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Hapless Bills Fan

good Joe B review of Allen's 2019 progress (vs 2018)

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Athletic, subscription, I believe there's a trial available.

https://theathletic.com/1603027/2020/02/13/dissecting-josh-allen-in-2019-the-good-the-bad-and-the-outlook-for-year-3/

 

I thought this was worth its own thread because while I'm not a huge Joe B fan in general, I thought this was well-written and a pretty fair, balanced take.  In it, Joe B steps away from the arbitrary and unexplained "grades" and drills down into different aspects of Allen's play as a QB this year, comparing them to last year and discussing where he needs to get better.

 

Key Improvements per Joe B:

-Time to decision.  Buscaglia breaks this down game by game and points out that while the overall improvement was minor, there were a series of games in which Allen played well and the improvement was significant.  He also breaks down the Houston game and points out that in the 1st 3Q, Allen had a short decision time; in the 4Q, it was long.  Where I think Joe is missing the boat a bit is in attributing the latter to "old tendencies" rather than to defensive adjustments that took away quick, decisive throws and created confusion about what he was seeing. 

-Short and intermediate accuracy.  This has been discussed here and Joe brings up the NFL Next Gen passer grids.

-Judgement between risk vs reckless (as shown by fewer interceptions)

-Staying in the pocket/pocket adjustments

Key areas to further develop:

-Throwing the receiver open - I think Allen actually improved here more than Joe B. gives him credit for, but for sure further improvement would help

-Processing vs. the Blitz - "The Bills didn’t face many all-out blitzes during the season, but when they did it was usually near the end of close games. When a defense did send a lot of pressure, Allen struggled to cope and often made a bit of a panicked play. The Patriots and Ravens spearheaded those defensive looks against Allen, with the Texans mixing it in late in the playoff game. They wanted Allen to prove that he could spot the oncoming blitz ahead of the snap, change his protection to give himself more of a chance and then make a quick decision with the appropriate throw. More often than not, the attack caught Allen by surprise and the Bills suffered a negative play." 

Mmmmm.  Well.  I'm not sure this is all on Allen.  What I think NE and the Ravens (and Houston at the end of the game) did very well is disguise.  They showed one look before the snap; Allen changed the protections; then they stunted and did something else.  The Patriots do a thing where when a blitzer is blocked, he drops back into coverage.  Crennel drew from this during 4Q in Houston.  Wink Martindale is famous for dialing up "special sauce" blitzes for each game that are different each week. Guys stunt.  What I think (at my level of football thinking, which is certainly not advanced) is that the protections we're using have shown themselves to be susceptible to this - in part because we've shown if we're relying on a TE/RB combo to block a top DE, we're Toast.  Our TE can be whupped (both Kroft and Knox) and Singletary can be misled into making a late read or just plain beaten.   And sometimes our play design simply doesn't give Allen enough fast answers to cope with this.  

I also think "The Bills didn't face many all-out blitzes during the season" is misleading - in the games where Allen struggled, we faced A LOT.  The Ravens, for example, blitzed on 53% of their dropbacks.  And I hate the second-guessing crap he threw into his commentary about Allen not seeing Beasley breaking open late.  It's a discussion Allen can't win: if he trusts his protection (which had sucked all game) and hangs onto the ball waiting for a receiver to break open late but gets sacked, he needs to improve his time-to-decision and situational awareness.  If he makes the quick read and gets the ball out but the pass isn't complete, he "rushed himself" and "should have realized his OL was giving him time

Either Or, Not Both.

 

Anyway, the bottom line is that the Bills performance against the Blitz must improve - a lot - and a good part of that is clearly on Allen, Fair.
-Deep ball accuracy.  No argument, especially deep center  Blitz0 beater: Deep post.

-Ball security.  No argument.  Unnoticed by Joe, though, I believe Allen's game logs show both improvement, and a transition to a different type of fumble, in the 2nd half of the season.  In the first half of the season, Allen fumbled 10 times.  A lot of these were fumbles while running. After the 3 fumbles in the Philly game (Week 7) I believe the Bills started to work extra-hard on this with Allen, but the 2 fumbles vs Wash and 1 vs Cleveland in subsequent weeks showed This Takes Time.  I started to see changes - Allen shifting the ball away from the defender when he runs and transitioning it to the slanted, "claw" grip the RB coach teaches (and trying to put two arms on it).  In the second half of the season Allen fumbled 4 times.  One was the abovementioned during Cleveland, which Allen commented "I'm working on it, but the defenders are bigger and they hit harder than you can hit the QB in practice".  One was a botched snap (the Dallas 4th down conversion).  Two were strip sacks in the Baltimore game.  There were other times the ball came out, but Allen was ruled down - these were when he's extending the ball for a TD or 1st down.  Then there's the fumble in the HOU game, which was when Allen delayed the decision to run, looking for Beasley to come open late.

