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WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

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What they're saying: Teammates back Josh Allen as Bills prepare for home opener

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1. Josh Allen ‘excited’ for first career start

In today’s NFL, quarterbacks are often asked to play at a young age. Although just one rookie quarterback officially started in week one of the 2018 season, three out of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2018 draft saw considerable playing time last weekend. In week two, Bills’ signal-caller Josh Allen will become the second quarterback from the 2018 class to start an NFL game.

Head coach Sean McDermott named Allen Buffalo’s starter on Wednesday. The 22-year-old is excited to see a lifelong dream fulfilled.

“Obviously, I’m super excited and thankful for the chance to be the starter of this team,” Allen said. “This is something I’ve dreamed for a long time, but now that it’s here, come Sunday, just trying to do my job. I’m not trying to do too much, trusting those around me, ultimately trying to be the quarterback that this team needs which is moving the ball, moving the chains on third down and putting points on the board.”

2. LeSean McCoy wants to make life ‘easy’ on Josh Allen

Running back LeSean McCoy was the backbone of Buffalo’s offense in 2017, rushing for over 1,100 yards. Even with Allen under center, the running game will likely continue to be the focus of the Bills’ offense. McCoy wants he and his teammates to give it their all on Sunday in an attempt to make Allen’s adjustment to the starting role a smooth one.

“One thing I’m going to talk to the offense about, especially the skill guys, for the rookie quarterback to have a good game for them is to make it easy on him,” McCoy said. “Hey, if he makes a wrong read and the ball is hard to catch, catch it. You might not get yards after the catch, but just catching the ball will give him confidence, moving the chains. In the running back room, making guys miss, breaking tackles, everything to give him the extra advantage is critical and big for this game and his confidence. He’s so young. If he gets going he gets more confidence each play, so that’s something I want to talk to the guys about, just executing and making it easier for him.”

3. The moment Jerry Hughes knew that Allen was special

Allen first caught his teammates’ attention in offseason workouts. The former Wyoming Cowboy put his arm strength on display throughout training camp and the preseason. Defensive end Jerry Hughes realized that Allen’s throwing ability was special when he saw him launch a pass 60 yards off of his back foot in a preseason contest.

“Probably was the preseason game, him throwing off of his back foot from the 20 to the other 20. He just missed it, barely by inches, but you got a quarterback throwing in our stadium off their back foot from 20 to 20, you know the guy’s got an arm. We’re excited to whoever they pick to play, we just have to go out there and play a lot better football.”

4. Ryan Groy thinks Allen’s time with first team has prepared him for first start

Allen battled with Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron for the starting quarterback role in the offseason. Throughout camp and the preseason, all three quarterbacks saw time with the first team, with Allen even starting the third preseason matchup. Starting center Ryan Groy feels that Allen learned a lot from his reps with the first team in the offseason, stating that he’s comfortable with Allen as commander of the team’s offense.

“I guess the good thing about us going back and forth at quarterback was, they all had the chance to do that with the ones, twos, threes,” Groy said said. “Them going with different lines, different groups, so they’ve all had that with different people. I guess that’s a positive in it, you know, it’s not like he’s been going with the twos or the threes the whole time and now he’s stepping with the ones, you know, going like that. I think that’s the positive from it. We’ve had a lot of time together. He runs the huddle well. We’re just going to communicate and do what we can.”

5. Jordan Poyer has ‘great faith’ in Allen

In order for Allen to see a lot of playing time on Sunday, Buffalo’s defense will have to effectively contain the Los Angeles Chargers’ explosive offense. Safety Jordan Poyer, who tallied five interceptions in the 2017 season, feels it’s important for the Bills’ talented secondary to play well against Los Angeles, in turn giving Allen the best chance to succeed.

“No matter who’s at quarterback, we feel like, as a defensive back, you want to think that your secondary is the strength of the team,” Poyer said. “That’s our mindset no matter who’s in there. I have great faith in Josh that he’s going to come in there and do his job, so then it’s our job to do our job.”

6. Micah Hyde talks defending Philip Rivers

While Buffalo will have a rookie quarterback under center on Sunday, they’ll be facing off against a seasoned veteran. Philip Rivers, who is now in his 15th professional season, has quietly constructed a Hall of Fame-caliber career. Bills’ safety Micah Hyde knows that going up against Rivers won’t be an easy task. 

“Philip Rivers is nice, man,” Hyde said. “He’s nice. I’ve played him, this is my third time playing him, and people want to talk about his arm strength and all that stuff, no. That guy’s been doing it for a while and he’s been doing it for a reason. He has a lot of weapons around him. I say this a lot to you guys, about the quarterback being the general of the offense, but he legit is. He calls the plays. He’s the offensive coordinator on the field. He sees a look of the defense, a disguise, and if he reads it, he’s going to get them in the perfect play call. We have to be on our A-game for sure this week.”

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