When Bills QB Josh Allen met with the media fresh off a workout on Tuesday afternoon, he made it clear that he is eager and more than ready to get back on the field.
"I think at this point, in my life, I've never been as focused or locked in in football as I am right now," Allen said. "I'm very excited and looking forward to getting here with the guys, building that team camaraderie, having guys over, and just doing that piece of it. Because I think that's such a huge piece of it — when you're able to trust teammates inside and outside the facility."
Last season was emotionally, physically and mentally draining for Allen and his teammates. It made for an offseason that consisted of a lot of rest, mental recovery — and lots of golf. And while the 2022 campaign ended earlier than the Bills had hoped for, the QB is proud of how his team handled the adversity they faced throughout the season and he is using it as a driving force heading into the upcoming season.
"The way that we handled ourselves, the way that our team came together in some very dire times, I'm very proud of the players that we have on the squad and that we're bringing back," Allen said. "We brought in a lot of new guys and to have that leadership on this team to kind of bring some of these newer guys up and show them what the culture here is all about and what we're trying to accomplish, I think it's a good thing that we got going."
When looking back at film from last season, Allen admitted that there were times when he was careless with the football and his body, which is something he's working on and learning from. The QB pinpointed the need to be more decisive with the football to avoid those detrimental interceptions and fumbles, and he acknowledged that he needs to take fewer hits in the future.
"I know this sounds crazy, but I'm getting older," Allen said. "It's like I can't continue to do this. I know when I'm using my youth I feel like I can, but over the course of my career, I'm going to have to learn to adapt and change. And I've always had the mindset of I've been a football player first and a quarterback second, and at some point that's going to have to switch. When that point is I don't know, I guess I'll let my body tell me."
Allen added: "At the end of the day, it's just being smart with the football, smart with the body, and understanding situational football really better. If there's a third down where we got to get it, I'm going to do whatever it takes to get it. But if it's a second and 10, I got nine yards to go, no need to put the shoulder down and try it. We can get it on third and one with our players and trusting the guys around me. And if not, so be it, we'll put Von Miller back on the field and let him go to work too."
Allen — who told the media his elbow "feels really good" after the limited throwing he's been doing throughout the first phase of voluntary offseason workouts — is already getting the ball rolling with the quarterback room that features Matt Barkley, Kyle Allen and QB coach Joe Brady. The QB crew, along with offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, have begun their deep dive into the offense and familiar concepts in hopes of finding on-field success next season.
"Eyes are in the right spot, putting the ball where it needs to be on time, on target," Allen said. "Making sure everyone's on the same page in terms of route and distance and angle of routes because there are times where we can clean that up as a team and it's going to better us. And having those talks with Dorsey about concepts that I love that we need to keep working on, and this is the time to do it."
And as Allen prepares for his sixth year in the NFL, his focus is still on being the best quarterback he can be for the Buffalo Bills. With that in mind, Allen said he's using the rest of the offseason to find ways to improve and retool his game for 2023.
"Just trying to be the best leader, the best teammate, and the best quarterback that I need to be for this team to win football games," Allen said. "We need to get over that hump and I understand that, we understand that. You've got to look from within sometimes and again, just finding new ways I can get better. Taking care of myself on the field, whether it's taking hits, protecting the football, not putting the ball into harm's way."
Check out the best photos of Damar Hamlin, Josh Allen and the rest of the Bills from the team's first offseason workouts in preparation for the 2023 season.