A popular theory that's been making its way through the NFL since the end of last season is that Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen may come back to earth after his other-wordly performance in 2020.
After all, last year was his first taste of real success after an uneven first two seasons; the stadiums will be packed with fans this fall, increasing the pressure; expectations have been ratcheted up after the Bills reached the AFC Championship Game; and not everyone is cut out to complete 69% of their passes while throwing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns and rushing for 421 more yards and eight TDs every season.
But there has been mounting evidence since the offseason kicked off with free agency that Allen will trump his 2020 performance.
Here are the reasons:
The players and coaches the Bills added or were able to keep, including offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, almost certainly make his arsenal better and comfort him with continuity.
Yes, they lost veteran receiver John Brown. But they replaced him with even more accomplished veteran Emmanuel Sanders.
Fellow receiver Stefon Diggs, who led the league in receptions and yards last year, was playing his first season with Allen. Their rapport only figures to improve after a full offseason together.
Gabriel Davis as a rookie last season averaged 17.1 yards on 35 receptions, with seven going for touchdowns. He's an ascending star.
The same may be able to be said about Isaiah McKenzie, who figures to have more of a role this season if he secures the returner job.
They were able to keep their young offensive line intact and continue to grow a position group in which cohesion is more important than any other.
Running back Devin Singletary came back in the best shape, mentally and physically, of his life, knowing that a healthy Zack Moss is right there waiting to take his place and free-agent addition Matt Breida will be a force too. That should make the running game better than last year.
Though tight end remains arguably their weakest position, they added Jacob Hollister in free agency and have been nothing but pleased with the work of Dawson Knox to become a more consistent player, which he has shown signs off all summer.
The COVID-19 pandemic kept teams from assembling for any offseason camps in 2020, which also was marked by the cancellation of the entire preseason slate.
Despite all those limitations, Allen kept going with the team's plan to alter his mechanics and came out the other end better than ever.
Again, this was despite working with a pair of receivers who had just arrived.
This doesn't guarantee he won't regress, but it increases the chances that he'll be better, and his performance in Saturday's preseason finale against Green Bay revealed a confident quarterback who can make all the throws, scramble for important yards when he has to and make great decisions under duress, like when the pocket is collapsing.
Allen is 6-5, 240. He was clocked during one scramble on Saturday at 19.4 miles per hour, making him essentially a tight end with sprinter's speed when he does pull down the ball.
He's the ultimate weapon.
And he's just 25 years old.
The Bills are counting on an improved pass rush and improved resistance versus the run this year from a unit that underperformed for the first time since McDermott arrived to take over the team in 2017.
A better defense in 2021 will make life that much better for Allen and the offense by giving the unit more opportunities and better starting field position.
With all this going for him, it would be more surprising if Allen takes a step back this year rather than making another leap.