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Top 8 things to know as offseason workouts begin

Von Miller (40). The Buffalo Bills train at One Bills Drive for the first day of OTA’s on April 19, 2022.  Photo by Ben Green
Von Miller (40). The Buffalo Bills train at One Bills Drive for the first day of OTA’s on April 19, 2022. Photo by Ben Green

The Bills started phase one of their offseason program with voluntary workouts beginning on Tuesday. Bills head coach Sean McDermott, quarterback Josh Allen, linebacker Von Miller and general manager Brandon Beane met with the media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss being back at One Bills Drive and looking forward to the 2022 season.

1. Back at One Bills Drive

Bills players have had the last four months to reset, relax and begin training for the upcoming season. With the page officially turned to the new season, players are back at the facility for workouts and meetings. Phase one of offseason workouts are voluntary, but Sean McDermott is proud of the attendance so far. 

"I think we've got what I would say is really, really good participation," McDermott said. "Not everyone, but I would say very encouraging numbers that we have here. And I think the energy in the building has been outstanding the last day and a half here."

Someone who helps with the energy is the QB1. Josh Allen is heading into his fifth NFL season and couldn't miss out on an opportunity to bond with new and old teammates.

"I don't feel like I need to be here, but I absolutely want to be here," Allen shared. "I love hanging out with the guys and developing these types of relationships that you don't get otherwise. I love going to camp and staying at St. John Fisher for those two weeks or whatever it is. Staying up, playing cards, video games, whatever it is, developing that camaraderie."

Allen believes spending time together off the field during the offseason helps their product on the field once the season begins.

Bills safety Jordan Poyer is among some of the players who haven't yet reported for voluntary workouts. Brandon Beane said Poyer is an important piece to the defense and wishes he was in attendance.

"Jordan's been a really good player," Beane said. "He's been a good pro. I think he's done a great job. He's been an integral part of our defense. When you look at some of the steady pieces that have been here through when it wasn't as good to where we are now, and I give him and some of those other guys a lot of credit for being here, he's been a big part of it.

"I want Jordan here. I'm not looking for anything different than that. It's just business gets in the way sometimes, and I respect that."

2. Von Miller's feeling comfortable in Buffalo

Von Miller came up to Buffalo to sign his contract in March and spoke on the tough decision to choose Buffalo over Los Angeles. Now that he's back and has started to get a feel for his new team, Miller feels a lot more comfortable with his decision to play for the Bills.

"I love these guys," Miller said of his new teammates. "I knew about the team. I knew about the players here. But the collection of guys, the collection of personalities is nothing like I've ever been on."

Miller said the locker room culture has a college feel to it, which is something that he enjoys. When the two-time Super Bowl champion was figuring out if Buffalo was the right fit, wide receiver Stefon Diggs was the one who sold him on the culture and the talent of the team.

"They've got Josh Allen and all these guys – I was already ready to come," Miller shared. "But when Diggs was like, 'Bruh, we're gonna be good here. We're gonna win a Super Bowl. You're gonna love the locker room. You're gonna love the facility – all the guys. They work and make this thing go. The cafeteria ladies, the PR guys, the janitors and the workers here, you're gonna love all these guys, man.' And I've been here for two days, and he didn't lie to me for sure."

The eight-time Pro Bowler who has 115.5 sacks said when it comes to playing on defense, he will do whatever the coaches ask of him.

"No matter if we play in 4-3, 3-4, no matter what, I know football and I know defenses," Miller said. "I'm a coach's dream. Whatever they want me to, I'm going to be able to get it done. I'm a team guy on top of that. I get along with my teammates and I know how to work with my teammates."

One teammate that's looking forward to watching him chase down other quarterbacks is Josh Allen.

"I'm thankful that he's here," Allen said. "He's been a heck of a player in this league for a long time and shows no signs of slowing down. He's one of those guys that you have to account for him in every protection. So to have that on the other side, on the defense now and force the ball out maybe a little quicker and allow our corners and safeties to be a little more aggressive.

"It just kind of changes the whole dynamic of a defense when you've got a guy that you have to focus so much attention on."

3. Ken Dorsey's new offense

Bills head coach Sean McDermott made several changes to his coaching staff this offseason. McDermott added several new faces but also got to promote some from within. Ken Dorsey is one of the coaches who was promoted from within by moving from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.

With offseason workouts underway, Dorsey is starting to put his stamp on a new offense.

"I think Ken Dorsey has done a really good job of working through a progression, educating the coaches on what and how he wants the offense to look, what he wants to carry over from last season," McDermott shared. "And then with the players by rule, we're not really able to get into the weeds with them in the offseason until now. Now they're in the building so now we can get into the playbook a little bit more and I know Ken started with that yesterday."

Dorsey will need to be in lockstep with his quarterback once Week 1 rolls around. 

As Allen begins to tackle the new offense, the QB is eager to start learning and is happy he's had Dorsey as his quarterbacks coach for the last three seasons.

"He's going to have his own wrinkles to this offense," Allen said. "I'm excited to see what he can do. He's worked his tail off to get to the position where he's at right now. But asking those questions and having that open line of communication of, `Hey, I don't like this concept,' and this and that. 

