Bills QB Josh Allen spoke with the Western New York media about his offseason to date. With one more week of virtual meetings before the players get their break prior to training camp, Buffalo's quarterback addressed a number of topics both on and off the field.
1. Trying to listen and learn
Allen may only be 24-years old, but he's wise enough to know there are some things he can't know. Though the nation's protests against racial and social injustices have had an impact on him, he realizes he can never fully understand the struggles and anxieties of African-Americans.
"I can't put myself in the shoes of being a black person in America with regards to the social injustices that have been going on," Allen said. "But what I have been doing is having conversations with teammates and trying to listen and trying to learn. I've never been in a position where I've been pulled over and I feared for my life. I think that's a horrible thing that many people of color that have to go through. When they get pulled over, they're holding their breath. They're anxious. They don't know what's going on. And they're very fearful and I don't think that's right. It's terrible beyond any words that you can kind of put it into.
"I've been having these conversations with teammates trying to get a better understanding, asking what I can do. And just trying to raise awareness, whether it be with my family, my friends around me and just trying to have these open discussions in order to find a way to help the situation."
2. Consulting with big name NFL QBs
By now most Bills fans are aware that Peyton Manning was part of a Zoom call meeting with Buffalo's quarterbacks at the request of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll this offseason. But he also spoke with two other former NFL signal callers.
"It's been good as far as leadership aspect goes and being able to talk to the likes of a guy like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre and try to pick their brain a little bit and see what I can take from them from their instances," Allen said. "You know Peyton had a lot of similarities and parallels (to us now) with the lockout of 2011 and I did gain a lot from that conversation with him and I've just been trying to apply it the best way that I can."
Allen attributed his inspiration to organize the south Florida workouts with his offensive teammates to his discussion with Manning.
Favre, who was coached by Daboll when he was with the Jets, also provided input during a Zoom call with the Bills quarterbacks.
"It's two of the most well respected and greatest quarterbacks of all time," said Allen. "So, I'm truly blessed to have those guys give us their input."
Allen also spoke with Tony Romo. More on that below.
3. Still not over playoff loss
After the gut-wrenching loss to Houston in the Wild Card playoff game last January, Josh Allen said he would not get over this game until they got to the 2020 regular season this fall. The Bills QB not only confirmed that remains the case, but also shared some of the lessons he learned from that setback.
"I was talking about it last night so I'm definitely not over it," he said of the loss to the Texans. "I know that we had opportunities to win that game and it very easily could have swayed the other direction so that's something that continues to drive me. Knowing that I could have played better and I could have done more and eliminated a mistake here or there that they could have been super easy to eliminate and given us a better chance to win that game.
"But that's exactly what I learned. I learned that you can't force things to happen. After watching a lot of tape. We've been watching a lot of Drew Brees a lot of Tom Brady, a lot of Aaron Rodgers, a lot of Russell Wilson. Late in the game, they're not trying to force things. They're still taking what the defense gives them. They're continuing to take check downs. They're doing the right thing and making the right play. And that's something I got to continue to incorporate and continue to learn, and not be eager to make plays in situations that call for me to make plays. I've got to continue to let the game come to me."
Allen also said he learned that a home playoff game would be something the team needs going forward as well.
4. Tweaking mechanics
A big point of emphasis this offseason for Allen has been to fine tune his mechanics to make his ball placement more consistent. He shed some light on how he's accomplishing that with an assist from the aforementioned Tony Romo.
"I've been throwing down in Fresno and obviously Miami, and just working on I wouldn't say different mechanics, per se, but I'm definitely tightening things up," Allen said. "I got a chance to talk to Tony Romo at the Super Bowl and we talked a lot about mechanics and just being a thrower. I think that what he kind of gave me I've taken in stride and I've been applying it to the field and I think has been working out."
Allen isn't making those kind of wholesale changes. Instead he's working on the rest of his body's performance through the throwing motion.
"Just kind of keeping my head more still, keeping my left arm tighter and kind of rotating my body around an axis and it's been paying off," he said. "I think that to continue to work on that obviously there's going to be ups and downs and trying to change arm slots. Within the flow of the game and guys rushing at you and that's kind of hard to emulate in the offseason, but in Miami (during the player workouts), I feel like it's the best I've ever thrown. I feel good where I'm at right now and I'm still going to work on it and try to continue to get better with what I'm working on."
Allen said he's scheduled to get back to southern California to work with his QB Summit coach Jordan Palmer next week.
5. Games with limited or no fans would be an adjustment
Knowing the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing pro sports leagues to adhere to strict public health protocols, Allen is completely aware that the Bills could be playing games in front of reduced crowds or no fans at all this autumn. He's contemplated what that could look and feel like.
"There are going to be pros and cons," he said. "If you're the road team, you're going to be able to go there and be able to communicate because the crowd noise really isn't going to be a factor. Home games are so crucial to have that noise and to have your third down defense be out there and it's just going to be a different type of mentality now.
"We're not going to be able to have that potentially when the fans play a big part in the game and they're able to shift and tilt the Mojo in stadium sometimes. So we'll see. It's going to be a learning curve. I think it's going to be like Pop Warner again, with only parents in the stands and maybe at the same time it'll be nostalgic for some of the guys and just be back down to football and we'll be playing the game for the love of it."