Sean McDermott on Josh Allen’s arm strength: All I care about is accuracy

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Bills quarterback Josh Allen has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, but coach Sean McDermott says arm strength is not the key to Allen becoming a franchise quarterback.

McDermott joked on NFL Network that Allen could throw the ball 100 yards, but what McDermott needs from Allen is accuracy more than throwing the ball deep downfield.

“All I care about really is that he throws the ball accurately,” McDermott said, via the Buffalo News. “There’s a debate out there about the strength of his arm and the debate with Patrick Mahomes, a great quarterback in and of itself. The key right now is for Josh to grow in our offense and the thing about it is he has that growth mindset. He loves to learn, loves to grow, loves to compete.”

Accuracy was not Allen’s strong suit last season, as he completed just 52.8 percent of his passes, well below the league average of 64.9 percent. The Bills were dead last in the NFL in team completion percentage in 2018. McDermott wants that to change in 2019.

60 responses to “Sean McDermott on Josh Allen’s arm strength: All I care about is accuracy

  1. “The first is accuracy, which is talked about often but still never enough. It wouldn’t matter how high Brady’s football IQ were if he couldn’t put the ball where he wants. Have you ever seen a QB sail a ball over a receiver’s head and heard someone say, “Great read!”? Or could you imagine a team getting whipped into a frenzy before a game if they knew the leader banging the lockers and yelling “Let’s Go!” was sure to dropback and drive a half-dozen throws into the dirt that day? Nothing a quarterback does before or during a play matters if that play ends with an incomplete pass.”
    -Andy Benoit on great quarterback traits

  2. Well, you should have scouted him better, because he and Jackson in Baltimore don’t have it and it’s clear Drew Lock lacks it in Denver.

    You kinda need it.

  3. It would be interesting to know the Bills’ rationale for drafting Allen. Troy Aikman and some other QBs believe that accuracy is not something that can be significantly improved. It seems to be true, can’t think of a QB who was not accurate coming out of college and then became accurate in the NFL.

  4. Tim Tebow technically had a cannnon. But he had goofy mechanics. Teams spent years trying to teach him accuracy. Ryan Mallett had a cannon. Teams spent years trying to teach him how to read a defense and make him accurate.

    I’m asking PFT nation, has there ever been a strong armed QB that was taught how to be accurate? I mean Rich Gannon certainly comes to mind as a late bloomer but he was more of a great athlete that needed opportunity. KC messed up with Gannon and let him flourish in Oakland.

  5. LOL @ all these people, who have NEVER EVER seen him play, already writing him off. Yeah, one year tells the whole story.

    He will be in the Pro Bowl next year. Its coming

  6. Generally speaking, a QB’s accuracy almost never gets better moving from college to pro. Josh wasn’t accurate in college at 56.2%. I’m not sure this is going to end well for him, as a franchise QB. However, because of his arm strength, he will get unlimited chances because some OC will always think he can “fix” him.

  7. McDermott knows full well that Allen isn’t accurate and accuracy can’t be coached up. He also knows full well that everyone knew this about Allen long before draft day.

    Therefore, McDermott either just took a deliberate shot at the QB and the GM, or he said this without really thinking it through.

    Either way, its’ a surprising breach of the say nothing coach-speak rules most coaches follow.

  8. Look at all the guys who lasted into their late 30s and beyond: Brady, Manning, Rivers, Big Ben, Brees. Out of this group, maybe only Ben was known for having a strong arm.

    Quarterbacks are like golfers. Driving the ball 300+ yards is awesome, but means absolutely nothing without accuracy or consistency. Both games are 90% mental. That’s why I get a kick out of analysts falling in love with the big armed but inaccurate QBs in the pre-draft process. I’ll take the pocket passer any day.

  9. Somewhere, Jeff George is smiling. He’s not sure why, he just is.

    ######################

    Not sure of your point. George did not have an accuracy problem.

    He just took too many sacks.

  10. 2018 Rookie QB comp %
    Mayfield 63.8%
    Jackson .58.2%
    Darnold .57.7%
    Rosen …55.2%
    Allen …52.8%

  11. A single number does not tell the whole story. For example, quarterbacks with strong arms often put a lot of velocity into the short passes. Those passes may hit their target but the receivers may not catch them as often as softer passes thrown by the average quarterback.

  12. factschecker says:
    August 2, 2019 at 11:03 am
    Tim Tebow technically had a cannnon. But he had goofy mechanics. Teams spent years trying to teach him accuracy. Ryan Mallett had a cannon. Teams spent years trying to teach him how to read a defense and make him accurate.

