Spring practices, also known as Organized Team Activities in the NFL world, are underway at One Bills Drive. Sean McDermott told the media this morning that it felt good to be back with the players and that they are about 60-70 percent back to normal regarding the COVID protocols.
When it comes to vaccinations, many of the players are having conversations about how to address the situation as a team.
After practice, Josh Allen was asked if he had made a decision about being vaccinated and said he would keep that status to himself. Allen also noted that every player will be able to make their own decision about vaccinations.
"We're having internal discussions about that as a team and as far as the Leadership Council goes as well," Allen said. "What the right answer is and how to go about it, we're not sure and we're trying to get to a conclusion. But at the same time, we're letting everybody make their own personal decision on this matter and that's really all I have to say about that."
As the players continue to make their own personal decisions, having teammates in the building to talk to about it is a luxury that they didn't have last season. Being together in the facility will help get the team to grow closer throughout the offseason. Allen is excited to be around his teammates again and is hopeful for things to get back to 100 percent normal soon.
"Being able to hang out outside the facility with guys, and not have to social distance," Allen added. "But again, we're taking those precautions and masking up here. We want to be in the building. We want to be around each other. We want to be able to develop that camaraderie with the guys. We're getting a taste of it, but again, we're longing for that day."
Here's what else we learned from the start of Bills OTAs:
Click through to see the best photos from the first day of Buffalo Bills 2021 OTAs.
"I know we are on a mission"
The absence of OTAs last offseason meant less time for the coaching staff to see what they had in new free agent acquisitions and draft picks. The players also had less of an opportunity to bind with one another and grow closer as a team.
This offseason, as things slowly go back to normal, the players have come back into the building and ready to work. Tremaine Edmunds is glad to be back in the facility with his teammates and feels like the team is on a mission.
"I think the biggest thing, I think everybody here, I think we're on a mission," Edmunds said. "Actually, I know we're on a mission so like you said it was a good conversation just to make sure everybody was on the same page. I think the results speak for itself. I'm happy to be here and I know everybody else is happy to be here. We are out here working hard and getting ready for the season."
"It's a blessing to be in this situation"
It's rare in the NFL for a quarterback to start his career with as much continuity as Josh Allen has had. With the same head coach and offensive coordinator, Allen feels very comfortable in this system and that helps him be the leader that he is. He's blessed that it has worked out this way, and he feels that he can be an extension of Brian Daboll on the field.
"It creates a very good space," Allen said. "Just being able to talk with guys in a very comfortable fashion, being in the same system now going on the fourth year and having that rapport that I have with Daboll and Coach Dorsey and really understanding our offense in and out and being able to relay that to my teammates. I've always said that the job of the quarterback is to be an extension of the offensive coordinator and have to understand what he wants in certain situations and by me knowing that I get to relay that to my teammates and allow us to try to have better success on the field. It's a blessing to be in this situation, not many people have that luxury of being in the same system and understanding and knowing guys on a personal level for as long as I have, so definitely blessed here."
"I'm excited for what the future brings"
On May 3, the Bills announced that they exercised the fifth-year options of both Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds. At only 23 years old, Edmunds has been named to the Pro Bowl in two consecutive seasons and has shown why he was selected in the first round. As a young leader of this Bills defense, Edmunds was thrilled when he found out the team had picked up his option because he loves everything that Buffalo has to offer.
"Yeah, I was excited, I love it out here man. The fans and everything that Buffalo has to offer, I love it. And so, I was excited just because I know the group that we have here. I'm excited just to be back to go to war with them so we can all try to accomplish what we all here to do - and that's to win a championship. So, I was excited man, smiles from ear-to-ear and my family was excited because they love it here as well. I'm excited for what the future brings, and I'm just looking at what we could do as a team this year."
"Trusting the process"
After his best season in the NFL, Josh Allen knows the work that he has to do in order to continue playing at a high level and help the team win games in 2021. Throughout this offseason, Allen has been very honest with himself about the things he needs to work on. He knows that trusting the plan set up by the coaches and building trust with his teammates is one way that will help him grow and mature as an NFL quarterback.
"Yeah, to take that next step, I've got to re-evaluate what I'm doing on the field, and be very honest with myself," Allen stated. "And I think that's one thing I feel I can brag about is I'm very honest, first with myself. I'm very realistic when it comes to my play on the field and what I can do better, and what I need to do better and approaching how to do that … Finding ways I can be more efficient in the pocket and moving, better with ball security, running in within the pocket, and then making decisions and not trying to force things no matter what the situation may call for. That's where trusting your teammates, trusting the plan, trusting your coaching and coaching staff, and trusting the process in what coach McDermott is preaching to the team. That's what I'm trying to do."