1 - Through injury Allen stayed engaged
It’s been quite some time since Buffalo fans last saw their franchise quarterback. They won’t have to wait much longer, however, as Josh Allen is on pace to make his highly-anticipated return this weekend.
The rookie, who sprained his elbow in Week 6 and has been sidelined since, will start for the Bills at quarterback this Sunday barring any setbacks.
The Week 12 matchup will be a test for Allen, an opportunity for him to prove that he used his time away from the field to learn from his peers and develop mentally. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin doesn’t foresee Allen have any struggles with this, as the rookie stayed focused on his progression while injured.
“To tell you the truth, he never really got away,” Benjamin said. “He was here. He was always around. Stayed in meetings, stayed engaged. That was a good thing to see, especially from a young guy. He didn’t really tune out of it.”
Benjamin is no stranger to missing considerable time due to injury. The 27-year-old missed the entire 2015 season after learning his ACL in training camp.
The wideout knows just how difficult dealing with an ailment can be. He was encouraged to see that Allen stayed focused and engaged throughout his rehab.
“Being hurt, sometimes you get down on yourself, like you’re not really helping or contributing,” Benjamin said. “But he stayed around. He was in every meeting. He’s back, and he’s excited. I’m excited for him.”
2 - Teller ‘plays the game the right way’
Wyatt Teller went from an inactive list mainstay to an integral starter in just two weeks time.
The rookie guard watched the first eight games of his professional career from the sideline. Wanting to add some rotation to its offensive line, Buffalo made Teller active for its Week 9 contest with the Bears. The former Virginia Tech Hokie impressed in a limited sample size, playing on 17 snaps and excelling as a pass blocker.
The Bills’ coaching staff liked what they saw out of Teller, giving him the start at left guard in Week 10. The rookie made the most out of the opportunity yet again, playing on 100 percent of Buffalo’s offensive snaps in the 41-10 win over the Jets.
Teller has caught the eye of Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll with his strong outings.
“He’s athletic and he’s tough,” Daboll said. “I think that’s a good combination to have as an offensive lineman. There are always going to be growing pains with some younger players, but the guys that have good talent that are smart, that are tough, that try to play the game the right way, that’s always a good thing. Particularly up front.”
Before having his number called, Teller had made considerable growth in practice. Rewarding his hard work was something that Buffalo’s staff felt was necessary.
“I think any time you get a young player,” Daboll said. “A rookie, a first-year guy, that once you feel like he’s able to go there and compete at a high level, and not think and play aggressive, if they have the talent you want to get them in there.”
3 - Frazier thinks Wallace handled debut ‘very well’
The elite play of Buffalo’s secondary in the 2018 season has been overshadowed by an everlasting question - who is the No. 2 cornerback?
Vontae Davis, Phillip Gaines, and Ryan Lewis have all seen time at the position this season, but none of them have stuck. Fortunately, it looks as though a player has finally stuck his foot inside of what was a revolving door.
Levi Wallace made his NFL debut just days after being promoted from the Bills’ practice squad, getting the start opposite Tre’Davious White in the Bills’ Week 10 contest with the Jets. Though Wallace finished the game with just one tackle and one pass deflection, his impact stretched further than the stat sheet. The undrafted rookie out of Alabama played on 100 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps, the only defender to do so.
To go from a practice squad player to a starting NFL cornerback in less than one week is almost unheard of. Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was pleased with how Wallace played under the bright lights of the NFL.
“I thought he did a really good job,” Frazier said. “First start as a rookie, undrafted free agent, to find yourself on the road in New York playing in an NFL game, had to be a dream come true for him. I didn’t think the moment was too big for him. He handled it very, very well, just like he had in practice.
“[He did] the same things he did in preseason, as well. To see how he performed, of course he’ll get challenged as we get further into it and more people get tape on him, but I thought he handled it well.”