 

So I think there's been significant progress, with some rough areas still to be worked on - IMO decision making is now a bigger component, as well as situational awareness (don't step ahead of your protection, Josh!) and greater focus on keeping both hands on the ball until closer to a decision.  Josh may just need to stop extending the ball, I understand this is something Belicheck coaches against.

 

Joe concludes:

Until then, it’s unclear why many are already writing off the 23-year-old. One of his best attributes is the selfless willingness to adapt. If there is an evident deficiency in Allen’s game, he works to remove it and turn the improvement into a habit. Allen has reinvented himself from one week to the next multiple times already throughout his young career. The legitimate strides he’s made with his time to a decision, short-to-intermediate accuracy, cutting down on turnover-worthy plays and not leaving the pocket prematurely should all breed optimism that he can improve in other critical areas. Because of that amount of growth in such a short time, it’s challenging to define Allen’s ceiling in the NFL. And because of such a rapid improvement, it would be foolish to believe he’s a finished product before his third season.
 

 

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Just re: Texans and blitz pickup- the line was totally out of sorts that game. And I don't believe it's a coincidence a higher% of blitzes came through and disrupted QB timing/effectiveness once Gore's early season minutes started going Singletary's way.

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Regarding improvement in processing the blitz, the same goes for his receivers. There were a number of times when Allen correctly read the proper route adjustment for the look presented only to see his receiver miss the hot read and Allen had to come off that route and go to another option which impacted the timing involved. 

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20 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

Athletic, subscription, I believe there's a trial available.

https://theathletic.com/1603027/2020/02/13/dissecting-josh-allen-in-2019-the-good-the-bad-and-the-outlook-for-year-3/

 

I thought this was worth its own thread because while I'm not a huge Joe B fan in general, I thought this was well-written and a pretty fair, balanced take.  In it, Joe B steps away from the arbitrary and unexplained "grades" and drills down into different aspects of Allen's play as a QB this year, comparing them to last year and discussing where he needs to get better.

 

I think Joe's takes are generally pretty fair and well written but I agree with you his grades are all over the place and seem totally arbitrary. My tactic is to read his write ups and then when he gets to the grades at the end stop reading. Those are the least worthwhile bits of his breakdowns.

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4 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

I think Joe's takes are generally pretty fair and well written but I agree with you his grades are all over the place and seem totally arbitrary. My tactic is to read his write ups and then when he gets to the grades at the end stop reading. Those are the least worthwhile bits of his breakdowns.

He has a good eye for the game so his film stuff is worth a read imo, grades are generally useless

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3 minutes ago, GoBills808 said:

Just re: Texans and blitz pickup- the line was totally out of sorts that game. And I don't believe it's a coincidence a higher% of blitzes came through and disrupted QB timing/effectiveness once Gore's early season minutes started going Singletary's way.

 

Totally agree on Gore/Singletary.  People look at the success the Bills had with a no-huddle offense and a 11 set using Singletary and Knox against Mia-Den-Dal and say "why did we walk away from something that was working?  The answer is "because when we tried it against Bal, BAD FAIL"

 

People blame Allen for that bad sack/intentional grounding against Hou but the fact is, there were assigned blockers yet it was a total jailbreak.  Lee Smith was beaten like a drum and Singlary was hurled onto his butt.

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2 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Totally agree on Gore/Singletary.  People look at the success the Bills had with a no-huddle offense and a 11 set using Singletary and Knox against Mia-Den-Dal and say "why did we walk away from something that was working?  The answer is "because when we tried it against Bal, BAD FAIL"

 

People blame Allen for that bad sack/intentional grounding against Hou but the fact is, there were assigned blockers yet it was a total jailbreak.  Lee Smith was beaten like a drum and Singlary was hurled onto his butt.

Singletary and Smith get their blocks mixed up, which happened with Smith and Williams on another play before halftime (infamous Gore run). Don't know who was responsible for what but that's just a basic stunt that completely fooled our RB1 and supposed best blocking TE. Then on the other side: the entire right side of the line was looking at Watt. Thats over 1300lbs of offensive line focused on one guy

 

complete breakdown

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Overall, Joe B.'s assessment seems fair. I put some of the blitz problem issue squarely on Daboll.  He persisted in going empty backfield against teams that blitz with regularity.  This put Allen in some bad spots on third down, unnecessarily.  Better use of screens, draws, and receivers running hot read routes will curtail the use of the blitz against them.  Daboll needs to improve on this as much as Allen; maybe even more. 

