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QB Allen says time watching is beneficial
Josh Allen does not believe this has become a lost season for him individually. In fact, he thinks his time on the bench, which was forced due to an elbow injury on his right throwing arm, has actually been a good thing for his development.
As he has sat for the last three full games, Allen has been given the chance to stay out of the line of fire and watch how things operate from the safety of the sideline. And that was the Buffalo Bills' original plan for him this year before their quarterback situation blew up in spectacular fashion.
Ideally, they would have preferred that Allen sit and watch free agent signee AJ McCarron start the season, and then have Allen work his way into the lineup when the Bills felt he was ready, or, when they were realistically out of the playoff picture.
Instead, McCarron flamed out in the summer and was cut before the season, and when Nathan Peterman did Nathan Peterman things in the season opener, Allen was thrust into the huddle in the third quarter of that first game in Baltimore.
Now, one could make the salient argument that Allen isn't learning a thing watching two incompetent quarterbacks, Peterman and Derek Anderson, running the worst offense in the NFL, but Allen disagrees.
"I don't think it has affected me negatively at all," he said of his inactivity. "I actually think it was kind of a blessing in disguise. I got to see a vet come in and control the offense the way it needs to be controlled. I got to see that from him and got to learn and sit back; experience the ups and downs of professional football without actually having to go through it. It's definitely going to help out in the long run."
Allen suffered the injury in Week 6 when Houston's Whitney Mercilus smashed his helmet into Allen's elbow. The Bills were 2-3 entering that game, coming off a victory where Allen led them to a game-winning field goal in the final seconds to beat Tennessee.
They proceeded to lose to the Texans when Peterman threw a game-deciding pick-six in the final two minutes, and have lost every game since to the Colts, Patriots and Bears by a combined score of 103-20. In those three games, Peterman and Anderson have combined to throw seven interceptions and no touchdowns.
The season is now a lost cause, an audition for 2019 jobs, and the only pressing item left for the Bills is to get Allen back on the field and have him put whatever he has learned from the sideline to practical use.
"I felt like as I progressed throughout the season, I felt like the last two games I played in, I was playing good football," said Allen. "I was putting the ball where it needed to be, making right decisions, keeping the ball out of harm's way and we saw ourselves win against the Titans and be in the game late against Houston. Things were just starting to slow down for me, so I'm starting to get back out there and see if that can continue. With the help of (offensive coordinator Brian) Daboll and DA and the guys we've got in the room right now, I think it will."
Head coach Sean McDermott was asked if there was a chance Allen could play Sunday against the Jets in New York, and while he wouldn't answer the question directly, it seems prudent for the Bills not to rush their franchise quarterback. He was able to return to practice and he's throwing again, but the Bills' bye week is coming up and the extra rest and rehab would probably be wise. Thus, he could return Nov. 25 against Jacksonville and have six weeks left in the season.
"Yeah, that's certainly something that we discussed," said McDermott. "We've talked about that. At the end of the day, our docs give us, really, whether that would help or not. That's one of the factors that we've talked about."
Of course, Allen wants to get out there as soon as possible, and this would have been a fun week for him with the Bills playing the Jets, who are quarterbacked by one of the other top 10 draft picks in 2018, Sam Darnold. Now, Darnold is reportedly going to miss the game due to a sprained foot, so it looks like Peterman vs. Josh McCown.
"It's frustrating not playing for me," said Allen. "I'm a competitor and I'm sure a lot of people who don't get to play because of an injury, whether it's their pride or their ego, whatever it is, they want to be out on the field. The reason I want to be out on the field is to help my team, whatever which way possible I can. When I can't do that, it hurts me."
SERIES HISTORY: 115th regular-season meeting. Bills lead series, 60-54. The Bills split with the Jets last season, winning on opening day at home in Sean McDermott's head coaching debut, then losing a Thursday night game at the Meadowlands 34-21 when they turned the ball over three times. Buffalo has lost three of the last four games to New York.