    I’m asking PFT nation, has there ever been a strong armed QB that was taught how to be accurate? I mean Rich Gannon certainly comes to mind as a late bloomer but he was more of a great athlete that needed opportunity. KC messed up with Gannon and let him flourish in Oakland.
    ________________________________________________

    Peyton Manning was a 56.7% shooter his rookie year and didn’t really settle into his career percentage until year 6. Matthew Stafford was a 50-60% thrower until his 6th year and he’s been mid 60’s since. Cam Newton went from a high 50’s to 67% last year. Everyone in Carolina is hoping to see that trend continue. But yes, players can become more accurate with time. It’s not the norm, but it does happen.

  13. factschecker says:
    August 2, 2019 at 11:03 am
    ##########################
    You know…. For someone with a moniker like yours you seem curiously unaware of “facts”

    Tebow did Not have a huge arm.. He was known more for running. And he played in the NFL for really about one season. So, not “years” for anyone trying to fix his mechanics. Gannon did not either. On every team he played for he excelled most at underneath and intermediate passes. Which he perfected in Oakland.

    Favre and Marino are probably the best examples of strong arms that were also accurate.

    You could throw Elway in there too.

  14. Another 1st round QB bust, drafted because some moron GM and coach thought they could fix his accuracy issues. They maybe could gain a few percentage points on footwork, but timing, release and aim is usually a natural talent unless they started throwing around 4 or 5 years old and still need some talent at that age.

  15. 2ruefan says:
    —–
    Sorry if I did not convey that to you better.
    I accurately gave examples of broken QB’s that coaches thought they could fix in an article about a broken QB that needs to be fixed. One of those examples (Gannon) was successful. I can not think of any others.

    Farve nor Marino (nor Bledsoe) needed to be fixed. That is why I didn’t mention them. I only mentioned projects that coaches thought could be fixed. Flip this QB edition.

  16. I’m asking PFT nation, has there ever been a strong armed QB that was taught how to be accurate? I mean Rich Gannon certainly comes to mind as a late bloomer but he was more of a great athlete that needed opportunity. KC messed up with Gannon and let him flourish in Oakland.
    =====================================

    Gannon threw a lot of short passes to the TE as a Raider. I am not a fan of the Raiders or Gannon when Gannon was playing. He did not impress me with a strong arm when I did see him play on occasion. If a quarterback is not accurate then he probably won’t be drafted into the NFL, no matter how strong his arm is. Quarterbacks like Steve Grogan and Terry Bradshaw had strong throwing arms, and their completion percentage is similar to Allen’s at around 52%. Even John Elway, another strong armed quarterback, only completed 56% of his throws for his career. When a quarterback throws a lot of long passes, he is not going to complete a lot of them. Weak armed quarterbacks like Joe Montana and Ken Stabler don’t even attempt many long passes. That may be the reason they have high completion percentages.

  17. Anyone who watched Allen last year knows that the Bills awful receiving corps were probably responsible, due to dropped passes, for at least 10%-15% points coming off Allen’s completion percentage…

  18. factschecker says:
    August 2, 2019 at 11:03 am

    I’m asking PFT nation, has there ever been a strong armed QB that was taught how to be accurate? I mean Rich Gannon certainly comes to mind as a late bloomer but he was more of a great athlete that needed opportunity. KC messed up with Gannon and let him flourish in Oakland.

    Brett Favre comes to mind.

  19. theprocess12 says:

    …. Troy Aikman and some other QBs believe that accuracy is not something that can be significantly improved. It seems to be true, can’t think of a QB who was not accurate coming out of college and then became accurate in the NFL.
    _________________________________________
    Yet Troy Aikman completed 52.9% of his passes in his rookie year and ended up with a career completion percentage of 61.5%. I’ll take things that were never said by Troy Aikman for $1000 Alex.

  20. He needed to sit for a year or two. He was a project coming in and his supporting cast was awful.

  21. Well I’m a Troy Ailman fan, but he must have forgotten about his own 52.9 rookie completion percentage. So far all you youngsters, accuracy can improve greatly. Troy turned out alright I guess. 😁

  22. I am not a fan of the Raiders or Gannon when Gannon was playing. He did not impress me with a strong arm when I did see him play on occasion.
    ——-
    Gannon was the 2002 NFL MVP. He was a 2 time first team All Pro. 4 time Pro Bowler. 2 time AFC Offensive player of the year.

    Forgive me if I’m AM impressed by that. I would call that a success. Especially for a guy that my team (Pats) drafted and tried to turn him into a RB.

