Josh Allen is pretty much universally regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL at this point in his career. Through four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, he has a 39-21 record, going 1245-for-1999 for 14,114 yards with 103 touchdowns to 46 interceptions. He has thrown 73 touchdowns over the past two years, along with 14 of his 31 career rushing touchdowns.
In spite of the fact that he is younger and was drafted later, however, he was perhaps the best quarterback Mitchell Trubisky could sit behind, spending the 2021 season in a full-time backup role behind Allen for the first time in his career after signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Buffalo Bills.
Both quarterbacks loved their time together, and Allen and the Bills organization knew that there was no way they would be able to keep him around as a backup. They were right, of course, as he’s now the presumptive 2022 starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Allen talked to Jeremy Fowler a month ago about his one-time number two.
“The dude is an athlete. I don’t think people really understand that”, he told the ESPN reporter for an Insider article that ran on February 22, and which is now relevant to Steelers fans. “You give him leeway in an offense to have that mindset of, ‘See it, do it, we trust you.’ He’s going to kill it”.
Trubisky was thrust into a difficult situation, drafted into a bad team under a disappointing finish to head coach John Fox’s tenure, going 3-13 the year before he was drafted. They didn’t have the structure in place to maximize his abilities, though Matt Nagy’s hiring in his second season in 2018 improved things a bit.
During his three years under Nagy, Trubisky went 25-13 as a starter, and the Bears went to the postseason twice. He threw for 8,416 yards with 57 touchdowns to 30 interceptions, which certainly could be better, but is far from bad. He did this under constant criticism.
“Mitch has been through the ringer”, Allen told Fowler of Trubisky’s career up to this point. “No. 2 pick, how he handled being a professional, coming into a situation where you never thought you’ll be in that situation, that’s not easy. But he handled it with such class”.
Now he has a second shot at being ‘the guy’, and he brings a fresh perspective after getting to work with Allen and Bills head coach Sean McDermott and then-offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who wanted to pursue him now as head coach of the New York Giants.
“Going to Buffalo really opened my eyes”, he told Fowler. “After being in Chicago for four years, there was only one way I knew how to do things. [Being] in Buffalo and [having] a different way of doing things, you learn what’s possible. It helped me get back to instinctual football and using my talents rather than overthinking”.
His signing to Pittsburgh marks another regime change for him, but also adds another perspective for him to learn from. While he might not gain compelling insights from working alongside Mason Rudolph, he does figure to potentially fit well into Matt Canada’s offense—certainly better than a 39-year-old, arthritic, set-in-his-ways Ben Roethlisberger did last year, behind an offensive line that, let’s say, needed some work, and is now being worked upon.