Josh Allen has a lot of low-hanging fruit to grab in his quest for better accuracy in the NFL.
Allen completed an NFL-low 10.1 passes per game within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage in 2018.
The league average for the 32 starting quarterbacks was 16.5 completions per game on "short passes," within 10 yards of the line, according to an analysis of data from Pro Football Focus.
Allen also had the lowest completion percentage on short passes. The Bills rookie completed 75 percent of his throws within 10 yards of the line, which isn’t quite as good as it sounds.
The league average for starting QBs was 81 percent.
There are many reasons the Bills' short passing game was poor in 2018. And there's no doubt Allen has plenty of improvement to make in his accuracy.
But in theory, it's not hard to imagine Allen's accuracy improving by some degree simply by taking more "easy" completions. Six completions a game, in fact, should be there for the taking, because that's what the average starting QB is getting.
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll acknowledged at the end of the season that Allen needs to hit his checkdowns better.
“People are playing Josh a little bit different than they play some other people, whether it’s a deeper safety, the corners bailing off,” the Bills’ offensive coordinator said. “I think we can help ourselves, too, by taking what they give us on some of those verticals.”
The Bills did not try to be a horizontal, possession-passing offense for most of 2018. That’s not necessarily best suited to a rookie quarterback. Allen’s big arm is a deep-passing threat to the defense, and the emergence of Robert Foster helped the deep passing game improve the second half of the season.