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'One of those legendary games' | Bills eager to begin 2023 season on primetime stage


The anticipation for the beginning of the regular season is high at One Bills Drive, as the Bills' opening game against the New York Jets is under a week away. With a new quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and a defense full of returning stars, the Jets have Buffalo's full attention.

Quarterback Josh Allen spoke on Rodgers' influence on him and the problems that the Jets' defense can impose on the Bills' offense.

"I'm such a big fan of his game and have been for a very long time," Allen said after practice Wednesday. "I grew up watching him and wanting to be like him on the football field so it's still a surreal feeling to be playing against someone like him."

Last season, the Jets handed the Bills their second loss of the season, and Allen averaged just 172 passing yards between their two contests. With a talented cornerback duo in Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, along with a fearsome defensive line led by Quinnen Williams, the Bills offense will face possibly the best defense in the NFL in their first game of the season.

"They're a pretty good group – really good group for that matter," Allen said. "They've got rushers that have motors, they sub those guys in and out so they're fresh. Their DB's are smart. They game planned pretty well for us the last couple times we've played them and we'll have our hands full come Monday night."

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs had the fifth-most receiving yards and the third-most touchdowns in the NFL last season. As the preseason comes to an end, Diggs is ready to turn off the tape and begin the regular season and the Bills' quest for a Super Bowl.

"Everybody out there missed football," Diggs said. "It's your first time getting to compete at a high level and it matters. … that first game, I feel like it's also finding yourself, what kind of team you've got, figuring out your identity and all the stuff that you've been putting on tape consistently."

While expectations in Buffalo remain high given the sheer talent on the 2023 roster, Diggs is focused on one game at a time and sees this season as another chance to improve.

"We've got a new opportunity, brand new season to go put some good things on tape and show what you could do as an offense and as a team," Diggs said. "[Winning a Super Bowl] is big picture, but see the forest through the trees and it starts with game one."

While the offense prepares to face one of the toughest defenses in the league, the Bills' defense is preparing to stop who many consider to be among the best quarterbacks of all time in Rodgers.

The Bills' defense is familiar with the 39-year-old, as Buffalo defeated Green Bay 27-17 last season. The Bills' pass rush sacked Rodgers twice and linebacker Matt Milano picked off the four-time MVP.

"Obviously a Hall of Famer so it's going to be one of those legendary games," safety Jordan Poyer said. "There's going to be a lot of chess matches out there. And we're going to have to play extremely well to win, try our best to tackle out in space and do our best to give him different looks."

Rodgers' rookie season was in 2005, when Allen was just nine years old. Growing up watching Rodgers ascend as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Allen said he has tried to emulate some of Rodgers' techniques.

"He's got a little bit of a foot pop in his left foot when he throws, and I've tried to incorporate a little bit into my game a couple of years ago, and it's helped out tremendously," Allen said. "I mean, I could say probably a lot more, but don't want to give him too much credit."

As Allen and the rest of the Bills look to begin their season with a huge road win, a new-look Jets team hopes to play spoiler. The Bills will travel to New York to take on the Jets Monday, Sept. 11 at 8:15 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ABC/ESPN.

Miller doing 'whatever it takes' to win in 2023

Von Miller addressed the media for the first time since being placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to start the season, meaning the edge rusher will miss at least the first four games of the season. Miller said he understood the decision and is motivated to return as soon as he's able to.

"Of course I wanted to play, I mean that's why I'm a football player," Miller said. "The ultimate goal is to get to the playoffs and have success deep into the playoffs and ultimately win the Super Bowl, so I didn't have any pride in where it went. I want to win and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to win."

Bills GM Brandon Beane said last week said that it was a tough decision to place the star pass rusher on PUP, but it ultimately allowed Miller to have more time to ramp up his body to endure the rest of the football season when he does make his return.

Miller said Wednesday that his knee is cleared for contact, though there were other hurdles he had to clear in order to have a chance to suit up Week 1.

"It wasn't enough time for football. The knee was ready to go, but wasn't enough time to get ready to play football in the NFL," Miller shared.

He added: "There's a whole list of things that you have to do to get to pads, shoulder pads and helmets. Running around, one-on-one pass rush and all of those things. So I was very conscious of those things. Brandon Beane was very conscious of those things, as well."

While Miller won't be in uniform against the Jets on Monday Night Football, he's amped to see his teammates play a football game again.

"Even though I'm not playing, I still got those butterflies and that sense of that anxiousness like I'm playing. It's gonna be a great one, man," he said.

Scroll to see practice photos from September 6, 2023 as the Buffalo Bills prepare for Week 1.

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