The Buffalo Bills continue OTAs this week and ahead of Tuesday’s practice, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll addressed the media for the first time of this portion of the offseason. As expected, most of the questions he answered in his press conference were about quarterback Josh Allen, who has high expectations heading into his second season.
Daboll explained that after having one full season under his belt, he is now adjusted to many of the little things that make life difficult for a rookie, such as finding meeting rooms and learning their way around the city. He believes that Allen has embraced his role as the franchise quarterback heading into the 2019 NFL season.
“From Year 1 to Year 2 for any player, is huge,” Daboll said. “Usually you make a big jump because there’s so many unknowns when you come here. You can talk to these young rookies who are going through rookie meetings and they don’t know their way around to a Tim Horton’s or short cuts to the stadium. All the little things you take for granted, it’s all new to those guys.”
Daboll, who is also entering his second year with the Bills, went on to discuss how Josh Allen has extended his hand out to the new players, both rookies and free agent additions to help build camaraderie among the offense and take ownership of the team.
“You’re playing a pretty difficult position, both physically and mentally and you’ve got so many things going through your head. Josh is understanding of what we try to do here, and it’s his input too. We’ve got a lot of give and take, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him coaching him. He’s grown mentally, physically, off the field, on the field as a leader,” Daboll added. “He’s been really helpful for all the new guys. Whether it’s the rookies, the guys we signed. Trying to build relationships with them and trying to grow off the field as well as on the field.”
One year ago, Allen entered OTAs as a bright-eyed rookie that had to prove himself. He split reps with the second and third-team offense before earning snaps with the ones. Now, the Wyoming product is the unquestioned starter and because of that, the offense has an opportunity to gel a lot quicker and develop more consistency than they were able to prior to the 2018 season.
“Last year, Josh was taking reps with the threes a bunch, then some of the twos and ones. To build camaraderie and consistency particularly in the passing game, you’d like to have him throw to the guys he’s going to be throwing to as many times as he can. I think having him out there is very helpful because he’s going with the ones. Some of the guys he’s throwing to like Smoke (John Brown) and Zay (Jones) will be very helpful because those are the guys he’s going to be working with throughout the summer.”
Daboll believes that the confidence gained by Allen allows him to embrace a leadership role in his second season, but noted that every individual leads a different way.
“It’s the nature of playing that position,” said Daboll when asked about Allen’s leadership going into 2019. “Going out there and competing at a high level. Josh is going to lead how Josh is going to lead. I don’t think you can take any cookie cutter example of leadership and say ‘this is the way you have to lead.’ Josh is a good leader, and I think you can ask the guys. They respect his work ethic, his ability, his command in the huddle and we’ve just got to keep growing that and building that with him but he’s done a good job.”
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Daboll has been around quality quarterbacks and spent the last several seasons watching Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, so he understands just what it means to be a franchise player. He explained that the way Allen conducts himself, not just to his teammates, but to every member of the organization, speaks volumes.
“His preparation habits, even how he is around the building. With all facets of the building – from the training staff to the cafeteria workers, to the weight room to the equipment guys. It’s not just the players, he is the face of our franchise,” Daboll added. “There’s a lot that goes with that particularly when you’re a young guy and picked as high as he was. His mindset is to get better everyday and he’s got good leadership. He’s a good guy to work with, we’re happy to have him.”
Josh Allen completed just 52.8-percent of his passes for 2,074 yards, throwing 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as a rookie last year. But now, with an upgraded supporting cast, the bar has been raised for the former No. 7 overall draft pick. He’s done all the right things as a teammate early in the offseason, from welcoming free agents and rookies, but now it’s time for the 23-year old to show that he has, indeed, progressed as Buffalo dives into on-field work.