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Bills Today: How running became a key part of Josh Allen's game


1 - How running became a key part of Josh Allen's game

Elite athleticism wasn't always a trait that Josh Allen was known for.

In high school, an overall lack of mobility was actually a blight on the prospect's game. The quarterback did not receive a single scholarship offer from a division one program out of high school.

"Well, in high school, [running] really wasn't a part of my game," Allen said. "I was extremely slow in high school."

Fresh out of high school with nowhere to turn to, Allen enrolled in Reedley College, a community college located an hour outside of his hometown of Firebaugh, CA. It was at Reedley where Allen started to round out his game, putting on roughly 20 pounds of muscle to fill out his ever-growing frame. After passing for 2,055 yards and rushing for another 660 in one season at Reedley, Allen transferred to the University of Wyoming, where he continued to put on muscle weight.

Allen feels as though rounding out physically allowed him to add his dynamic athleticism to his game.

"I wouldn't say I'm fast now, but as I went through junior college and went to Wyoming, I actually started hitting the weight room and, I guess, kind of evolved as an athlete there," Allen said.

Allen's mobility has transferred to the NFL level, as the Buffalo quarterback currently leads all passers in rushing yards with 490. The rookie has picked up 335 rushing yards over the past three games alone.

Though tucking the ball and running has allowed Allen to find success in recent weeks, putting up lofty rushing totals is not the quarterback's primary concern.

"I just try to do the right thing, try to make the right decisions," Allen said. "Recently, it's been taking off and using my legs. It's been hurting the last couple defenses, but like I said, if we're not winning games, it's not doing enough. I'm finding ways, like I said, to get the ball to our playmaker's hands; that's what I'm trying to do.

2 - Kyle Williams: Edmunds, Allen have become leaders

A proverbial passing of the torch recently occurred inside the walls of a meeting room at One Bills Drive.

During a players-only defensive meeting, veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams allowed rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to take center stage and control the meeting from the front of the room. It's the first time that Williams, a 35-year-old who is widely looked at as the heart and soul of Buffalo's defense, has asked another player to run the meeting.

Showcasing the 20-year-old's leadership ability was the primary motivation behind Williams' decision.

"[Edmunds] has worked extremely hard day in and day out," Williams said. "I think there are building blocks to being a leader, and somebody that can command a football team starts [at the beginning]. You don't just come in barking on Sunday. This is a guy that puts the work in day in and day out, he does the right things. I just want to plant some shade trees for down the years for him, where he says 'You know what, this is where this started.' Maybe he can take it to a whole new level."

Williams also sees leadership qualities in rookie quarterback Josh Allen, who was selected just nine picks before Edmunds in the 2018 draft. The 13-year veteran feels as though Allen and Edmunds have already taken over their respective sides of the ball.

"Those guys are playing positions that mirror each other offensively and defensively," Williams said. "They're the communicators, they're the guys that set everything up, they're the guys that get everything going.

"It's tough for rookies to come into this setting and kind of take over. Obviously, there are building blocks. These guys have to show day in and day out that they're there to prepare, they're there to work, so that they can perform on Sundays. Both of those guys have done that."

3 - PFF: Allen one of the NFL's best rookie QBs

The third quarterback selected in the 2018 draft, Josh Allen has lived up to the high expectations surrounding him in his rookie season.

Though he's been far from flawless, the rookie has shown promise through his first eight starts. Allen has completed 119 passes for 1,429 yards and five touchdowns, often showcasing his elite arm strength and mind-boggling athletic ability. While most would agree that there's definite room for improvement in Allen's game, the sky is seemingly the limit for the 22-year-old.

According to Pro Football Focus, Allen has been one of the league's most impressive rookie quarterbacks this season. Allen's overall grade of 64.3 is the second highest among all rookie quarterbacks. Only Baker Mayfield, whom the Browns selected with the first overall pick in the 2018 draft, has a higher overall grade at this point in the season.

Allen's grade has taken a significant leap over the past three weeks. When the signal caller went down with an elbow injury in Week 8, he was boasting an overall grade of 51.4. Since returning from injury in Week 12, Allen has put up 932 total yards, prompting his grade to increase by nearly 13 points.

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