The regular season is approaching—just two weeks away now. And the Bills have wrapped up a full week of practice at One Bills Drive; spending the week getting set for preseason game number three against the Bengals. They’re ready to start a rookie quarterback in this game; they’ve got another first rounder calling the signals on defense. And they’re working with a brand new offensive coordinator.
These are some of the many issues discussed this week on ‘One Bills Live.’ ‘One Bills Live’ with John Murphy and Steve Tasker airs weekdays from 12 noon to 3 pm on WGR 550 and MSG.
Here are five things you may have missed on the show this week:
1. WHO IS THE NFL'S MOST IMPRESSIVE ROOKIE QUARTERBACK THIS PRESEASON?
There were five quarterbacks chosen in the first round of the draft in April. Josh Allen was the third one off the board.
But a top analyst from NFL Network says so far, Allen looks like the best of the bunch. Peter Schrager, co-host of ‘Good Morning Football’ says he’s got Allen at the top of his first round quarterback list midway through the preseason schedule.
“I’d put him [Josh Allen] number one,” Schrager said on ‘One Bills Live.’ “Everyone was doing flips over Baker Mayfield. I thought Baker played very well, made some smart decisions with a bunch of number twos against a number two defense. Sam Darnold, when the bright lights turned on in Monday night football last week – he didn't play as well as he did the first game.”
“But Josh Allen stepped up when he was thrown in there last week. Similar situation – Friday night everyone on NFL network was able to watch it. Josh Allen looked great. And although he made that weird fumble play and put the ball over his head in the first game, he also threw a few ropes and had a great scramble.”
Schrager knows it’s early, but he likes what he sees. “I’m just saying two weeks in, I don't know if there’s a quarterback who’s played better and made better passes and maybe been a better decision maker than Josh Allen.”
2. JOSH ALLEN GETS GOOD REVIEWS FOR HIS BIG ARM
It has only been four months since the Bills moved up in the first round to pick QB Josh Allen with the seventh overall selection. And some of the top draft analysts who broke down Allen’s college career have had a couple of weeks of preseason football to compare to their pre-draft observations.
One of them, Andy Benoit, is an expert film breakdown analyst for Sports Illustrated and MMQB. He’s impressed with Allen’s arm strength.
“Josh Allen is a big, strong power thrower with occasional accuracy issues and we debated if he can get that cleaned up or not,” Benoit told the show. “I'm sure the Bills in a private moment would say ‘we're going to assume it's not going to get super cleaned up and we're going to live with the ups and downs because the throws he does make - when he makes them - are sensational.’”
“So, you've got a downfield power thrower and with a guy like that you want to have him throwing down field. It's not a dink-and-dunk type quarterback there. And then the other part that gets overlooked with Allen is his mobility. He's a big, powerful runner.”
Greg Cosell has been a producer at NFL Films for 38 years. He’s an executive producer and analyst for NFL Matchup on ESPN. He acknowledges Allen’s obvious arm strength, but Cosell told the show he already sees evidence of improvement from the rookie quarterback—the result of good coaching.
“He was a big-armed kid who could throw the ball down the field,” Cosell says. “He wasn't that really efficient in terms of pacing, touch, timing. But I think he showed really good progress in that area. He showed good footwork, balance, discipline in his quick game drops from under center. He looked comfortable and he threw with touch. He wasn't over-striding. I thought that he really looked like he was being coached and he's taking to the coaching.”
3. THE ‘OTHER’ FIRST ROUNDER SETTLING IN
All the attention on Josh Allen means linebacker Tremaine Edmunds can concentrate on his job—not his profile. And Buffalo’s other first round pick says he’s settling in, getting more and more comfortable with each preseason game.
Edmunds is looking forward to this week’s game, telling ‘One Bills Live’ he wants to start “playing fast,” just like the veterans do.
“That's the number one thing a lot of players will say, when they're out there playing without thinking,” Edmunds told the show. “It allows you to play fast and allows you to make more plays. When that time comes, when I get there, I’m feeling better every day and more confident in things that I do out there. I feel more comfortable in my position. Just getting that down pat so I can get out there and play fast, let it loose and make more plays.”
4. ATTENTION TO DETAIL - DABOLL’S CALLING CARD
The Bills new offensive coordinator is in his 18th year in the league. Brian Daboll has coached hundreds of players in various roles, including wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator.
Two QBs who played under Daboll in the NFL appeared on ‘One Bills Live’ this week. One of them, former Browns first rounder Brady Quinn, says Daboll is great for quarterbacks.
“He's extremely detailed,” Quinn told us. “Those guys (Bills QBs) are going to be prepared week in and week out in what defense is going to face them. He's going to put together a bunch of different cut ups and things as well. You're never going to be surprised, and you're always going to have answers. He talks about the toolbox that every quarterback has, and he provides that within the system for quarterbacks to have that at their disposal - different things they can get to, whether it’s plays, route adjustments or changing protections or things of that nature, he's going to provide you with those.”
Jake Delhomme played quarterback for 15 years in the NFL. In 2010, near the end of his career, Delhomme also played for Daboll when he was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland.
“I was 36-37 years old at the time,” Delhomme said. “I was more mentally prepared to play a game with Brian Daboll as an offensive coordinator than anyone I was ever with. I was so ready to play with Brian – I don’t know if it was that New England background, the teaching philosophy—that helped me tremendously being ready to play. I think he’ll work wonders with the quarterbacks here.”
5. HE MISSES PLAYING IN BUFFALO – NOT FOR THE REASON YOU MAY THINK
Sunday’s game brings linebacker Preston Brown back to Buffalo. The Bills third round pick in 2014, Brown became an instant starter and racked up tackles at a league-leading pace during his four years in Buffalo.
Now, he’s back home, in Cincinnati, playing linebacker for his hometown team. He told ‘One Bills Live’ he’s looking forward to this weekend’s visit to Buffalo. He misses many of his Buffalo teammates. And he misses living in Buffalo. He’s still getting adjusted to living near lifelong friends and family.
“That’s the weird thing,” he laughed. “Being so close to people here (Cincinnati) – people ask you to weddings and baby showers. I could always get out of that when I was in Buffalo but now it’s a little tougher to get out of these family events.”