The Buffalo Bills aren’t known for having top-level quarterbacks guiding the team on the gridiron. Other than Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, the Bills haven’t had a great crop of quarterbacks throughout their history. And when they drafted Josh Allen a couple of years ago, he wasn’t thought to be an exciting name to add to the list.
Allen’s first two seasons in the league seemed to back up that thought, but he has gotten off to a strong start in 2020 and was even in the conversation for MVP consideration a few weeks into the season. He has played so well, in fact, that before the Bills played the Raiders in Week 4, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden gave Allen a big compliment.
Josh Allen struggles early in the NFL
The Bills took Allen with the seventh pick in the 2018 draft, giving him the reins to the team during Week 1 and naming him the starter prior to Week 2. He missed a handful of games that year but finished his rookie campaign completing 52.8% of his passes for 2,074 yards and 10 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 12 games and 11 starts.
He started all 16 games last year and saw some improvement. His completion rate went up to 58.8%, and he threw for 3,089 yards but still had just 10 passing touchdowns while throwing nine interceptions. He played well in the ground game, too, scoring 17 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons in the league.
Josh Allen is breaking out in 2020
This season looks like it is going to be the breakout season for Allen, who is putting up big numbers in the first half of the season. Through seven games, he is completing 67.6% of his passes and has thrown for 2,018 yards and 16 touchdowns with four interceptions.
With those numbers, he is on pace to shatter his career highs by going over the 4,000-yard mark through the air and throwing for more than 30 touchdowns.
Prior to Week 7, when the Bills beat the New York Jets without scoring a touchdown, Allen had thrown for at least two touchdowns in each of his first six games — including back-to-back games with four passing touchdowns in Weeks 2 and 3.
Jon Gruden compared the young quarterback to John Elway
In the week leading up to a game, the media typically asks each head coach for their thoughts on opposing players in that week’s contest. That was the case in the days leading up to the Week 4 game between the Bills and Raiders.
Members of the media asked Gruden about Allen and, according to Bills Wire, the former Monday Night Football analyst gave the third-year quarterback some big praise after his strong performances in the first three weeks of the season.
Gruden said about Allen “he’s got a lot of John Elway playing style. He can scramble, he’s strong, he’s tough. He’s a big time player.” It’s a big deal anytime a coach compares a quarterback — particularly on another team — to Elway, a two-time Super Bowl champion and first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Is Josh Allen vs. John Elway a fair comparison to make?
While Gruden intended his Allen-Elway comparison to praise the 24-year-old Wyoming alum, it might not be a fair comparison for Allen. He is on a team that hasn’t had much success over the last three decades and is trying to turn that around.
He doesn’t need someone like Gruden to be comparing him to an all-time great like Elway, who had a 16-year Hall of Fame career when Allen is just 35 games into his career.
Saying Allen is a big-time player with a style similar to Elway’s is putting a lot of pressure on Allen when he still hasn’t entered the prime of his career.