Patriots

Why Josh Allen plans to go sleeveless in frigid Patriots-Bills game

The temperature for Saturday night's game is expected to be close to zero degrees.

Josh Allen won't have long sleeves under his jersey for Saturday's game. The Associated Press

Bills quarterback Josh Allen raised concerns over his blood circulation in frigid temperatures earlier in the week ahead of Saturday’s playoff matchup against the Patriots.

Despite that, Allen won’t be all bundled up Saturday evening. Allen told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that he’ll play without sleeves under his jersey when the Bills take on the Patriots.

“He said he will go with just layers under the jersey,” Russini tweeted Saturday morning. “He told me sleeves aren’t good for ball protection, the ball can slip out easier when he’s running.”

If Allen plans to go without sleeves for that reason, it could be a tell on how the Bills plan to utilize him in the run game. Allen has seen his rushing attempts go up in recent weeks. After running the ball six times in the Week 13 loss to the Patriots, Allen ran the ball at least 10 or more times in three of the Bills’ final five games of the season. Among those performances were a 104-yard day against the Buccaneers and a 64-yard day in a win over the Patriots.

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One of Allen’s strengths as a quarterback is his ability to scramble, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters Thursday that he believes most of Allen’s runs are by design.

“If you miss him and he gets loose, that’s going to be a big problem,” Belichick said on stopping Allen. “You just can’t stand there and watch him throw. That’s not the answer, but being undisciplined and just running around back there, letting him run, that’s not the answer either. He’s a hard guy to defend. We’ll have to try to balance just what you said: aggressive rush with vision and an element of containment on him.”

Even though Allen said going sleeveless will help him as a ball carrier, it’s still a bit surprising considering the comments he made about playing in frigid temps earlier in the week.

“It’ll be a challenge,” Allen said. “It’s not fun getting hit in the cold. It’s not fun catching hard passes in the cold. Getting off the ground gets more exhausting throughout the course of the game. I think it’s more of a mental barrier than it is a physical barrier if anything. But again, we’ve got to do our best and not let the elements limit in what we do.”

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“I think the most important thing for me is that I’ve got bad circulation in my feet,” Allen added. “My toes get really cold and they go numb a little bit – just keeping those suckers as warm and as dry as possible, as well as the hands obviously is a big emphasis for a quarterback. You need your hands to throw.”

As for what Patriots quarterback Mac Jones will do, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that the rookie discussed with backup Brian Hoyer on if he should wear a scuba suit like Tom Brady did during his several years with the Patriots. Jones appeared to wear a scuba suit in the Week 13 matchup between the Patriots and Bills.

The latest forecast for Saturday’s game expects the temperature to be close to zero degrees and the wind chill to drop to -15 degrees.

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