I wouldn't include accuracy in that list solely because accuracy is a sum of multiple parts - field vision, arm strength, anticipation and mechanics are all variables that contribute to accuracy. That's the issue I have with people who cling so hard to the "ACCURACY IS THE ONLY IMPORTANT QUALITY" argument.
Take three guys with the same college stats and let them throw at 25 stationary targets on a football field. They all three hit the same number of targets. One guy, however, is a QB with better anticipation. One guy is a QB with better field vision. And the third guy is a QB with better arm strength. Which one is the "more accurate" one?
If a QB is labeled as inaccurate, I want to know why. Does he not see the field? Does he not anticipate windows? Does he not have the arm strength to get the ball there?
In Allen's case, his inaccuracy stems from four main causes IMO:
- and his decision-making.
I'll start with this because it's the lowest hanging fruit. The top three players in receptions graduated after the 2016 season, giving Allen an entirely new stable of pass-catchers. This isn't an excuse so much as it's just context. He was still a 56% passer before they left, and its not like they dropped an inordinate amount of balls in 2017 either. Quite the contrary. But it's still a variable nonetheless, as he was throwing to freshmen and sophomores. Further, both of his starting tackles were freshmen in 2017 and that line was...well, it wasn't very good. Not an excuse, but context.
I'll move to footwork because it's a quick one. The good news (IMO) is that footwork is probably the easiest mechanical issue to fix. It's not like fixing a wonky delivery. It's not like changing a release point. It's not like shortening a windup. This should yield a small positive return in overall accuracy as it will enable him to help deliver the ball to the place he's actually intending for it to go.
The bad news is that decision-making in itself is like accuracy, there's a wealth of variables involved. To some extent, this can be improved with time and comfortability, but I mean...he'll never be a 65% passer. The kid will always be Favre-esque in his mentality.
It's not a cop-out to say that Allen wasn't helped by his playcalling or the scheme in which he was in. I think it's been said that just by adding one more screen pass per game, it would have bumped his completion percentage up to 59%. I haven't seen passing breakdowns in terms of playcall types, but I'd venture a guess that Wyoming's offense had fewer of those high-percentage passing plays than some of the others. I can only recall a few off hand. Then again, if my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle.
But it does go to show that there's at least some stock to be put into the whole "he wasn't set up for success" narrative. His numbers will naturally be lower than those of his contemporaries just due to this fact alone.
This article is a good look at the philosophy of what kind of program Bohl is attempting to build Wyoming into, which is slightly reflective of the offensive philosophy Vigen brings. It's a tough, hard-nosed, more traditional-style offense that's rooted in WCO philosophies and brings in a little of the Tom Osbornesque power run, I-form. Vigen's general philosophy is a controlled passing game and a methodical, 10-15 play drive that eats up clock and kills the defense over time.
In all honesty, the Wyoming offense and Josh Allen theoretically don't make for a good fit. Allen isn't a great anticipatory thrower. He's not terrible, but it's certainly not one of his top skills. IMO Allen skillset would likely be better utilized in a slightly more downfield passing attack with heavy integration of RPO's - a la the Philly philosophy as of late (I know it's en vogue to emulate the most recent SB winner.)
I don't think Allen is inherently inaccurate. I also don't think he'll ever be extremely accurate. I also don't think that's a problem.
Cam Newton is not an accurate NFL QB. To be frank, he wasn't an accurate NCAA QB either, he was a big play QB on an stacked team running a Malzahn hurry up offense that people hadn't caught on to yet. Cam Newton has found a way to succeed despite his career 58% percentage by being a large, athletically gifted, strong armed big football boy who makes big football boy plays from time to time.
That's Allen's career, in my opinion.
Also, I didn't answer your question - but I would go:
- Field Vision
- Pocket Presence/ Escapability
- Arm Strength