Josh Allen wary of ‘taking too many hits’ as Cam Newton parallels become impossible to ignore

Josh Allen looked all the way as the MVP candidate at the Week 1 trotting of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

The Buffalo Bills quarterback put his hands on the perfect performance in a 297-yard, three-touchdown attempt, which also featured an All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey had no answer, Accuracy that has become a hallmark of his development as an NFL quarterback, manifested in an 83.9% (26 out of 31) completion rate. A franchise record for regular season games,

When Rams took the deep ball, he did not force it. when they didn’t, he paid them, And when did he run? well good luck.

He runs and eight-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner’s Josh Allen is the epitome of experience. His traditional quarterback skills – arm strength, accuracy, field command – make him special. Add to that his physical presence as a ball carrier, and he makes the short list of elite NFL talent.

That style of play is also the biggest source of unease in Buffalo. Allen led the Bills on Thursday with 10 carries for 56 yards, including a 4-yard score. There were more than one occasion in which he was seen looking for contact. In doing so, he repeatedly exposed himself to corporal punishment, which raises short- and long-term concerns about his health.

Josh Allen took some punishment during Thursday’s season opener against the Rams. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Can Allen stay healthy with his playing style?

The short-term concerns are clear. The Bills entered the season as the Super Bowl betting favorite. Nothing has changed that situation since week 1. Buffalo have a strong defense, a respected head coach in Sean McDermott and a talented core of playmakers featuring Stephen Diggs, Gabe Davis, and Dawson Knox.

But don’t make any mistake. Allen is Reason No. 1 for Buffalo’s status as a Super Bowl favorite. If he suffers a significant injury during the season, Case Keenum will take over as quarterback, and Buffalo’s championship dreams will all be dashed.

is aware of Alan’s concerns. His physicality has been a special part of his game ever since he joined the NFL in 2018. He addressed them on Wednesday after expressing renewed concern to primetime audiences on Wednesday.

“I think I can be better in that aspect,” Allen told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. “But given the circumstances of what it was, understanding the flow of the game, I sometimes do things that are necessary in my eyes to help our team win a football game. That’s all.

“But at the end of the day, availability is potential at best. So, just understanding it — and getting down and not taking too many hits, obviously it’s year to year.”

Allen’s “year-over-year” acceptance addresses long-term concerns. Even though he’s relatively healthy this season and with a Super Bowl ring in hand, the cumulative effect of the bumps he endures is bound to take a toll. Look no further than Cam Newton.

Injuries eventually took their toll on Cam Newton

Newton joined the Carolina Panthers in 2011 as a rookie with a similar profile to Allen. Allen stands 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds with a hand cannon and running skills. Newton stands 6-5 and 245 pounds. He likewise joined the league with hand cannon and running skills.

Newton exceeded the expectations that came with his No. 1 draft-pick status as his phenomenal skills resulted in Rookie of the Year honors. His 706 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground alone would have put him in contention for the award.

In his first five seasons, he ran the ball more than 100 times per year with a range of 585 to 741 yards. At his best in 2015, he was the league MVP who led his team to the Super Bowl. He was a Pro Bowl-level quarterback and Carolina’s best running back all wrapped up in a single package.

January 7, 2018;  New Orleans, LA, USA;  Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is examined after being faced by the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter in an NFC wild card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook - USA TODAY SPORTS

Cam Newton’s physical style of play eventually took a toll on his body. (Chuck Cook/Reuters)

But it was not sustainable. got hurt. A year after his MVP campaign and his sixth season in the NFL, his performances showed signs of decline in 2016. In 2019, he admitted that he has played through shoulder issues since that 2016 season, a time that saw his downfield accuracy decline. It was not just his shoulder. Similarly, foot injuries, walking shoes, concussions and ankle surgery were also done.

In 2017, unidentified team officials expressed concern that his body was crumbling. In 2020, team owner David Tepper spoke out loud when asked about Newton’s future with the franchise. His response: “Is he healthy?”

He was not. Newton played only two games last season, and the Panthers eventually released the best player in franchise history after nine seasons at Charlotte. Newton took over for Tom Brady in New England in an eight-touchdown, 10-interception passing campaign that fell before returning to Carolina for a nostalgia tour in 2021 as an injury replacement for Sam Darnold. One week into the 2022 campaign, Newton is not on the NFL roster.

This is the fate that Bill Allen wants to avoid. In his first four seasons, Allen averaged 105.5 carries and 581 rushing yards per year. Most of them end with a carry hit. This is in addition to the 118 sacks and additional quarterback hits he has endured. So far, he has been relatively unfinished, as did Newton in his first five seasons.

Does Newton’s career path mean that Allen’s will follow the same path? Not at all But the similarities are impossible to ignore. Meanwhile Allen’s physical on-field heroism continues to attract deserving praise and celebration.

There is no easy answer as Allen’s game continues to produce wins and highlights. But it is worthwhile finding the proper balance for both Alan and Bill.

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