Quarterbacks are the headliners of the NFL.
Like it or not, their performance tends to dictate how a team will do.
This is not to say the other facets of the game are not important.
They are, but the burden tends to lie with the quarterback.
More pressure comes to the quarterback who is coming off a great season.
Here are two signal-callers coming off successful seasons who are poised for regression in 2021.
1. Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen was flying under the radar in 2018 and 2019; he showed some improvements as the Buffalo Bills were building around him.
He had an outstanding 2020 statistically, and it is going to be hard for him to top it.
However, Allen is a very hard worker, and he has the support of his head coach Sean McDermott.
“I think he answered quite a few of the questions that were out there about him maybe from outside this building, specifically about his play. And I know that the comforting piece to me about Josh is he’s going to go back to work. He’s an extremely driven young man with a bright future and he’s done a great job leading our team this season in particular.”
In spite of all that, regression is a possibility given the monster numbers Allen posted in 2020.
Since 2000 there has been 18 QB @NFL MVP seasons, their Avg Stats:
66.9 Cmp %
4589.3 Tot Yds
40.3 Tot TDs
108.9 Passer Rating
— Hansel (@UberHansen) May 17, 2021
The Bills have a lot of 2020 playoff teams on the schedule including an opening game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
They also see both Super Bowl teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts.
These will be good tests for Allen in 2021; stopping him will be a bigger focus.
Exposing one of his select few weaknesses, holding the ball 3.04 seconds after the snap (third longest in NFL in 2020), could be the key to success for opposing defenses.
Shutting down the Allen-Stefon Diggs connection that thrived in 2020 could also thwart Allen’s performance.
Allen’s fourth season will be very interesting; he will either have peaked in 2020 or will further exceed everyone’s expectations in 2021.
2. Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals
To begin with, Joe Burrow is coming off of a significant injury.
He is young so presumably healing is a quicker process.
When he was on the field (he missed five games), his stats were good.
Two touchdowns + 312 passing yards.
— NFL (@NFL) September 30, 2020
He completed 264 out of 404 passes for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Burrow only threw five interceptions.
While the Bengals gave Burrow his former teammate (LSU wide receiver) Ja’Marr Chase as a security blanket with their first-round draft pick, they really needed to address the offensive line to help Burrow also.
Coach Zac Taylor talked about the priority of getting a quality offensive line in March before free agency began.
“If we’re going to go where we need to go as an offense, then we need five pieces [offensive linemen] in place that can play together, develop that chemistry with one another. That’s an area we have to solidify this offseason.”
They drafted two offensive linemen, Jackson Carman from Clemson with the No. 46 overall pick and D’Ante Smith from East Carolina with the No. 139 overall pick.
The Bengals did make a noteworthy free agent signing with offensive linemen Riley Reiff from Minnesota.
All of that could help Burrow; however, he comes in with greater expectations than last year and may not deliver.