  23. There are some good suggestions. But I think it’s only fair to mention the game was different in the 80’s and 90’s. Completion % has gone up dramatically since the 2004 “emphasis” rule change. So I expect to see a lot of the stars to be in the high 50’s to low 60’s in the especially in the 80’s and into the 90’s.

    Back then the slot only came out on 3rd down. Now days the slot is on the field on first down and there is a 3rd down back.

  24. Brett Favre comes to mind.
    ———
    Farve completed 64.1% of his passes the first year he was a starter in 1992. Not a project.

  25. Aikman rookie yr: record 0-11, 52.9% completion, 1749 yds, 9 TD’s 18 Int’s, sacked 19X
    Allen rookie yr:record 5-6, 52.8% completion, 2074 yds, 10 TD’s 12 Int’s, sacked 28X

  26. 2018 Rookie QB comp %
    Mayfield 63.8%
    Jackson .58.2%
    Darnold .57.7%
    Rosen …55.2%
    Allen …52.8%

    +++++++++++++++

    Well Baker had the king of the 3yd catch on his team in Jarvis Landry. In the end none of what they did last year matters. None of it. Bills got some actual NFL receivers and an actual NFL O line this year.. we shall see if his percentage improves

  27. I would give Josh this year as a good evaluation. One thing he showed last year was alot of grit, but this year with some receivers that won’t drop ever other ball and can separate, along with an O-line that doesn’t have the pocket collapse every other play, you will get a better idea of his future in the league.

    It is a big year for the kid.

  28. 1989 Aikman rookie yr: record 0-11, 52.9% completion, 1749 yds, 9 TD’s 18 Int’s, sacked 19X
    2018 Allen rookie yr:record 5-6, 52.8% completion, 2074 yds, 10 TD’s 12 Int’s, sacked 28X

    1989 football was a different brand of football.

  29. Let’s face it, coaches love projects. They love the idea of “fixing” a player. Coaches are innately teachers. It’s in their DNA. Some might mean well but, oftentimes, it’s an ego thing.

  30. Give the kid a chance had no O Line and the worst receiver corp last year, with the addition of some experienced slot receivers this number goes up or at least hope so

  31. Completion percentage is the most overrated stat in sports. I look at yards per attempt and per completion. At 6.5 ypa ain’t bad, and 12.2 yards per completion tells you he is indeed completing passes down the field… if he maintains that for a career, it will be the THIRD HIGHEST OF ALL TIME. By anyone. Fact.

  32. Josh Allen also was throwing 50 yard bombs every couple plays, nothing wrong with going for the big play sometimes, he did connect on a few. Allen is working on reining that in a bit and just taking the easy throws this whole offseason. He showed he is capable of this, as he was very efficient when he shredded the Dolphins defense week 17 last year, 65% completion rate 3 tds and rushed for almost 100 yards and another 2 tds.

  33. 1989 Aikman rookie yr: record 0-11, 52.9% completion, 1749 yds, 9 TD’s 18 Int’s, sacked 19X
    2018 Allen rookie yr:record 5-6, 52.8% completion, 2074 yds, 10 TD’s 12 Int’s, sacked 28X

    1989 football was a different brand of football.

    +++++++++++++++

    Yeah but the Bills offense around the rookie QB was of the 1989 variety!

  34. Take a college QB with questionable accuracy, put him behind a lousy O-line, and have him throw to a lousy receiving corp. Not exactly a recipe for stellar accuracy.

  35. Fact is both matter. I agree accuracy is more important, but part of that is because almost all NFL qbs have the arm strength to at least be successful. Without the arm strength, teams crowd the box and make life real difficult. See Chad Penningtons career.

  36. Cam Newtown’s completion % has gone up because of him throwing ton of passes to McCaffrey behind or close to the line of scrimmage. Josh Allen’s playing style is comparable to Cam Newtown’s. Looks like Beans and McDermott want to use the Panthers’ blue print.

    A running QB like Cam can comfortably pick up 2-3 yards when it is 3rd short and move the chains. But when it is 3rd and long you need an accurate QB. The Dolphins completed less than 3 attempts when it was 3rd and 10+ yards in 2018; Brady had 3 completions of 3rd and 10 in one drive in AFCCG.

  37. how many times did this guy bounce a pass of of Kelvin Benjamin’s chest of off of Zay Jones hands. Please.. it is all relative to who you have protecting you and catching the ball.

  38. theprocess12 says:
    August 2, 2019 at 10:58 am
    It would be interesting to know the Bills’ rationale for drafting Allen. Troy Aikman and some other QBs believe that accuracy is not something that can be significantly improved. It seems to be true, can’t think of a QB who was not accurate coming out of college and then became accurate in the NFL.
    ______________________________

    Brett Favre.

