Should the Bills start Josh Allen in Week 1?

Buffalo is a football town. These fans are loyal, and they have been waiting a long time for a quarterback to come in and take over the team. Not since the days of Jim Kelly have the Bills had consistency at the game’s most important position. Sure, they’ve had some good short-term fill ins, including Drew Bledsoe and Doug Flutie, among others. But all of these guys endured relatively short stints as Buffalo’s starting quarterbacks.

Fast forward to the summer of 2018. The Bills are in training camp and there is a renewed sense of excitement in the air. Yes, football it back, and that alone tends to bring fans a thrill, simply knowing that another offseason is nearing its end. But this year is different. This training camp is more than just a chance to maintain the optimism that comes with a clean slate and 0-0 record. This time it’s about a change in the culture of this franchise. A chance to join the upper echelon of a league that despite being known for parity, has seen anything but, with the long-standing dynasty of the division rival New England Patriots.

After selecting Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick in the draft, the Bills have an opportunity to rid themselves of a tenuous quarterback carousel that has hindered the team’s ability to get back to the Super Bowl. It’s important to make sure Allen is ready to roll before they prematurely insert him into the lineup, potentially setting him up for failure. We have all seen highly touted quarterback prospects fail, perhaps because they were asked to do too much, too soon. However, there have also been many quarterbacks who have thrived from day one. Each prospect needs to be treated on an individual basis. Some are obviously more ready than others.

In Josh Allen’s case, he was often criticized for his flaws coming out of college. More specifically, his footwork, poor accuracy, and questionable decision-making ability, all combine to produce a very talented yet raw rookie quarterback. Granted, it’s always possible that Allen is a fast learner, who has been able to correct many of his bad habits and mistakes during the offseason. But more time will likely produce even better results. 

Recent news coming out of Buffalo has indicated that the Bills have decided to let Allen take some reps with the first-team offense. It didn’t take long for the coaching staff to realize that they don’t have a solid option outside of the rookie. AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman are backup-level talents at best, yet they were initially both ahead of Allen on the team’s depth chart. 

Allen definitely has a lot of improvements to make in order to reach his true potential. But his talent alone makes him a much better choice than the Bills’ other two options at the position. Allen has the arm strength to make any throw on the field. It’s now up to his coaches to make sure he is set up for success.