The Buffalo Bills have made some significant investments in their backup quarterback position in the last few years, bringing on longtime starter Mitch Trubisky in 2021 and trading for veteran Case Keenum before the start of last season.
But this year’s investment, former Carolina Panthers starter Kyle Allen, may not be working out as they had hoped. The presumed backup to Pro Bowl quarterback Josh Allen has struggled in training camp and the team’s scrimmage, this coming after he earned a rating as one of the league’s worst backup quarterbacks.
Backup QB Falters Under Spotlight
The Bills had a chance to replicate some real game conditions in their August 4 intrasquad scrimmage, which was held at Highmark Stadium in front of more than 30,000 fans. Kyle Allen’s performance under the bright lights did not inspire much confidence, wrote Ryan Talbot of NYup.com.
Talbot wrote that Kyle Allen’s performance left some doubt as to whether he had what it takes to serve as the primary backup to Josh Allen.
“Kyle Allen struggled mightily at Highmark Stadium on Friday night and much of it had to do with botched snap,” Talbot wrote. “He had around four mishandled snaps at Friday’s scrimmage and wasn’t particularly sharp passing the ball. He had one nice touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield, but the play had been whistled and stopped by the official in the backfield. Kyle Allen seemed like a fine No. 2 quarterback option at the time of his signing, but he has left much to be desired.”
Kyle Allen has plenty of experience as an NFL starter, taking over for the injured Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers in 2019 and winning four straight games. Allen ended the year with a 5-7 record in 12 starts, throwing for 3,322 yards with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Allen started two games for the Houston Texans last season, throwing for 416 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Bills do not have much competition for Kyle Allen, with veteran Matt Barkley the only other quarterback on the roster. The Bills have kept Barkley on the practice squad, where he is expected to return this year.
Pundits Low on Bills Backup
Allen is not as highly regarded as the previous two backups for the Bills, with Sports Illustrated putting him near the bottom of its power rankings of backup quarterbacks going into this season. The outlet put Allen in the No. 27 overall spot, noting that he has only spotty success in the NFL.
“Allen is another experienced veteran quarterback with some success in the league,” SI wrote. “He’s best remembered for his four consecutive wins with the Panthers while filling in for the injured Cam Newton in 2019. But Allen, who has 19 career starts, ended that season on a six-game losing streak.”
The Bills have been fortunate enough not to need much work out of their backup quarterbacks. Aside from a stretch during his rookie season when he was out with an elbow injury, Josh Allen has not missed any games due to injury and has mostly only sat on the bench in late-game blowout situations. Neither Trubisky nor Keenum saw significant time in either of their seasons as backups.