"For the most part, he knows that because he's been around me for three years and vice versa. I'm looking forward to being able to run some plays that he's calling. And I've got no doubt that he's going to be successful at what he does."

4. Tre'Davious White update

Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White tore his ACL in November during Week 12's game against the Saints. White has been working hard to rehab from the injury, but the Bills don't plan on putting a timetable on his recovery.

"You have to know what to expect in the first season coming off an injury like he had and, again, we'll take it one day at a time, one week at a time," McDermott said. "He's controlling everything that he can control. He's busting his tail, he's in here every day, one of the first in the building and one of the last to leave and that's the piece that he can control."

5. Why Josh Allen is happy to have Stefon Diggs back

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs inked a four-year extension this offseason, which means he'll be paired up with his favorite quarterback for years to come. Diggs said he is excited to be a part of the team long-term and is looking forward to building his chemistry with Josh Allen.

Allen's helped Diggs have back-to-back 1,000 yard and 100 catch seasons and is ready to run it back in 2022.

"I'm happy I get to keep my guy here," Allen said of Diggs. "There's a lot of different ways that could have played out and I'm just I'm thankful that he likes this place enough to call this his home for hopefully the next six years. To have the corner piece of our receiving corps come back and I know we're adding a couple of guys, we're subtracting a couple of guys, but we all understand what of type player Stefon Diggs is. 

"He's one of the best, if not the best receiver in the game, and what he's able to do for this offense and (how he) opens up different areas for us."

Sean McDermott thinks the growth in Diggs and Allen's connection will help the team this season.

"He's done a great job for us," McDermott added. "He and Josh have built a very strong relationship and so that helps us going into the offseason where we know and Josh knows who he is going to have at that position. And he's a guy that he has a lot of trust in so I think that's good for this season."

6. What Josh Allen wants to improve on for 2022

Josh Allen said he's spent some of his offseason working with quarterback coach Jordan Palmer. Allen also added when it comes to improvements for this season, he wants to work on ball placement.

"I think, on offense, run after catch wasn't very high last year," Allen said. "But again, that's me putting the ball where it needs to be and allowing our guys to catch in a good position to make a run after the catch. So I'm working on that, that's been one of my biggest takeaways in this offseason and trying to work on just ball placement and allowing our receivers to do that."

Allen finished 2021 completing 63% of his passes (409/646) for 4,407 passing yards. He scored 42 touchdowns (2nd in NFL) and posted a 92.2 passer rating.

Scroll to see photos of the Buffalo Bills first workout back at One Bills Drive.

7. Putting last season in the rearview

The Bills know they fell short in 2021 and want to use voluntary workouts as a starting point to build toward meeting their goals in 2022. In terms of reflecting on how last season ended, players and coaches are ready to turn the page to what matters right now.

"We've completely turned our focus towards this next season and trying to figure out how do we take that next step, how do we win that Super Bowl." Josh Allen said. "Every team's goal should be to win the Super Bowl every single year and it's 31 teams that are going to be unhappy at the end of the season. So again, we got to find a way to get to it and win it.

"I'd be lying if I said like that's what drives me, it's to win a Super Bowl and get it done and we're going to exhaust all valves of options in order to get that done. And with what Beane and Coach McDermott are doing, supplying us with who we think are the right guys in this building, the training staff, the weight room, everything plays into it. That's why you see so many guys here right now putting in that work to accomplish the goal that we want to accomplish."

Von Miller knows what it's like to win Super Bowls and also knows what it's like to come up short. The All-Pro wants to use his experiences to help the Bills achieve their goal.

"Games like that, you should use them for motivation, but you've got to be able to let them go and push past that," Miller said of Buffalo's loss to the Chiefs. "And this AFC East division, they've gotten better. The whole AFC has gotten better as well. We can't be caught up on Kansas City. We've just got to keep it going, keep it one step at a time. I've been doing that my whole career, and it has paid off for me."

8. Why Josh Allen wants to win The Match

Josh Allen will play in Capital One's The Match on Wednesday, June 1 in Las Vegas. Allen is teaming up with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and will play against Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Allen said he is excited to play with and against some of the best quarterbacks in the game.

"I love golf, I love competition," Allen said. "I'm going to be teaming up with Pat (Mahomes) against two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. I think it's going to be a pretty fun competition for us. I'm looking forward to it. At the same time, going to do some cool donations stuff with it. I jumped at the opportunity when I was asked."

While it's a fun opportunity, Allen said the plan is to do some smack talking and beat their older opponent. 

"Gotta take the gray beards down," Allen said of Brady and Rodgers. "He (Patrick Mahomes) told me he's playing the same course, like the week or two before so he's got to give me the layout. We're not doing this just to do it, what we want to win. He's as competitive as I am as well as the other two are, so it'll be fun. Hopefully it makes for some good content while people are watching, but we want to win."

Scroll to view photos as the Buffalo Bills return to One Bills Drive for the first day of OTA's. Sponsored by Imagine Staffing.

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