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2 minutes ago, GoBills808 said:

Singletary and Smith get their blocks mixed up, which happened with Smith and Williams on another play before halftime (infamous Gore run). Don't know who was responsible for what but that's just a basic stunt that completely fooled our RB1 and supposed best blocking TE. Then on the other side: the entire right side of the line was looking at Watt. Thats over 1300lbs of offensive line focused on one guy

 

complete breakdown

 

Right.  So looping back to my original point....Joe B is putting the blame for this on Allen failing to make the right call.  We'll probably never know because I think Pigs Will Fly before Allen throws one of his guys under the bus publicly, but I'm not sure that's where it belongs on some of the worst break-downs.

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Just now, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Right.  So looping back to my original point....Joe B is putting the blame for this on Allen failing to make the right call.  We'll probably never know because I think Pigs Will Fly before Allen throws one of his guys under the bus publicly, but I'm not sure that's where it belongs on some of the worst break-downs.

I don't have an Athletic subscription but I find it hard to believe someone would blame that particular play on the QB

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Anyone who has viewed Allen objectively understands that he has made meaningful strides and is clearly trending higher.  We aren't talking about a miniscule improvement either, it was a pretty big step forward.   And knowing Allen and his eagerness to learn and improve, his great selfless attitude, intelligence and out-of-this-world physical tools, you'd have to be a very foolish person to not believe that he is going to take another big step forward next year.

 

He's going to be borderline Pro bowl level.  Take it to the bank.

Edited by Magox
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I look forward to this thread making it to page 117.

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31 minutes ago, GoBills808 said:

I don't have an Athletic subscription but I find it hard to believe someone would blame that particular play on the QB

 

I don't want to harp because overall it's a good article, and Joe does not explicitly blame that play on Allen in that article.

In his "7 observations" article right after the game, Joe writes: (about Allen in the 4th Q):

" He held on to the ball too long and took sacks when the Bills couldn’t afford it ".  

 

Allen took 3 sacks in the game.  One was midway through the 3rd, and resulted in a FG to put the Bills up 16-0, so that can't be what he meant.

 

One was a sack/fumble early in the 4th on a delayed decision to run when he was waiting for Beasley to come open (which in a different game, Joe complains Allen failed to do).  It wasn't the sack that was killer there, it was the fumble, but it cost us 3 points and we were still leading 16-11

 

Then there's the sacks with 2 minutes left on 3rd and 13 and 4th and 27, of which that .gif is the first.

 

So if those aren't the plays Joe meant, it's hard to figure out what he did mean.  Anyway, I could be wrong, but it's hard to blame Allen for a decision that should not have been made to "go for it" on 4th and 27.  That's why I think what I think.  I could be wrong.

 

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

Joe concludes:

Until then, it’s unclear why many are already writing off the 23-year-old. One of his best attributes is the selfless willingness to adapt. If there is an evident deficiency in Allen’s game, he works to remove it and turn the improvement into a habit. Allen has reinvented himself from one week to the next multiple times already throughout his young career. The legitimate strides he’s made with his time to a decision, short-to-intermediate accuracy, cutting down on turnover-worthy plays and not leaving the pocket prematurely should all breed optimism that he can improve in other critical areas. Because of that amount of growth in such a short time, it’s challenging to define Allen’s ceiling in the NFL. And because of such a rapid improvement, it would be foolish to believe he’s a finished product before his third season.

 

Amazing what cool heads (and a clear mind :))  will come up with.    Well for some people  they just wont change.

 

2019 is over.  The new season is here.   

 

We don't need no stinking 2020 hindsight.     :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

Athletic, subscription, I believe there's a trial available.

https://theathletic.com/1603027/2020/02/13/dissecting-josh-allen-in-2019-the-good-the-bad-and-the-outlook-for-year-3/

 

I thought this was worth its own thread because while I'm not a huge Joe B fan in general, I thought this was well-written and a pretty fair, balanced take.  In it, Joe B steps away from the arbitrary and unexplained "grades" and drills down into different aspects of Allen's play as a QB this year, comparing them to last year and discussing where he needs to get better.

 

Key Improvements per Joe B:

-Time to decision.  Buscaglia breaks this down game by game and points out that while the overall improvement was minor, there were a series of games in which Allen played well and the improvement was significant.  He also breaks down the Houston game and points out that in the 1st 3Q, Allen had a short decision time; in the 4Q, it was long.  Where I think Joe is missing the boat a bit is in attributing the latter to "old tendencies" rather than to defensive adjustments that took away quick, decisive throws and created confusion about what he was seeing. 

