The Buffalo Bills will take the field for their first OTA (Offseason Training Activity) Monday. While pads and contact aren’t allowed, per the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, coaches get their first opportunity to explore different personnel packages and player groupings with their 2019 rosters. Buffalo underwent dramatic change during the offseason, signing a plethora of talented players in free agency and the NFL Draft, so the 10 OTAs will give the coaching staff their first crack at a roster that doesn’t look very similar to what they had just a season ago.
Here are the top five Bills storylines to follow throughout the next several weeks of Offseason Training Activities.
Is Josh Allen ready to make a leap in year two?
On the surface, Josh Allen’s production left a lot to be desired in his rookie season. The No. 7 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft completed just 52.8-percent of his passes for 2,074 passing yards (6.5 yards per attempt), throwing 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and adding 631 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground. But there is no denying Allen’s steady, game-by-game improvement. He capped off the 2018 season with a dominant 42-17 victory over the rival Miami Dolphins, in which he threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns, rushing for another 95 yards and two scores.
Last year, Allen was forced to make do with an uninspiring group of wide receivers, but after an offseason dedicated to improving the offense, expectations are high for the 22-year-old signal caller. It will be interesting to see which of the new pass-catchers Allen takes a liking to during the OTAs, after his connection with Robert Foster last year carried over into the second half of the season.
Is Tremaine Edmunds ready to lead the defense?
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds had a stellar season of his own, though the Bills’ second first-rounder from last year didn’t receive the hype of his draftmate, Josh Allen. Edmunds stepped up in a big way, sliding into the “MIKE” linebacker spot as a 20-year-old and excelled. The former Virginia Tech star tallied 121 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, 12 pass breakups, and two forced fumbles in 15 games. Edmunds is a reserved, no-nonsense individual who earned respect from his defensive teammates through his actions. But following Kyle Williams’s retirement after the 2018 season, Buffalo expects the 21-year-old to emerge as the leader.
Edmunds discussed his new role with the media prior to voluntary workouts, explaining that he leaned on Williams and fellow linebacker Lorenzo Alexander during his rookie campaign.
“You know it means a lot to me for these guys to trust me. I’m going to take the leadership they showed last year and try to do it my own way,” Edmunds said. “I’m young, I’m ready for the challenge. I’m ready for the next step.”