Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll deserves a ton of credit for what he has done with quarterback Josh Allen, whose inaccuracy and general rawness were considered huge knocks against him when the Bills traded up to take him seventh overall in the 2018 NFL draft.
The light is shining brightly for Allen in Year 3. In addition to becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 4,500 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in a season, Allen — a “low key” MVP — has guided the Bills to the brink of the Super Bowl. They head to Kansas City this weekend to face the defending champion Chiefs in the AFC championship game.
And on this week’s edition of the original Yahoo Sports web series “Check the Tape,” I asked Daboll about an area where Allen has killed it this season — countering the blitz. In the video above, I used a few examples from the Bills’ 17-3 divisional round win over Baltimore to illustrate how.
Allen’s growth in this area cannot be understated. In 2019, his passer rating under pressure was 61.4 — 23rd in the league — according to Pro Football Focus. In 2018, it was a mere 47.4 — 36th in the league.
This season, Allen’s passer rating under pressure has skyrocketed to 81.3, good for ninth in the league. That’s no small sample size as only the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson has been pressured more than Allen this season, and only the Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert has thrown for more yards against pressure.
A lot of the reason for the improvement has to do with Allen’s commitment to getting better. He worked hard to clean up his mechanics, which have improved his accuracy. And he loves football, so I’m not surprised he got better.
However, the Bills have also supported Allen by getting him another big-time receiver in Stefon Diggs, who had a crazy season (127 catches). And Daboll, a long-time NFL assistant who got some head coach buzz during this cycle, also deserves credit for this. Daboll has been Allen’s offensive coordinator since he has been in the NFL and has crafted an offense with built-in receiver sight adjustments that allow for quick counters when pressure comes.
“Brian’s done a really good job,” Bills coach Sean McDermott told me. “He’s an important member of our staff and those two have an important relationship and a critical relationship and it’s a good relationship. They spend probably more time together than any player or coach in our building and that’s essential to the job that has to get done — they’ve got a great rapport.
“Brian has done a real nice job of helping Josh develop on the field and off the field and see the game the way a quarterback in his third year, that’s trending in that upper direction needs to see the game.”
We dig into all of that in the video, which I hope you check out. Daboll explains the general philosophy to countering the blitz with a special quarterback (something he noted the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is good at as well).
I also dive into how the Chiefs could generate pressure on Allen without blitzing, which could be a key to Sunday’s game.
The video will give you a better understanding of how the architect of one of the league’s best offenses — a man partly responsible for the rise of one of the game’s greatest young QBs — does it.
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