Daboll: Allen 'grinding' on and off the field

August 23, 2018

While Josh Allen will get his chance to start a professional football game Sunday when the Buffalo Bills face the Cincinnati Bengals at New Era Field, his offensive coordinator said he’s impressed with how hard he’s worked - and continues to - through the first month of his career.

“I think for any young player, you come into a new system and you learn how the coaches want things done and then you as a coach, you drill it,” Brian Daboll said Thursday. “You drill it pre-practice, you drill it during practice, and there’s different techniques for each position that everybody wants to work on. He’s been grinding like those other two guys (Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron) of working on pre-snap stuff. It starts pre-snap; everything with the quarterback starts pre-snap. Setting the table before any play is even run. Making sure you call the play properly, making sure the receivers are lined up, making sure we’re good on the play clock. Moving into the whole mechanic issue, after the ball snap, it goes into reads. Who are you looking at, the footwork, our movement in the pocket, our ability to reset [and] keep our shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, keep our eyes down field, know when to run. These are things we work on every day.”

Head coach Sean McDermott announced Monday that Allen would start the third preseason game, which is typically considered a dress rehearsal for teams the regular season. McDermott made it clear the competition is still ongoing and no starter has been decided on yet, but wants the rookie to get used to the routine of being the starter for an entire week.

Daboll echoed those sentiments.

“He’s still learning,” Daboll said. “He’s still learning and this was a really good week for everyone, myself included, coaches included, to really hone in on the routine, more than plays or anything like that. This is a week for him and he’s going to prepare like he’s the starter, go through the routine, figure out how coach McDermott handles Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays. Same goes for me being new, of learning how we do things here, the practice reps that we get, the time in between scout team where we can go work on some other things. It’s a good experience in terms of the routine for him and myself and all the new guys around here.”

So what’s Daboll looking for not only Sunday, but in the overall evaluation of Allen?

“Improvement from Week 2” he said, referring to the team’s second preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. In that contest, Allen completed 9-of-13 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. The team scored points on al three drives he was the quarterback. “There’s some things that we did well [and] there’s some things we can improve on top down from all of us,” Daboll said about that game. “Again, making sure we’re in the huddle, making sure we control the clock, making sure we do the pre-snap stuff before the things start. That’s just as important as after you see a play and moving in the pocket and throwing. If we don’t do those things properly, usually the play doesn’t have a chance to be successful. He’s working really hard; it’s no different than any of the other days. He’s out there grinding, doing good in the meetings, on top of his reads and in the film. That’s what we expect from all of them.

“The job of a quarterback is to make good decisions [and] lead your team down and score points. That’s the philosophy that I grew up underneath; that’s the job of a quarterback. If the best play is to throw the football away, the best is to throw it if there’s a certain coverage, [that’s what he should do]. His job is to get in the huddle, command it, move the football down the field, make good decisions, and score points.”

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