Josh Allen is bad at this. He’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and has a 67.9 rating, which academic slackers may recognize as a failing grade. But there might be a little more to Allen’s story. His totals also show why looking at numbers isn’t a substitute for watching games. Sure, knowing nothing might get you work yelling on ESPN. Everyone interested in what actually happens looks beyond statistics.
As with your English teacher who insisted Moby Dick was somehow not about a whale, context is everything. A musical score can tell you which notes to play but not how joy sounds. Allen’s rookie season was like the first Rolling Stones albums when it was exciting to hear them cover blues tunes. Looking back, fans can see the foundation for decades of greasy rhythm. Seeing everyone’s favorite rocking geezers in June in Ontario will be a fun way to kill time before the opener.
Sure, Allen’s progress didn’t amount to much statistically. But flailing around in real time is part of gaining experience. It takes being not great at something to, well, eventually be great at something. Unless you’re The Walking Dead, performance usually improves.
We’ve seen enough bright spots from Allen to think he’s just begun to tap his potential. This isn’t the first time the Mafia has thought a quarterback was going to win playoff games and absolve sins. But Trent Edwards couldn’t throw this far with a bazooka.
Allen got through what is ideally the toughest part. This is as understanding as fans get. Being a trainee means people will yell at you less for not doing it right. That means we did, too, so reward yourself with a trip to Churn for enduring what was bound to be a trial.
Enduring the probationary period is inevitable. Managers figure the new Wendy’s guy is going to muck up a few times. Flipping patties onto the floor is written into expenses while getting spatula control down.
Ingredients determine quality. Nobody should be judged for trying to make a good lunch with apple slices instead of fries. If 2018 was test to see what he’d do without sufficient blockers or targets, then the mission was a success, I suppose. It turns out both those aspects are important for passing success. This is the place for football expertise.
The roster’s getting in shape. Allen’s job is going to seem much easier without being weighed down. Taking the doughnut off the baseball bat will make swinging away seem easy.
Listen only to music that won Grammys and wonder why taste in music is questionable. Limits define bad teams. Allen completed 52.8 percent of his passes as a rookie, which is the sort of number that makes you double-check. It was actually lower than his unimpressive 56.2 percent rate as a Wyoming Cowboy, which was one of the most concerning aspects about drafting him. But this offseason is about giving him enough talent to work with, which would be novel for a franchise that’s often been competitive only in the technical sense.
Jealousy is normal. Buffalo fans see how every other team seems capable of building around a promising quarterback and feel like they’re outside LaserTron knowing others are having a blast shooting each other.
At least this club is not attempting the silly opposite anymore. If last season felt rough, compare it to truly woeful years of trying to prop up a middling talent by surrounding a quarterback with the Sammy Watkinses of the world. EJ Manuel was the 8:30 show between Friends and Seinfeld.
Part of cheering for the Bills is reminding ourselves fun is not prohibited. The impossibly dull championship was just to throw us off. A 16-point Super Bowl doesn’t mean the era of virtually limitless offense has ended. We request our favorite club participates in a fun trend just once.
Fans don’t have to feel sorry for Allen struggling during his first year working, although you can still send him a Vermont Teddy Bear to cheer him up if you’d like. He’s learning to adjust to the uncommon stress of playing for money. Getting yelled at by customers is a unique part of a job where people pay to watch it. That’s true for those who stay home, as enduring Bud Light ads counts as payment.
Remarking on Allen’s natural struggles is not to focus on the negatives like some sort of crabby talent show judge cultivating a reputation as a jerk. We’re sustained by dreams of more positives. Remember his thrilling attempts downfield with utter disregard for the difficulty of completion or possibility of interception? Hoping glimpses turn into regular occurrences is the healthiest way to pass the next half-year.
Allen’s eager to work again when he can’t. I hate you, schedule. But he got in ample realtime repetitions. The only way to get better is by trying something. It’s impossible to be an expert right away: this isn’t like being a pilot.
Driving a plane seems easy compared to reading a defense and passing accordingly in three seconds. Even the most gifted are bound to be lousy for awhile. The Russell Wilsons and Ben Roethlisbergers are freaky exceptions.
Our latest hero candidate got through a year of training. The league happens to record results, and they may not wow. But circumstances shouldn’t be that lousy again. At least, they better not be. Learning from errors is the best excuse for committing them.
Editor’s babble: At least Josh Allen didn’t have to endure acclimating to bad weather during winter months after spending a few years in Wyoming. Thanks to Anthony Bialy for bringing us some Wednesday giggles while we try to forget about the Sabres. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.