Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is coming off a season where he rushed a career-high 124 times, and one insider believes the team may be growing frustrated with the number of risks he is taking — and the punishment he takes as a result.
In a column answering questions from fans, Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News noted that it is “reasonable” to be concerned about Allen’s longevity considering his tendency to extend plays and lean into contact when running the ball.
Skurski noted that Bills general manager Brandon Beane appeared to call out Allen for taking too many hits.
“Overall, I think Josh had a really good year for us – we did a lot of good things. The only thing I’d get on to him is he’s got too many bruises on him,” Beane said is his season-ending press conference. “We’ve got to work on taking less hits. That’s the only reason I’m going to ever criticize Josh is just take less hits.”
Insider: ‘Frustration’ Sets in With Bills
As Skurski noted, Beane appeared frustrated that Allen continues to put his body on the line so often, especially as the team has put such an emphasis on his safety before. The team made additions to the offensive line in the offseason and put an emphasis on Allen running less often.
“The amount of punishment Allen absorbs is not a new topic. It’s something the team has addressed with him before,” Skurski wrote. “It struck me, though, that it almost sounded as if there were a bit of frustration underneath the surface when Beane spoke. Again, that was just my read. If accurate, that would be understandable. You can only tell a player so many times to slide or get out of bounds before frustration sets in if he’s taking too many unnecessary hits.”
Allen has been effective with his legs, rushing for 3,087 yards with 38 rushing touchdowns over the course of his five seasons in the NFL. He often invites contact at the end of plays, gaining more yards rather than sliding.
It has not come to hurt him yet, however. Though Allen was hampered by an elbow injury suffered in a November 6 loss to the New York Jets, it came while he was passing from the pocket, not rushing.
Allen Took Responsibility for Mistakes
Allen has been quick to place blame on himself when the Bills lose, and after the season said he needed to play better for first-year offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. While he didn’t address the risks he took while running the ball, Allen said he needed to take better care of the ball.
“I thought he did a really good job of putting us in positions to be successful,” Allen said. “I got to be better for him, and especially when he gives me some shot plays. I turned the ball over too many times this year. Didn’t really bite us all that much, only losing three games in the regular season. But there’s opportunities where it could have. And just taking a deep dive into that and understanding defenses as well as I can and just trying to make the right play moving forward.”
Allen had 13 fumbles and 14 interceptions this season, including some that doomed the Bills. His overtime interception against the Minnesota Vikings sealed the loss for the Bills, and he had another two fumbles and two interceptions in the loss to the Jets.