Four Lessons From the Final Four, Volume I: Packers & Bills

| January 18th, 2021


“It’s All About the Quarterback”


How good do you think Allen Lazard would be on other teams? Robert Tonyan? Marquez Valdes-Scantling? The answer is simple. They’d be irrelevant.

How many teams could lose their starting left tackle – a star at the position – and not miss a beat? The answer is simple. Not many.

Fans of teams that don’t have a quarterback whine about the offensive line. Fans of teams that don’t have a quarterback criticize the front office for a lack of playmakers on the outside.

Fans of teams with quarterbacks, great quarterbacks, don’t get the opportunity to complain about those issues because the quarterback covers them. The quarterback reads the defense, gets into the right protections, and gets the ball out fast when necessary. The quarterback makes the weapons outside better by getting them the football whenever a mismatch presents itself.

The Packers lucked into Aaron Rodgers, and they were in the position to let him sit on the bench for three seasons and develop. This year, in drafting Jordan Love, they risked not being improved in 2020 because they know it’s more important to have a great quarterback when Rodgers is done (if that ever happens) than another solid piece in the secondary for this coming season.

It’s all about the quarterback.


“Be Patient”


Josh Allen was not only one of the least accurate passers in the league his first two seasons, he was one of the least accurate passers in the history of the league his first two seasons.

In 2018, he completed 52.8% of his passes. His passer rating for that season was 67.9.

In 2019, he completed 58.8% of his passes. His passer rating for that season was 85.3.

Now we can debate the viability or import of these numbers but they quite objectively show a quarterback improving, even if that improvement was from terrible to mildly bad. But can you imagine how Chicago sports radio would have sounded if the Bears quarterback had these two seasons?

Then came 2020. The Bills stayed patient. They also stayed aggressive, acquiring Stefon Diggs to give Allen a true number one option. Many teams would have floated the idea of adding a veteran presence to protect against Allen never reaching his expected potential. The Bills never considered it. They embraced Allen as their quarterback and their leader.

In 2020, he completed 69.2% of his passes. His passer rating for the season was 107.2. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

Patience, rewarded.

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