Josh allen struggles under pressure, needs patient team

As has been well documented, in the latest instance by Sean Payton in my Monday column, this is a potentially rich but certainly flawed group of quarterbacks in the first round this year. Let’s include Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph as well, because he could go late in the first round to a quarterback-needy team (New England? New Orleans? Jacksonville?) that could view Rudolph as too reliable to last far into round two.

It’s been reported far and wide that Josh Allen of Wyoming could be the first overall pick, to Cleveland. The Browns like him. With ex-Bill Tyrod Taylor in the house, they seem set on whoever they draft having 2018 as an NFL redshirt year, which is probably the smart way to go for a franchise that has rushed too many passers, from Tim Couch to DeShone Kizer, into action.

Allen, it would seem, would desperately need that redshirt year.

When NFL teams have scouted Allen, they’ve noticed how Allen seemed to be under pressure far more than any of the other five first-round candidates. And they’ve noticed how poorly he responded to that pressure. It’s not just the 56.3 career completion percentage that bothers teams; it’s how he has responded to pressure. And, as one official from a quarterback-needy team told me, how difficult it was to scout him because he had so many free rushers coming at him consistently.

Does a front-office employee dress in a microscopic costume? And do many of the people this front-office employee interacts with drink heavily during work? I am not blaming the victim. I am blaming the people who put a system in place that is fraught with potential problems, and not putting enough security around them or protections in place to avoid gross or illegal behavior.

I agree with your sentiment that cheerleaders do not make a difference in the experience for most fans. However, I do think they impact the experience of young girls. When I bring my daughter (age 6) to a Cleveland Cavaliers game, she always points out the cheerleaders and watches them intently. When we go to Browns games she also looks for the cheerleaders to no avail and is disappointed. (The Browns are one of the six NFL teams without cheerleaders.) Although cheerleaders may not impact the adult experience, they may help younger fans make a connection to the game. The NFL may need this connection moving forward, particularly for young women.​

I’m a big fan of your column and your writing. I am wondering about the teams who will need a quarterback in the next couple of years, but not necessarily in this draft (Giants, Broncos, etc.). Are they already looking at the QB crop in the 2019 or 2020 draft classes to help them decide whether to reach now, or trade up this year? If there’s an Andrew Luck on the horizon, or two Carson Wentzes coming up, might that help them decide to wait? I realize that there are lots of variables, but I’m wondering whether the quality of the next couple of classes is one of those variables.​

Thanks for highlighting a void that has stood out to me for several years—Mike Mayock not having an analyst job. My football-watching friends and I regularly banter about our favorite play-by-play guys and analysts. As a Chargers fan, I’m partial to Dan Fouts, but I know he’s not the best. Most of my friends and myself love Cris Collinsworth and the consensus is Tony Romo was so refreshing last season; but my favorite has always been the sampling we had of Mike Mayock from the Thursday night games a few seasons ago. It has always puzzled me that he doesn’t have a regular gig. Obviously, his draft insight is brilliant but someone needs to wake up and look at his tape. Mike Mayock is a top-shelf analyst.​

Thanks for writing, Rob. I love listening to Mayock talk about everything football. My favorite moments during the combine are the four-to-five-minute Mayock riffs about every team in the NFL, and where they stand and what they need and who they should be interested in from this draft. He’s just a great listen, and I wish he had an analyst’s gig.

I love football, but I find it hilarious to listen to coaches explain the value of playing football. There is nothing to be gained from playing football that can’t be gained from playing any other sport that is way safer. I gained all those things by serving in the U.S. Army. I am a Philadelphia sports fan and I think there are two shining examples of pro coaches who get it and are primed to be examples of the future of coaching, namely Doug Pederson and Brett Brown. They communicate and are both smart enough and secure with themselves enough to allow their players to be themselves. Coaches who are that my-way-or-the-highway type are dinosaurs.

This seems like two points. I agree with you about the value of football; it certainly is valuable, but you can also get the football lessons from other sports and other activities. I think the fear is that the elimination of football would mean that a percentage of those who play football might choose to play nothing else, and they wouldn’t get the lessons from sitting on the couch playing video games—not to mention that they wouldn’t get the exercise you get for four months (or more) per year preparing for football games. Regarding the coaches, I don’t know Brown, but I do know Pederson, and he is certainly the smart and empowering type. Players love playing for him. Thanks for your email.