Josh Allen’s scrambles are becoming one of the best weapons for the Bills offense.
There are general rules and guidelines for receivers during a scramble drill, but there’s one thing they can count on with Allen.
It never hurts to go deep.
“He wants that deep ball. That’s really what he’s looking for,” Isaiah McKenzie said. “That’s what I like about him. He’s always looking deep. If you go deep, you have a chance.”
“There aren’t many times you’re going to outrun his ball,” Deonte Thompson said. “So, just run and he can get it out there to you.”
Scramble drills don’t get practiced very often during the season, but the Bills can do some preparation.
“A lot of it is reactionary during the game, but you plan those things prior during the week of practice,” Zay Jones said. “Maybe you see something on film. Just getting together with Josh and, ‘Ok, if this happens, I need you here’.”
Most of the scramble drill rules are based on which side of the field the QB runs. The receivers on the same side of the field as the scramble should try to go high and low. The ones on the far side usually want to move laterally and get into the quarterback’s field of vision.
As Allen proved on the final play in Miami, he might run to both sides multiple times on the same play. The Bills can almost throw those rules out.
“It’s really just playing football. It’s really just get open now,” Thompson said. “Once you break the pocket get open, get separation. Do whatever it takes.”
“It’s pretty fun,” McKenzie said. “The fact that he can come here and do that in the NFL. It makes everything a little bit easier.”
Unlike receivers, offensive linemen don’t have the luxury to turn around and see if Allen leaves the pocket.
It leaves them only one thing to do.
“Just block forever,” Dion Dawkins said. “Just block forever until that whistle blows.”
“You just gotta block for him (as if he’s) sitting in the middle of the pocket,” center Ryan Groy. “From there, you gotta read where the D-linemen are running. Their eyes are gonna take you to where the ball is.”
Traditional quarterbacks usually require three seconds of pass protection to get a pass off. With Allen, it can sometimes be twice as long.
“That’s your job. Block for five to seven seconds, which is an eternity against these defensive linemen, but that’s your job,” Wyatt Teller said. “He definitely makes you do your job.”
Teller joked that linemen try to block until they see “the little number 17 running away.” In the heat and humidity of MIami, Teller said he sweated up a “storm” chasing after Allen’s scrambles.
Once Allen takes off, the offensive lineman’s job is not done.
“It’s definitely a desire to get downfield,” Dawkins said. “Anything could happen. He could fumble. Someone could chip him late and you got to be there to protect him.”
“At the end of the day, we don’t want him to run,” Groy said. “We like him to sit back there, but when he needs to make plays, he can make plays. He can bail the offense out.”
One of the other things that’s unique about Allen’s scrambling ability is his speed. His receivers are impressed.
“I think he might run a 4.3 (40 time),” Robert Foster joked. “I might have to race him one of these times.”
Keep in mind, Foster is probably the fastest guy on the team.
Allen probably won’t beat the rookie receiver in a race, but he’s been beating defensive linemen and linebackers like a drum the last two weeks.
That’s more than fast enough for the Bills.