Buffalo Bills: McDermott admits Josh Allen will determine team success

Sean McDermott and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Sean McDermott and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

During an appearance with Adam Schein of Mad Dog Sports Radio, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott acknowledged Josh Allen’s play will determine how successful the team is.

Pending the successful outcome of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buffalo Bills are in an excellent position ahead of the 2020 season. There is a sense of optimism not felt around Western New York for a long time when it comes to the football team.

This optimism is justified, when considering the Bills are projected to have one of the best defenses in the league. Last season they ranked second in points given up and third-best in yards allowed.

The team has made the playoffs in two of the three previous campaigns and last year had a solid ground game, which ranked eighth in the NFL. To top it all off, Bills-killer Tom Brady has left the New England Patriots and opened the door for Buffalo’s first AFC East division title since 1995.

However, no matter how well stacked the team is as a whole, the key to any success rests firmly on the shoulders of Josh Allen. Now more than ever, the quarterback is the most important player on any roster.

Admittedly with a bias towards football in the 1980s and 1990s, in some respects it seems ridiculous for so much pressure to be placed on the quarterback. (And we appreciate the position is easily the most well-paid, while the NFL has continually made the rules and the league as a whole more passer-friendly.)

Allen is only entering his third year in the NFL and second as the full-time starter. There are plenty of examples of superstar quarterbacks who struggled early on, with Hall of Famers John Elway and Troy Aikman being prime exhibits.

Elway did not win a playoff game until his fourth season, while Aikman had a 14-24 starting record during his first three years in the league. We can also bring Peyton Manning into the equation, who had a .500 record during his first four seasons and did not win a playoff game until his sixth year.

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Now, we’re not going to proclaim just yet that Allen will end up with the same type of success as Elway, Aikman and Manning, who combined for seven Super Bowl wins. We’re just making the point that critics and fans alike must show some patience with him.

At the same time, however, we still appreciate the 2018 seventh overall draft pick has a vital part to play in the Bills’ chances of success. This is something that head coach Sean McDermott also acknowledged, during an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio with Adam Schein:

"“Year two he made significant strides … this is a four-year process with most quarterbacks to where they have a full grasp of the system; have a full grasp of the NFL and defenses and the different looks and what have you. So really, we’re looking for Josh to round out his game on the field.“Certainly there is again areas from year one to two that he improved in and now year two to year three, we’re looking for him to make another jump. And then off the field with the leadership component that is so valuable at the quarterback position, to me so necessary. It’s the most important position on the team and the most important position on the field.”"

In fairness to McDermott, who is probably loathe to put too much pressure on his young quarterback, he also made a point of complimenting Allen’s work ethic. He said:

"“The thing I love about Josh the most is that he always works at being a great teammate first. I think when you do that, usually that sets you up for success in other areas as well.”"

Allen is a polarizing figure when it comes to fans and media analysts alike. For every person who predicts he is the long-term answer in Buffalo, there is someone who claims he just isn’t good enough.

Regardless of your opinion, even the 23-year-old will admit he has the team in place to help him succeed, as well as a head coach who believes in him. Now it’s up to him to go out on the field and prove he has what it takes to be the best quarterback in Buffalo since Jim Kelly.

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What kind of production are you predicting from Allen whenever the 2020 NFL season begins? More generally speaking, how successful do you believe the Buffalo Bills will be? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.