Buffalo QB Josh Allen set to return vs. Jacksonville
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)
By MARK LUDWICZAK
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Coming off their best offensive performance of the season - and an extra week of rest - the Buffalo Bills have their starting quarterback back.
Josh Allen will make his return against the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach Sean McDermott said on Monday.
Allen was a full participant on the practice field as the Bills returned from the Week 11 bye with a shortened 45-minute session.
"I'm excited," Allen said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity."
Allen missed four games after suffering an elbow injury in Buffalo's Week 6 loss to the Houston Texans. The first-round pick returned to the practice field prior to the team's bye week, but did not play in Week 10 against the New York Jets.
The Bills have maintained that Allen, chosen seventh overall last spring, would return to the lineup when healthy - but that decision was not necessarily an easy one for the Bills.
Matt Barkley started for Buffalo against the Jets and provided the team with its best performance under center this season, throwing for 232 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 41-10 win.
"You look at everything," McDermott said. "That's part of my job, my responsibility is to do that. (General manager) Brandon (Beane) and I spoke about it. We certainly were impressed with the way Matt handled things, but at the end of the day Josh is our starter and we're excited to have him back."
Allen wore a black sleeve on his right arm at practice on Monday, which he said he could wear in games moving forward. He remained in Buffalo to rehabilitate his injury during the team's bye and felt the extra time off was significant in his recovery.
"The difference that I feel in the elbow right now compared to two weeks ago is a very big difference," Allen said. "I'm thankful that I was able to sit out for one more week. ... I'm making throws where I don't have to second-guess, putting the ball where it needs to be. And when I'm making the throws there's no grabbing or pulling in there and it feels fluid."
Allen's return is just the latest change for Buffalo's last-ranked passing attack. The Bills have made several moves in recent weeks with an emphasis on adding speed and youth at wide receiver, which paid off against the Jets.
Deonte Thompson was signed during the team's bye week. Thompson came out of nowhere to earn a significant role on offense last season, making 27 receptions for 430 yards and a touchdown. He signed with Dallas this offseason as a free agent and was released by the Cowboys on Nov. 9.
"Things weren't working out over there," Thompson said. "It's a great opportunity for me to come back here and get on the field and make some plays. ... Coming back here was a no-brainer for me."
Thompson's signing comes after a breakout performance by undrafted rookie Robert Foster. With three catches for 105 yards against the Jets, Foster became the first Bills receiver to top 100 yards in more than a year - since Thompson's 107 yards on Oct. 22, 2017.
"Brandon and I talked a couple weeks ago and we thought we were lacking in the speed department on offense so that's been an emphasis the last couple of weeks," McDermott said. "You saw some of that up against the Jets. That just opens things up a little bit."
The early returns on Allen have been mixed so far in Buffalo. The QB has shown flashes with his strong arm and mobility, but he has been largely inconsistent as a passer. In six games, Allen has thrown for 832 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.
"I've been saying it - I think we're close," Allen said. "We went out and we executed very well against a good Jets defense. ... That just speaks volumes to the guys that we have in this locker room."
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Updated November 19, 2018