  39. Accuracy is often contributed to foot placement. It was discussed At length how he has worked on it. If it becomes natural for him it will assist in helping him become more accurate. Good thing for the Bills is that he wants to be good and is willing to put the effort In.

  40. 5decadesnfl says:
    August 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    Cam Newton was 58% for his first 7 years in the league and 67.9% last year. Don’t tell me these guys can’t become more accurate.
    ___________________________________________

    You know that’s called an anomaly don’t you? And it’s called an anomaly for a reason!

  41. I don’t want to judge Allen too soon. He just finished his rookie season so I would give him at least three seasons to prove himself and if he can’t improve then that’s what he is.

    Completion percentage can be misleading. Sometimes smart quarterbacks would tease out the defense and make some simple throws and get a feel of it before throwing a bomb on the third down. What good is 100% completion by making 3 yards per attempt and can’t move the stick. I believe third down conversion is when quarterbacks really earn their money. Yards per at completion is a clearer picture and I much rather see how many first downs they can make. Smart QBs are also about ball location by allowing the receivers to run after the catch. Nothing matters if you can’t move the chain.

  42. On average a QBs completion percentage drops by at least 3 to 5% for his first 4-5yrs in the NFL and then it very seldem raises to higher(less than 2% of QBs) than they had in college so even if he raises it it’ll probably never go above the 56% it was in college.

    This is from a study that was done over the last 40yrs and the stats of QBs in college compared to the NFL. I know a lot of people claim that Allen’s comp. % would raise in the NFL due to better receivers but what they’re failing to figure in is that the defenders are a hell of a lot better in the NFL than they were in college and the throwing windows go from 3-5yds in college to a yard or less in the NFL so really its a wash and as they say you are what your stats say you are, the stats don’t lie.

  43. Did someone actually say that Tebow had a cannon for an arm? LOL, did you never watch him play? He was a soft thrower and had even worse accuracy.

    Also, Rich Gannon never had a strong arm either. He was a finesse guy. What improved when he went to the Raiders was his decision making and making throws quicker on timing patterns. I don’t remember him throwing bombs down the field or throwing ropes cross field. His accuracy was never great though.

  44. As a Jets fan I’m looking forward to the class of 2019 who will flourish or take a step back. And please forgive me didnt a story come out earlier this year that the Buffalo really want Sam darnold but the jets moved up a month earlier and they were ticked off that they did

  45. Allen was running for his life last year and had no one to throw to. The guys he did throw to had tremendous difficulty actually catching the ball.

    Anyone who watched the games knows he wasn’t this wildly inaccurate QB he is often portrayed as.

    They did a great job in the offseason building a line and getting a decent receiver corps together. Both he and the Bills will surprise many people this year. I think they can legit challenge for the division.

  46. 2018 Rookie QB comp %
    Mayfield 63.8%
    Jackson .58.2%
    Darnold .57.7%
    Rosen …55.2%
    Allen …52.8%
    *****************************************
    This says it all, why they picked Allen is beyond reason but hey, that’s Buffalo for you.

  47. Allen Improved his short pass Accruacy toward the end of the season, The Results were 67% Comp and proved both that he can do it, and that it works.
    I love how the guy thinks hes the best on the field, its gotta be hard to trust the players around you when youve had scrubs your entire football career. Allen has only scratched the surface.

  48. He will be in the Pro Bowl next year. Its coming

    _____

    Is marijuana legal in NY already?

  49. Anyone who watched Allen last year knows that the Bills awful receiving corps were probably responsible, due to dropped passes, for at least 10%-15% points coming off Allen’s completion percentage…

    ____

    He threw 320 times. Bills receivers for the whole season dropped 16 passes, Allen played 11 games, so not all the drops were with him at QB.

    At least 10-15% would have meant they dropped 32-48 of ALLENS passes in 11 games…..so like 3-4 a game. That didnt happen.

  50. They talk about Allen’s accuracy issues as if they just showed up. What, now after all this talk about a “strong arm” and athleticism, now it’s the accuracy that matters more than those?

    Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!

    In the meantime, anyone else out there think that Allen and his prior coaches have also tried to work on his “accuracy issues?” I mean seriously, this isn’t something that has just sprung up, leading to the asking of the obvious question, if Allen hasnt’ been able to correct his accuracy issues by now, then what’s the hope that he’ll do it now, in the most difficult arena in the league.

    There are underlying reasons why he has accuracy issues, few if any of which are typically correctable, much less while in the NFL.

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