Allen has rallied the Bills around him and turned one of the league’s longest-suffering franchises into a legitimate Super Bowl threat. Unfortunately for the fourth-year quarterback, one of his teammates offered him an extremely backhanded compliment which went under the radar.
Emmanuel Sanders provided a curious take about Josh Allen
Allen is not Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, and we don’t mean that as an insult. He’s a dual-threat quarterback capable of beating teams with his arm or his legs. Teams don’t gameplan for him the way they did — or still do, in Brady’s case — against the two NFL legends.
Fox Sports recently spoke with Bills receiver Emmanuel Sanders ahead of a Week 2 matchup with the Miami Dolphins and asked him to comment on four quarterbacks he’s played with, one of whom is Allen. The other three? Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers veteran Ben Roethlisberger, and New Orleans Saints legend Drew Brees.
While Roethlisberger is easily the most mobile of those other three, you don’t exactly hear many people comparing Allen with the two-time Super Bowl champion in terms of their ability to run an option play. Sanders praised Roethlisberger for his “strong and big arm” and called Manning a “coach on the field.” There’s no arguments there. He then referred to Brees as a “warrior,” which, again, is hard to dispute given how the Super Bowl 44 MVP battled through injuries.
Then came time for the two-time Pro Bowler to share his thoughts on Allen. Sanders described his current teammate as the “most athletic” and someone who has a “huge heart,” which feels a lot like the NFL version of hailing someone with a C grade in math as someone who “tries hard.”
Sanders’ comments speak volumes, especially compared with how other NFL players view Allen
Objectively, Sanders didn’t say anything incorrect about Allen, who is considerably more athletic than the other three quarterbacks on that list. Did you ever see Brees taking a quarterback draw 25 yards up the sideline?
It’s the “huge heart” part of Sanders’ comments which really stick out, especially upon reflection. There are significant positive correlations regarding Manning being a “coach” and Brees earning praise for his “warrior” traits. Those terms speak volumes about the quarterbacks’ leadership abilities and the respect they commanded on the field and in the locker room.
Then, there’s Allen and his “huge heart.” What does that even mean? The praise for Allen as the “most athletic” would have been fine enough, although let’s not pretend he has a noodle arm. In fact, his arm strength has received rave reviews dating back to his time in college.
When Allen ranked 10th overall on the NFL’s Top 100 list earlier this year, New England Patriots special teams star Matthew Slater praised his growth as a passer. Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins described Allen as an “alpha male.” Neither referenced a “huge heart.”
In fairness to Sanders, he may have expanded on those thoughts, and it didn’t make the broadcast graphic. If that’s the case, that falls on him to address it and make things right.
Allen’s athleticism and heart still put the Bills in a position to make a deep playoff run yet again
Officially, the Buffalo Bills belong to the Pegula family. For 60 in-game minutes and three-plus hours per week, Allen takes control and guides his team on the field.
Allen might never have the number of passing touchdowns that Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes throws each year. He probably won’t total as many 1,000-rushing yard seasons as Baltimore Ravens standout Lamar Jackson already has, and that’s fine. The Bills paid their quarterback the big bucks because he’s a dynamic dual-threat who has put his team in a position to rule the AFC East.
So no, Allen isn’t yet a “warrior” the Brees was, and he hasn’t yet grown into the on-field coaching role Manning mastered. He’s his own quarterback, and it’s worked wonders for the Bills thus far. The franchise treasures him for who he is now and who he’ll grow into, not how he compares to some of the greatest players in league history.
If Sanders wants to retire with a second Super Bowl ring, we advise him to either get with the program or clarify what he meant. The sooner, the better.