Texans’ Tremon Smith on Bills’ Josh Allen: 'Have to be real sticky’

Josh Allen stands tall in the pocket while sliding back and forth, buying time for him to connect with his downfield targets.

Signed to a six-year, $258 million contract extension, the Buffalo Bills’ start quarterback presents a major challenge for any defense, including the Texans in what shapes up as an extremely difficult road matchup Sunday.

Defending Allen, named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after passing for four touchdowns and rushing for another last week, may represent the toughest test yet for the 1-2 Texans’ overhauled defense.

At 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, Allen is a big, strong, athletic quarterback who has passed for 807 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception for a 95.5 passer rating. A year ago, he passed for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushed for 421 yards and eight scores.

Allen has plenty of options to throw to, including: Cole Beasley (23 catches for 194 yards on 30 targets), Stefon Diggs (19 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown on 31 targets), Emmanuel Sanders (11 catches for 194 yards and two scores on 20 targets) and tight end Dawson Knox (10 catches for 107 yards and two scores).

Washington Football Team v Buffalo Bills

Photo: Getty Images

“He has a great arm,” Texans cornerback Tremon Smith said. “ He can make pretty much any throw on the field. So, we have to be real sticky this week. Just looking forward to the matchups we got with Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs and all of them.

“They have a great quarterback-receiver duo. They’re real explosive. They are just really good on the offensive side in general.”

Texans coach David Culley was Allen’s position coach in 2018 after the Bills drafted Allen seventh overall out of Wyoming. During that season, Allen went 5-6 in 11 starts, dealt with an elbow injury and passed for 10 touchdowns and a dozen interceptions.

Now, Allen has emerged as a Pro Bowl selection who has passed for 10,514 yards and 74 touchdowns.

“He’s become one of the top quarterbacks in this league,” Culley said. “I know when I had him as a rookie, he has everything that you want, and I’m not surprised that he’s where he’s at right now. He’s a heck of a player, has all the things you want. There’s not a throw he can’t make. He’s very athletic, he’s a big kid, strong kid that can run. He’s the total package.”

The Texans are coming off a 24-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers and had some issues defending quarterback Sam Darnold and wide receiver D.J. Moore.

They were shorthanded in the secondary against Carolina with safety Justin Reid (sprained knee) and cornerback Terrance Mitchell (concussion) sidelined. Smith started opposite Vernon Hargreaves at corner.

Reid may return this week. Mitchell remains in the concussion protocol.

“Yes, I just always stay prepared on the sidelines,” Smith said. “Even the previous games before, I tried to find my rhythm there, but of course being out there is way different. As the game went on I felt more comfortable.

“We are going to stick to what we have been doing these past weeks and just getting better at what we’ve been doing. We just know we beat ourselves with a couple mistakes in critical times in the game. So, we are just going on each other and be where we are supposed to be and trust our teammates.”

Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.

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