On the first day the entire team met together at One Bills Drive, quarterback Josh Allen and safety Jordan Poyer met with the media to explain their thoughts on the new protocols in place, expectations for the season and more.
1. Why Josh Allen is opting in and wants to deliver hope
This season, all NFL players have a tough decision to make surrounding COVID-19. The decision is whether to opt in or opt out. Star Lotulelei and E.J. Gaines are two Bills players who have chosen to opt out of the season. Quarterback Josh Allen explained there’s no hard feelings for those who choose to opt out, and they will continue to support those who aren’t with the team during the season. Allen chose to play this season because of his passion for the game and the feeling it brings to fans.
“My reason I’m opting into play is one, I love this game,” Allen said. “Two, I think it’s a great opportunity to give this nation hope and allow them to see us go out there and do what we do. We know that Sunday is a very special day in the lives of lots of people around the world, a lot of fans around the world. One, it’s our jobs, and two, it’s my passion to play this game. There are obviously some things that we’re sacrificing and risking our health and whatnot to do this, but at the same time we want to play football. We’re built and wired as football players, and we want to play. So we’re going to do everything necessary that we can off the field to ensure that we do have the season.”
Allen explained the players have agreed upon a team-first mentality this season. He is confident that his teammates will do the right thing off the field and out of the facility in order to stay safe.
2. Competition in a year with no OTAs or preseason games
Without minicamps, OTAs and preseason games, the team is searching for ways to replicate competition and valuable lost reps. Allen said it’s tough getting started slowly by going through walkthroughs because he wants to create competition by going full speed and getting timing down with his receivers. The quarterback explained even though there are less reps, he doesn’t feel like there’s added pressure.
“I’m taking every rep as game-like as possible, making sure that I’m going through my reads correctly,” Allen explained. “In OTAs if I make a mistake and I throw something here or there, it’s not that big of a deal. But here I’m treating it like it means a lot to me because it does. I have to continue to keep doing that. I’m very hard on myself, I’m a very harsh critic on myself. I think that’s going to help me during this time span where I’m going to feel like I’m getting better because I’m doing things the right way, making the right decisions, trusting my guys to make some plays.”
Allen shared what his home setup looks like—a film room where he can watch endless amounts of film to make up for lost reps with mental reps.
3. Year 3 improvements
We’ve all heard it — this team can only go as far as Josh Allen takes it. Seems like a lot of pressure on one person, but Allen knows the areas he needs to improve in and the pressure isn’t too much. The quarterback said he made progress in this offseason by focusing on a few things in California that he will continue to work on at One Bills Drive.
“Personally I want to be better at taking care of football,” Allen said. “Making better decisions, especially on the early downs and not putting ourselves in situations where it’s third-and-long. I know that we had a lot of success in third-and-long last year, but it’s not a great way to make a living. So early down success, finding the open receiver down low, finding my back more when I need it and stop trying to force balls down field.”
Allen said getting to go up against a high level defense every day will make the entire offense better by Week 1.