 

 

I'm thinking that Allen choked a bit in the 4th quarter as the Texans cut the Bills lead.  And this isn't surprising in the least given that it was Allen's FIRST playoff game and it was on the road to boot.

 

I think we tend to underestimate just how damaging the defense giving up that 75 yard TD drive AND a 2 point conversion really was.  All of a sudden the game goes from the Bills having a commanding lead to a one score contest.  At that point Allen tries to do to much, fumbles and he's clearly shaken.  What I like though is that he got his act together late and led us to a tying FG and was driving us towards the winning score in OT.  Allen played well, if a bit chaotic, in those last 2 drives. And this was in spite of being on the road in front of a fired up crowd.

 

IMO Allen acquitted himself well under the circumstances in that playoff game.

 

 

 

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Why do you say you're not a JoeB fan, but liked the article?  I read the piece and its very consistent with his typical approach to these stories

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42 minutes ago, Magox said:

Anyone who has viewed Allen objectively understands that he has made meaningful strides and is clearly trending higher.  We aren't talking about a miniscule improvement either, it is a pretty big step forward.   And knowing Allen and his eagerness to learn and improve, his great selfless attitude, intelligence and out-of-this-world physical tools, you'd have to be a very foolish person to not believe that he is going to take another big step forward next year.

 

He's going to be borderline Pro bowl level.  Take it to the bank.

 

When it comes to Josh Allen, it seems very hard for people to be objective.  He was a very polarizing prospect, that caused many fans and media heads to stubbornly dig their feet into the ground.  And two years into his career, he's shown just enough promise for his supporters to proudly thump their chest.  But he's also struggled enough for his doubters to remain skeptical.

 

Truthfully, the jury is still out.  There is no doubt he took some strides forward in 2019.  But he needs to keep it going.

 

Like I've said in the past... I don't think fans should put a time-limit on Allen's development.  People keep asking whether QB development should take 2, 3, 4 seasons.  Or if Allen isn't a Pro-Bowler by next year, would that classify him as a bust?

 

In my opinion, development varies from player to player.  Allen started "behind" most of the other prospects in his class, including a few that were drafted afterwards.  He wasn't picked Top 10 because of his college production.  His value was always related to long-term potential.  The moment that Bills fans should start worrying is when Allen stops getting better.   Period.

 

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Seeing the improvement from Allen, given they provided him with a few more resources on offense, is extremely encouraging. I want to see them get him a couple more REAL receiving targets in this draft and upgrade the OL again in FA. I still believe that Ford's best spot on the OL would be LG and I want to see us get a premium RT in FA like Conklin. If we do these things, as well as solidify the DE position, get a LB to replace Lorax, and some quality depth at CB? Yes, this team is going to make a run next year. 

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Honestly......the eye test says that Allen is improving.....both in accuracy, ball  placement, and decision making.

 

Would like to see him get more accurate on the long throws....but I am happy with how he is progressing

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1 hour ago, Magox said:

Anyone who has viewed Allen objectively understands that he has made meaningful strides and is clearly trending higher.  We aren't talking about a miniscule improvement either, it was a pretty big step forward.   And knowing Allen and his eagerness to learn and improve, his great selfless attitude, intelligence and out-of-this-world physical tools, you'd have to be a very foolish person to not believe that he is going to take another big step forward next year.

 

He's going to be borderline Pro bowl level.  Take it to the bank.

I agree. The pre snap reads will come with time. What he has to improve on right away is the 20-40 yard throws to open receivers. What a difference this would make for the Bill's offense. He has a tendency to overthrow these.

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1 hour ago, Logic said:

I look forward to this thread making it to page 117.

 

Good Sir:

  This Is Not Logical

Signed,

  Truth

 

40 minutes ago, cage said:

Why do you say you're not a JoeB fan, but liked the article?  I read the piece and its very consistent with his typical approach to these stories

 

I disagree. 

 

Too often Joe stays on the surface and makes definitive-sounding pronouncements or produces what appear to be metrics (for example, grades) based on criteria that are unstated.  There are examples of these traits within the article, too (some of which I called out), but I felt he did a better job at breaking things down and defending his thoughts.

 

Just my opinion, that's all.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, billykay said:

I agree. The pre snap reads will come with time. What he has to improve on right away is the 20-40 yard throws to open receivers. What a difference this would make for the Bill's offense. He has a tendency to overthrow these.

 

Yep.  As I had implied, he's not a finished product but the improvement is undeniable.  What I believe is that there is a better than ok chance of him making similar strides in his third year.  

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