As the Bills season concluded over the weekend, the team began the process of looking back on everything they overcame this year as well as how to improve.
One of the challenges to their offense in 2022 was an ulnar collateral ligament injury to the right elbow of quarterback Josh Allen’s throwing arm.
It happened on the last offensive drive during an uncharacteristic Week 9 loss to the Jets in New Jersey that added insult to injury.
The condition required him to alter his mechanics, and it wasn’t until two weeks ago according to the QB that he was able to get back to his usual throwing motion.
The good news is that there appears to be no plans at this time for offseason procedures or surgeries, as the QB said Monday that “rest and recovery is gonna be really good for it”.
He expounded further when asked about the impact the injury had following the Bills second-round playoff exit this weekend in a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I mean, there was a period, obviously, right after for a few weeks, where it was pretty bothersome, but again, it didn’t affect me all that much,” Allen said. “Just kind of felt like maybe I was trying to throw it a little differently mechanically, had to change a few things and got away a little bit from how I’m used to throwing the ball. That’s just kind of a byproduct of that. But again, it didn’t affect me too much.”
While he did not miss playing time following the Jets game due to the banged-up elbow, he was listed on the Bills injury report for the remainder of the regular season, and it wasn’t until the teams’ two postseason contests that the QB to feel more like himself passing.
“I think, really, two weeks ago is when I kind of felt like I got back to mechanically what I like,” Allen said when asked later about the specific impact of adjusting his mechanics. “Again, being the rotational thrower, it’s very kind of elbow prevalent, and maybe I got a little bit to more of a linear-type deal ’cause I just couldn’t really use all that much force and kind of flicking it out there, but, again, just adapting.”
On one hand, it’s good news to hear no operations or surgery may be required and that the injury can be rested and rehabilitated.
On the other hand, Allen’s answering the question as to whether it affected his performance during the season or not may have raised other questions about why the team didn’t advance and about the offense.
Among those questions might be playcalling by way of first-year offensive coordinator and former QB coach Ken Dorsey along with this year’s QB coach Joe Brady, as well as the performance and depth of the offensive line.
Dorsey has a tough act to follow in former Bills OC turned Giants head coach Brian Daboll, and raised eyebrows more than he turned heads in his first full season in the new role. Allen appeared to look downfield for knockout punch big plays instead of going to open receivers for shorter yardage.
While head coach Sean McDermott thew support behind Dorsey this week noting there is a ‘first-year’ curve for anyone, including the OC, Allen also mentioned in his press conference he doesn’t question the plays Dorsey calls.
Given some of those plays and overall game plans, but especially their results, the front office and coaching staff will need to give a close examination in assessing that shit in the offense. When interviewing for the position prior to the season, the Bills brass notably looked at receivers coaches, before going with Dorsey.
Similarly, GM Brandon Beane may keep with last offseason’s mission statement of always looking to improve their trenches.
Allen’s injury occurred on a play in which…when a Jets defensive lineman got the best of backup right tackle David Queensberry who was filling in for starting tackle Spencer Brown. The O-Line has been scrutinized at times in recent years for their protection of Allen as well as opening things up for the Bills run game.
The team will now turn focus toward a pivotal offseason during which players will look to get healthy and the front office will look to improve their franchise both on and off the field.
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