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Bills OTA Notebook | Josh Allen's chemistry with Keon Coleman, veteran WR additions highlight the day 

Keon Coleman (0), Josh Allen (17). Buffalo Bills Organized Team Activity, May 21, 2024 at One Bills Drive.
Keon Coleman (0), Josh Allen (17). Buffalo Bills Organized Team Activity, May 21, 2024 at One Bills Drive.

On a picture-perfect 80-degree afternoon in Orchard Park, the Bills took the field Tuesday for the second day of OTAs.

With Monday's session not open to the media, Tuesday was the first glimpse of this year's team in a practice setting. Head coach Sean McDermott, QB Josh Allen and more spoke on the team's progress at this stage of the offseason.

Here's what we learned:

Allen focused on developing relationships with new receiving corps

Celebrating his 28th birthday, QB Josh Allen got a full day of work in with several of his new targets. The Bills were active in the wide receiver market during free agency and the draft, signing veterans Curtis Samuel, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Chase Claypool and Mack Hollins, then drafting Keon Coleman in the second round.

In order to build rapport on the field, Allen says his main focus during OTAs has been to get to know the WR additions off the field first.

"Just talking and chopping it up with different guys in the locker room, I know it sounds weird, but just sitting with different guys in the cafeteria and getting to know them and their families," Allen shared. "I truly believe and again, I said a lot over the years that having that relationship off the field pays dividends on the field. It's no different now. I think there's more of a maybe an intention now and just more of a focus on it now."

Case in point, before Valdes-Scantling signed with the Bills, Allen invited him over to his house for dinner along with QB Shane Buechele and OC Joe Brady. The group talked about Valdes-Scantling's potential fit in Buffalo and how the veteran WR could help the team.

"We connected right away," Valdes-Scantling said Tuesday. "Usually when you come on a visit you go out to eat with the staff and talk with them. But Josh was like, nah, I want you to come over to the house."

Added Allen, "He's very smart, he sees things through the lens of a quarterback… Just again, utilizing his experience and trusting what he has to say and just trying to build a rapport with him."

One theme that Allen has noticed among the additions is bringing in receivers with size. Coleman, Claypool, Valdes-Scantling and Hollins are all listed at 6-foot-4. Having WRs that possess a willingness to go up and get the ball is a trait that's appealing to Allen.

"Sometimes people refer to them as 50/50 balls, but when you get guys with some size and are able to go properly judge and jump and catch a ball like that, kind of leans more to — they'd like to call it 90/10 balls or 95/5 balls — but it's more 60/40," the QB said.

"Having that supreme trust of putting us in a spot where he's gonna get it and if he doesn't, nobody is."

With so many new faces on both sides of the ball, Allen sees this part of the offseason as a chance for own personal growth in order to be the best version of himself moving forward.

"I think it's an opportunity number one, a chance to grow as a leader, to grow as a teammate and rely on some other guys that maybe haven't been around but have a lot of experience in the NFL," he said.

Matt Milano's recovery 'on schedule'

Bills LB Matt Milano is one of a handful of players that McDermott said aren't participating in OTAs due to injury. Milano is working his way back from a season-ending injury suffered last year in the London game and is making good progress as the 2024 season gets closer.

"The word I've gotten from our training staff is that he's on schedule," McDermott said. "Matt's here every day. I can tell you that he's working hard. It's probably going to be more closer to training camp until we see him out there, maybe some drill work before that, maybe not. It'll just be how he continues to progress at this point."

Other players that will miss OTAs include DT DaQuan Jones (non-injury), CB Rasul Douglas (non-injury), S Mike Edwards (shoulder), OT Tommy Doyle and WR Bryan Thompson. OT Spencer Brown (shoulder) was at practice but not involved in team drills.

Coleman's love of football part of his endearing personality

Rookie receiver Keon Coleman has captured social media by storm since his arrival in Buffalo with his magnetic personality. While his love of thrift shopping jackets and Wegmans cookies make him all the more relatable, Coleman's new teammates and coaches want fans to know that he brings that same energy to the football field.

"He loves football. I think that's the first and foremost thing that you learn about him. He loves this game, loves the nuances of it, and that's fun to be around," Josh Allen said.

During Tuesday's practice, Allen and Coleman worked on their connection during team drills and then again off to the side after practice had concluded.

"He can move and he can jump. He's 6-4. I thought he can run some routes pretty well," Allen said.

Because Coleman took part in the team's rookie minicamp two weeks ago, the Bills coaching staff has been able to see the rookie's eager work ethic start to take shape even before the beginning of OTAs.

"I have found certainly that playful, fun person, but also a focused young man that is here to play football and help this team any way that he can," McDermott said.

Extra points

  • Sean McDermott confirmed that former NFL official John Parry has joined the Bills as an officiating liaison for the 2024 season. McDermott said the Bills are 'fortunate' to add someone like Parry who has nearly 20 years of officiating experience.
  • Bills LB coach Al Holcomb is at the Spring league meetings in Nashville this week as part of the 2024 Coach Accelerator program which aims to strengthen the pipeline of diverse coaching candidates in the NFL. Holcomb worked as Buffalo's senior defensive assistant in 2023 and was promoted to LBs coach in February.

Scroll to see the best photos as Buffalo Bills players hit the field on a beautiful day for an Organized Team Activity.

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