1 - Josh Allen is working with this former NFL QB in the offseason
In the months leading up to the 2018 draft, Josh Allen’s physical tools were often brought up when discussing the prospective first-round draft pick. Fans and analysts alike pointed to his 6-foot-5 frame and strong arm as indicators of his potential. His 56.2 percent college completion percentage worried some, however, with some pundits fearing that his accuracy struggles would haunt him at the professional level.
In an attempt to develop his all-around game, Allen worked with former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer, a seven-year pro who has helped many quarterback prospects since retiring from the game in 2015. Palmer assisted Allen with his footwork, something that helped Allen produce a solid rookie campaign in which he completed 169 passes for 2,074 yards and 10 touchdowns.
With his first professional season now in the books, Allen once again plans to practice with Palmer. The two will work together in Southern California before the Buffalo quarterback returns to Orchard Park in April. Bills head coach Sean McDermott plans on contacting Palmer to construct a developmental plan for his quarterback.
“We respect and trust what Jordan does out there,” McDermott said. “Certainly just understand Josh’s relationship and trust with Jordan, I think that relationship is a good one. It’s important that they work with the right people. We’ll be in touch with Jordan and make sure that we’re synced up there as much as possible in terms of terminology, technique, things that we feel like he needs to work on. Josh already went out there equipped with much of that when he left Buffalo.”
2 - Robert Foster, Levi Wallace earn spots on ‘draft steals’ team
Their resumés are strikingly similar to one another.
They both played their college football at the University of Alabama, helping the Crimson Tide take hope the National Championship in 2017. They both went unselected in the 2018 NFL draft. They both signed with Buffalo after going undrafted, eventually carving out starting roles for themselves in the Bills’ lineup.
Robert Foster and Levi Wallace are two of the more inspiring players on Buffalo’s roster, as they both broke out in the 2018 season despite little being expected of them. A speedy wideout, Foster caught 27 passes for 541 yards and three scores in his debut campaign. Wallace started seven games at cornerback, totaling 37 tackles.
The strong play of Foster and Wallace has been recognized by Pro Football Focus, who named the two rookies to their “draft steals” team. According to the outlet, Foster was one of the best wideouts in the league over the final seven weeks of the season.
“[Josh] Allen looked Foster's way often deep downfield. In Weeks 10-17 -- when Foster began to see consistent snaps -- he recorded 304 receiving yards on passes 20 or more yards downfield, which ranked fourth in the NFL over those eight weeks, trailing only T.Y. Hilton, Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown.”
Wallace took over Buffalo’s No. 2 cornerback role in Week 10. Per PFF, he was one of the league’s most reliable cornerbacks in the second half of the campaign.
“Among cornerbacks who logged 200 or more coverage snaps, Wallace ranked in the top five and first among rookie corners in overall grade (83.5) and coverage grade (85.3) in 2018. He allowed only 10 receptions on 19 targets in coverage for just 94 yards, with only 8 total yards allowed coming after the catch.”
3 - What Sean McDermott likes most about new OL coach Bobby Johnson
His two-decades of coaching experience have all led to this.
The Bills hired Bobby Johnson as their offensive line coach earlier this offseason. Johnson, who started coaching at the collegiate level in 1995 and transitioned to the NFL in 2010, has never been a primary offensive line coach at the professional level. Assistant offensive line coach and tight ends coach are the only job titles that Johnson has held in the NFL.
Though the 2019 season will be Johnson’s first as a primary offensive line coach, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott is confident that he’ll get the most out of the team’s front five. McDermott feels as though Johnson’s experience and love for the game made him a fit in Buffalo.
“Bobby’s been around the league a long time,” McDermott said. “He’s coached the offensive line in college, been an assistant O-line coach in the league. Coached tight ends in the league as well. A lot of times, those positions are connected, the tight end position and the O-line position.
“Bobby’s a student of the game. He embraces the growth mindset. You spend five minutes with him and you’re able to connect rather quickly on what type of guy he is and the type of teacher he is. We went through an extensive interview process with Bobby and I thought he did a phenomenal job.”
McDermott called his colleagues around the NFL before officially bringing Johnson on board. The praise that other executives had for Johnson only increased McDermott’s confidence.
“You do your research like you try to do with everyone,” McDermott said. “You make calls, you talk to people, talk to people that know people. Everyone that I came across, as related to the topic of Bobby Johnson, was first and foremost that he’s a good person, and then he’s a good football coach. That came from various sources, so I felt good about it.”