and needs some time to develop his game.

 

Their next earth shattering expose will be about how water is wet.

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