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Bills Today: Jim Kelly: Allen is the 'real deal'


1 - Jim Kelly: Allen is the 'real deal'

It's been over 20 years since the Bills last had a franchise-caliber quarterback. The team has been searching for its answer at the position ever since Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season.

According to Kelly himself, the Bills have finally secured his successor in Josh Allen.

During a recent interview with The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci, Kelly described Buffalo's first-round pick as "the real deal," someone who showed signs of promise in his rookie campaign.

It was his athleticism that perhaps earned Allen the most praise in the 2018 season. The 6-foot-5 signal-caller rushed for 631 yards last year, the second-highest total amongst all quarterbacks. While watching Allen, Kelly even grew a bit jealous of his playmaking abilities.

"I wish I had his athletic ability," Kelly said. "I mean, early on my career I wasn't bad, but I was never like that."

Allen is the prospective face of the Bills' organization, and according to Kelly, the 22-year-old is perfect for the job. The Hall of Fame quarterback feels as though Allen's personality and aura perfectly match that of Buffalo itself.

"I'm excited about him because his personality is what you need in Buffalo," Kelly said. "He's a hard working SOB. It's everything I love to see, but he can't do it alone."

2 - B/R: Josh Allen a 'breakout candidate'

He showed progress throughout his rookie season, and as a result, Buffalo fans are excited about his future.

Josh Allen entered the 2018 season with a palpable hype surrounding him. Having been selected by the Bills with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft, fans wanted Allen to show promise in his rookie campaign, a strong foundation that he can build on as he matures. Allen did just that in his debut season, completing 169 passes for 2,074 yards in addition to rushing for 631 yards and eight touchdowns.

Allen showed flashes of brilliance in the 2018 season, and according to Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport, he could be in for a breakout 2019 campaign. The analyst recently wrote an article in which he identified one player on each team who could emerge next season, choosing Allen as Buffalo's breakout candidate.

"Josh Allen wasn't able to get the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs. Or even close to the playoffs. But just like Lamar Jackson, the seventh overall pick did more damage with his legs than with his arm," Davenport wrote. "For the season, Allen gained over 600 yards on the ground, averaging 7.1 yards an attempt."

Davenport feels as though Buffalo will be able to build a competitive offense around Allen this offseason, something that could fuel his breakout.

"Like the other young quarterbacks in this piece, most of what the Bills do in the offseason will be geared toward Allen's improvement," Davenport wrote. "An entire team being invested in his success doesn't hurt Allen's chances one bit."

3 - What Reid Ferguson said about re-signing with Bills

The Bills locked the anchor of their special teams unit up to a long-term deal on Monday, re-signing long snapper Reid Ferguson to a three-year contract.

Ferguson, who has served as Buffalo's long snapper for the past two seasons, was set to become an exclusive rights free agent this spring. He's ecstatic that he and the team were able to work out a long-term deal early in the offseason.

"Super excited to be back," Ferguson said during an appearance on One Bills Live. "Very thankful for Coach [Sean] McDermott, [Brandon] Beane, and the whole staff for showing faith in me. Really excited to be back for a couple of years."

Inking an extension with the Bills was a no-brainer for Ferguson, as he feels as though head coach Sean McDermott is building something special in Buffalo.

"One of the things that they told me was that they wanted me to be around through this program, the culture that they're building, for the next couple of years and so on after that," Ferguson said. "That was something that I couldn't turn down. I want to be a part of what Coach McDermott's building here."

Perhaps paramount in Ferguson's decision to return to Buffalo was the city itself, as he's fallen in love with the Western New York region and the people that call it home.

"I love [Buffalo]," Ferguson said. "The people are great. That was one thing that I really enjoyed when I first signed up there, the fans. Not just to give the cliché answer, but the fans really are great. Some of the feedback that I got after I re-signed [Monday] was incredible.

"The fans are genuinely happy for the players, they want this team to be successful, they want this team to have the right people involved in helping the team win."

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