There might not be a quarterback who brings a physicality to the position quite like Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, but that’s not without its drawbacks.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters at the NFL’s annual owners meetings on Monday that the Pro Bowler needs to adjust his style of play or face a risk of injury in the future:
“I don’t think that’s a healthy way to play quarterback in this league. It’s really undefeated that things are going to happen when you play that style, that brand of football, and so we’ve got to get that adjusted. It’s never going to go completely away, but it has to get to where it’s workable.
“I don’t want to take his personality away from him as far as it goes, his signature, but there needs to be an adjustment in that style of play.”
Allen, who signed a six-year, $258 million contract extension in 2021, has made liberal use of his 6-foot-5, 237-pound frame throughout his NFL career.
Since the Bills drafted him seventh overall in 2018, only Lamar Jackson has more rushing yards among quarterbacks than Allen’s 3,087, and the Wyoming product’s 38 rushing touchdowns beats every other quarterback by 12. With 5.7 yards per rush and 230 first downs 546 rushes, these haven’t been inefficient runs either.
So far, that physicality hasn’t hurt Allen much in the health department. Since his rookie year, Allen has played at least 16 games in every season, though he dealt with a nagging injury in his throwing elbow last season. That injury appeared to be sustained on a passing play.
This isn’t the first time a running quarterback has had his long-term health questioned, even by his own coach. Any running play can see a knee twist the wrong way or a torso take an impact it’s not supposed to handle. Even if the Bills massively cut down on their running plays for Allen, it’s hard for an athletic quarterback to resist ripping off a run when he sees an open field.
The good news for the Bills is that diminishing Allen’s running presence would still likely leave them with a good quarterback, as his arm has done plenty of work as well in his career.