One of the most highly anticipated season openers in Los Angeles Rams history is officially this week.
In three days, the Rams begin the 2022 season as the ones defending the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And their first gauntlet inside the “Rams House?” An aspiring Super Bowl contender from the east coast in the Buffalo Bills.
Star power won’t just be inside SoFi Stadium in the form of NFL legends or celebrities who are likely to help fill the crystallized venue. This game also lures Rams Super Bowl hero Von Miller back to Inglewood but this time as a member of “Bills Mafia.” Aaron Donald already spoke with Heavy about that angle.
But there’s another eagerly hyped field battle that will occur between the goal lines: The Bills’ $258 million franchise quarterback Josh Allen lining up against the Rams’ prized defensive addition from free agency in Bobby Wagner.
And the $50 million inside linebacker already gave a detailed description of what to expect from Allen.
Wagner Describes Physical Side of Allen
Wagner verbally illustrated a physical, imposing challenge the Rams will soon face via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue on Sunday, September 4. One telling description “B Wagz” had for the former top 10 draft pick Allen: He’s not the kind of quarterback who avoids getting hit.
“He’s not looking to go out of bounds, he’s not looking to shy away from contact,” Wagner said per Rodrigue.
It’s an element that Wagner actually likes from Allen.
“As a defender, you appreciate it (respect it),” Wagner said. “You just understand that when he’s out of the pocket, you gotta treat him like a RB.”
But then Wagner gave this other compelling feature Allen comes with — one that involves how he reacts to hits.
Allen Strong in the Pocket With This Trait
Wagner then shared with Rodrigue that Allen doesn’t always hang onto the football once he draws contact.
The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time All-Pro said that even once Allen absorbs contact, he still has the arm to get the football to where it needs to be.
“It’s one thing when the QB runs, it’s another thing when they design the runs for him because he’s that good at it. That’s the thing you gotta be conscious of — they have a lot of misdirection stuff; you think it’s going to the running back (or) the receiver and really it’s for him,” Wagner said. “You watch, toward the end of the season, when it was a critical moment they put the ball in his hand whether it was throwing the ball, getting a first down or even on fourth down. It’s just being conscious, never losing sight — he will run the ball if he has to.”
So far, Allen has given Bills fans and the NFL a small sample of what is projected to be a Most Valuable Player caliber year for him.
And in threading the needle here during the Bills’ preseason contest with the Carolina Panthers.
The 32-year-old Wagner will have his fourth career meeting versus the Bills. He’s 2-1 overall versus Buffalo, but Allen and Buffalo claimed the last contest over Wagner on November 8, 2020 in the 44-34 shootout win when Wagner was still a Seattle Seahawk. While Wagner produced six tackles and became one of five ‘Hawk defenders getting a sack of Allen (Seattle had an astonishing seven total that day), Allen still threw for 415 yards and three touchdown passes in that win.