Wood: Josh Allen Learning Not To Play “Hero Ball”

Josh Allen enters his third season hoping to lead the Buffalo Bills to their first division title since 1995

Tiki and Tierney
August 18, 2020 - 7:37 am

After completing 52.8 percent of his passes for 2,074 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie, Josh Allen’s numbers spiked across the board last season. He completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,089 yards and 20 touchdowns, leading the Buffalo Bills (10-6) to the playoffs.

If Allen can take another step forward in 2020, the Bills could win a division title for the first time since 1995.

“One of the things that Josh Allen self-admittedly had to grow out of was when he played at Wyoming, a lot of times he had to do everything himself,” former Bills Pro Bowl center Eric Wood said on Tiki & Tierney. “He was trying to play what they dubbed as hero ball. He’s trying to make a play at the very last second instead of throwing the ball out of bounds. A lot of NFL coaches will tell you that any drive that ends in a kick is fine. But he’ll throw back across his body, maybe make a bad interception that has cost the Bills at times. He’ll learn to eliminate those as he grows up.”

Better decisions as a passer would complement Allen's rushing prowess. The seventh overall pick in 2018, Allen is already one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the league. Last year, he ran for 510 yards and a quarterback-high nine touchdowns and hasn’t been shy about fighting for extra yards.

“He’s a hyper-competitive kid,” Wood said. “A lot of times he’s putting his body on the line, which has gained him the respect of people around the league, the respect of his teammates, media members – everybody. But as quarterbacks get older, it’s more and more important for them to learn to be a true pocket passer to elongate their career. Josh made great strides throwing the football from year one to year two.”

To that end, the Bills added wide receiver Stefon Diggs this offseason. Over the last three seasons, Diggs has 229 catches for 3,000 receiving yards and 23 receiving touchdowns – fifth-most in the NFL during that stretch.

“To add another receiver in Stefon Diggs that can flat-out separate – now you have three guys in John Brown, Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs that can really separate at receiver,” Wood said. “I look for those completion percentage numbers to even go up further. What I love about Josh is his quarterback rating goes up in the fourth quarter, it goes up on third down, he led the league in fourth-quarter comebacks last year – he’s a gamer, he’s a winner, and he’s a competitor.”