It was evident to anyone who watched the second half of Josh Allen’s rookie season. The quarterback has the ability to take over a game. Allen made a good first impression on a lot of people in 2018, including those who professionally evaluate performances on a weekly basis. So what should be expected from Josh Allen in his second NFL season?
“I think he’s going to be a great player,” said Sirius XM NFL Radio host Pat Kirwan. “His athleticism, we all knew he had it, but watching him this is rare athletic skill. His ability to give himself a chance to win games with the way he works around the pocket. He can do so many things that a lot of quarterbacks can’t do just to get himself open to extend plays and throw the ball.
“You get him the right set of receivers, look out. I think he’s going to take a quantum leap in year two.”
Recent history has shown that most quarterbacks who see significant action in their rookie season advance their team’s fortunes in their second season under center. Nine out of 11 current NFL quarterbacks, who started at least seven games as a rookie, helped raised their team’s won-loss record by an average of three wins (see chart).
Six of those quarterbacks helped their team post a winning record after being under .500 the season prior. Among those signal callers are Mitchell Trubisky, who led the Chicago Bears to the NFC North title and a home Wild Card playoff game just this past season, and Jared Goff, who helped the L.A. Rams win the NFC West title in 2017.
And three of those 11 quarterbacks helped their teams to Super Bowl titles in Ben Roethlisberger (2005), Russell Wilson (2013) and Carson Wentz, who was putting together an MVP type season in 2017, before Nick Foles finished it off in Super Bowl XLII.
|ACTIVE NFL QBs (Team/Rookie season)||TEAM WINS IN ROOKIE YEAR||TEAM WINS IN SECOND YEAR||WIN DIFFERENTIAL||SECOND YEAR RESULTS|
|Blake Bortles (Jac/2014)||3||5||Plus-2||5-11|
|Jared Goff (LAR/2016)||4||11||Plus-7||11-5 - won NFC West|
|Eli Manning (NYG/2004)||6||11||Plus-5||11-5 - won NFC East|
|Marcus Mariota (Ten/2015)||3||9||Plus-6||9-7|
|Cam Newton (Car/2011)||6||7||Plus-1||7-9|
|Ben Roelisberger (Pit/2004)||15||11||Minus-4||11-5 - won Super Bowl|
|Matt Ryan (Atl/2008)||11||9||Minus-2||9-7|
|Mitchell Trubisky (Chi/2017)||5||12||Plus-7||12-4 - won NFC North|
|Carson Wentz (Phi/2016)||7||13||Plus-6||13-3 - won Super Bowl|
|Russell Wilson (Sea/2012)||11||13||Plus-2||13-3 - won Super Bowl|
|Jameis Winston (TB/2015)||6||9||Plus-3||9-7|
Buffalo is coming off a 6-10 season in their quarterback’s rookie year, so what is Josh Allen capable of to flip the Bills script in 2019?
“He plays with a lot of heart and toughness,” said NBC analyst Rodney Harrison. “They’re going to have to do a better job of surrounding him with better talent.”
Bills general manager Brandon Beane is all too aware that he needs to help his budding young quarterback by upgrading the pool of talent on the offensive side of the ball.
“I’ve got to do a solid job this offseason to improve our offense,” said Beane. “We know where we need to get stronger, and we’ll look to address all those areas.”
Provided those steps are taken, knowing the Buffalo offense for the first time in five seasons will have the same coordinator, the odds seem good for the Bills to take a sizable step forward in Josh Allen’s second NFL campaign.
“The young man is really fun to work with,” said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. “He takes his craft really seriously for a young player. I think that we’ve just got to keep grinding it out and really improving in all the stuff that we can.”
“He’s not arrived by any means, but I know who he is and he is not complacent,” said Beane of Allen. “This guy is competitive. He wants to get better. He wants to be the best at his craft. He’s got a really good plan. We talked to a lot of the young guys and Josh has a really good plan for the offseason to come back here bigger, stronger, faster and mentally even stronger.”
That’s why Beane is determined to equip Allen with the tools he needs to lift the Buffalo offense that languished near the bottom of the league in total yards, passing and scoring to a level that can help them pull their weight. Coupled with a top five defense, year two for Allen could mirror some of his NFL predecessors when it comes to team improvement.
“He has huge upside,” said former NFL quarterback Jim Miller. “His arm strength is ridiculous. He puts some serious sauce on that ball. If he just hones in and gets his footwork all worked out, man he’s going to be a good one. He’s tough and extremely athletic. He can do things that no quarterback in this league can do.”