Josh Allen has been one of the league’s best quarterbacks over the last two seasons, but he believes there’s always room for improvement.
Allen and his Buffalo Bills teammates started their offseason program for the first time this week, which was also one of the first chances to talk to reporters since the heartbreaking ending to the last season. The Buffalo Bills signal-caller opened up about the work he’s doing in the offseason to improve one of the lagging aspects of his game — putting his receivers in position to get yards after the catch.
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Allen Aims to Improve
While Allen had another MVP-caliber season in 2021, he and the team’s pass-catchers struggled in getting yards after the catch. The Bills quarterback actually ranked last in the NFL in yards after catch, with just 1,737 (39%) of his 4,407 total passing yards coming after the catch.
Allen said this week that he aims to improve that next season by working on his ball placement.
“I think, myself especially, making sure I’m on time, making the right reads and giving our guys good enough balls to get some more [yards after the catch],” Allen told Syracuse.com’s Ryan Talbot. “That’s one thing I think, on offense, run after catch was wasn’t very high last year. But again, that’s me putting the ball where it needs to be and allow our guys to catch in a good position to make a run after the catch.
“So working on that, that’s been one of my biggest takeaways in this offseason and trying to work on just ball placement and allowing our receivers to do that.”
Bills Want More Playmakers
The quest for more yards after the catch goes beyond Allen’s offseason work. Bills general manager Brandon Beane said it’s a major offseason priority to bring more playmakers. He specifically mentioned then-Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who torched the Bills with long catch-and-runs in two straight playoff games.
“You’d love to have a RAC (run-after-catch) guy that you can get the ball to and he can turn a 5-yard pass into a 60-yard touchdown,” Beane said, via The Athletic. “We talked about speed here. You can never have enough of that. So we’ll continue to look for various ways.”
The Bills have added some playmakers this offseason, including New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder. The 28-year-old made 51 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns last season, and now could help fill some of the void left by the departure of slot receiver Cole Beasley. Returning wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie could also see some time in the slot, and bring the home run ability that Beane talked about. McKenzie was one of the speediest members of the Bills receiving corps, rounding out the running game as a jet-sweep specialist.
Many also expect the Bills to draft a wide receiver with one of their high picks. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler predicted that the Bills would select Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks with their first-round pick. Burks caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdown catches for the Razorbacks last year, and could be ab immediate impact player for the Bills.