Ever since the Buffalo Bills drafted quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick, it's been an up and down journey for fans.
From the initial thought despair of selecting draft Twitter's least favorite top quarterback, many Bills fans slowly started to warm up to the thought of Allen. Even still, during the spring practices, tepid expectations remained as the rookie didn't overwhelm the masses just yet.
Once the curtain went up this summer, and training camp began, that's when Allen made his move. The rookie made his slow crawl up the depth chart, made a few 'wow' throws in the first two preseason games, and it led us to where we are now.
Josh Allen mania has reached its height -- and the Bills didn't stand in the way of it. They announced Allen as the starter for the all-important third preseason game, a game that could pave the way for him to win the job should we play well enough.
In the meantime, many a Bills fan continue to clamor for the rookie to begin his journey as a starter as the 2018 season opens up in Baltimore. And they're not the only ones.
You can feel it in the locker room. When you speak with Allen's teammates in Buffalo, all across the roster, an air of excitement fills their speech -- perhaps with a dash of hope, too.
After going around the locker room and asking similar questions to many of his teammates, the buzz has been built just as much inside the building as it has outside.
Their words about the Josh Allen, the Bills quarterback that has everyone talking:
What stands out about Josh on the field?
Taiwan Jones, Running Back: His confidence. A lot of people talk about players having that ‘it’ factor, and that’s something he has. I don’t know what ‘it’ is, but he has it. As he grows and matures, he’s going to be a great quarterback in this league.
Andre Holmes, Wide Receiver: Oh yeah. You can tell that he’s still a rookie quarterback just like anyone at any position, you can tell that he’s a rookie. And that’s what Taiwan may have meant that he has the ‘it’ factor, you can tell, you know, you can tell — I mean, the eye test shows it. Everyone can see it. It’s just getting better every day, and that’s what he’s doing. It’s just a process. Like everyone says, you’ve got to trust the process. It’s cliche, but it really does mean a lot. So that’s one of the things that he’s trying to do.
Khari Lee, Tight End: I guess the ‘it’ factor to me is just taking command of the huddle, and just knowing that if you make a mistake, your next play will be the best play you’ve ever made. He has a short memory and that’s good as a quarterback. He can flush things. Because when the game’s on the line, you don’t want a guy thinking to the interception he threw in the first quarter or the incompletion he threw. You want a guy that’s going to go for it all, and that’s what Josh does.
Micah Hyde, Safety: Definitely his arm. That’s something that you knew coming in, that he was going to have a strong arm. He’s one of the elite arms in this league even as a rookie. At the same time, I think his pocket presence is really showing on film. The way he moves in the pocket and the way he moves away from the rush. You can’t really teach that, or I mean, you can teach that after a while being in the league, but he’s a rookie. He hasn’t even played in a regular season game yet and he has that pocket presence, so that’s pretty impressive. I think his maturation process that he’s going through, OTAs to now, his accuracy in those OTAs wasn’t very good. It was kind of all over the place, throwing the ball hard, so when that happens, you know, the receivers when it’s outside of their frame, they’re tipping it and the ball’s going up in the air and that’s when you get takeaways as a defense, which is cool for us. But, at the same time, I think his accuracy has really dialed in and he’s hitting those receivers where they need the ball, so they’re catching it and getting upfield and making plays now.
Logan Thomas, Tight End: Just every day he’s gotten better. Every single day. I think it’s a testament to his work and his dedication. I was in the same general position as he was, and I told him when he came in here, I said ‘Don’t let a day get by you.’ That’s where I messed up back in my time. Don’t let a day get by you, and make sure you’re doing something every day to master your craft and he’s been doing it.
What about the things you see from him as a teammate, getting to talk with him and play with him every day?
Logan Thomas: He’s got a little… I’m not gonna cuss… he’s got a little crap to him. He’s got a little fight, a little dog in him. And as a quarterback, that’s what you see the greats have — which you’ve got to have. He pays attention to the details, he wants things done the right way. He lets you know if you don’t do it to his standard. That’s exactly what you want. That’s what you want from a franchise quarterback, and that’s how a franchise quarterback should lead his team.
Ryan Groy, Center: For him, I mean he’s a quick learner. I don’t think he plays with much fear and I think that’s a great thing. I think that he’s learning really fast. He makes a couple of mistakes just like all of us do, but I think he learns from them. I think he picks it up really quick. As far as not afraid to make mistakes, he’ll take those chances that can, you know, either be home runs or kind of be mistakes. That’s where the coaches are really dialing him in and making sure that he can’t make the critical mistakes, and take the chances that can really come back to hurt us.
Eddie Yarbrough, Defensive End: Josh, you know, he’s kind of a guy that’s… I don’t want to say he’s Father Time, but he’s definitely beyond his years. He tore me up in college and now he’s tearing me up here in practice, so you know I’ve seen it. I’m just excited for him to say the least. He’s doing a great job of being a professional. And being on the other side, he does a great job doing his checks. He makes it a guessing game for the defensive linemen. He can burn us up throwing the ball down the field, but he can also hurt us with his legs, so it’s just one more thing we have to worry about. He’s kind of one of those quarterbacks where it’s, pick your poison with him. Definitely an elite athlete and an elite quarterback and I can’t wait for him to play.
Andre Holmes: Oh, I think he’s very open. He talks to everybody, always communicating with the receivers. You can tell that he’s eager to get better every day. You can tell that he cares about the game and he doesn’t show like he has too much pressure on his shoulders. Those are the kind of things that you want from a quarterback. You want them to be calm, cool, and collected and at the same time have a little bit of a fire to him. So, you know, he’s doing a good job.
Rod Streater, Wide Receiver: He’s definitely, I feel like he’s not a rookie right now, he’s definitely going into the game confident. I feel like he’s taking control of the huddle. He’s making the easy throws, you see him hit Dre on the third down last week. He’s making his reads. The most impressive thing I’ve seen last week was on the touchdown, how he evaded the defender and he kept his eyes down the field, and that’s really impressive. You can get lost in all the people rushing you, but in the end he kept his eyes down the field and he had his mind on making the touchdown.
To the media he comes across as a tad goofy, but naive in the sense that he doesn’t let the big stuff get to him. Is that accurate?
Ryan Groy: 110-percent. That’s him, man. He’s the same person on the field that he is off. I think he locks in a little more on the field, but same personality. I like it. Just be yourself, do what you do, and keep working.
Taiwan Jones: Yeah, I would say that’s part of his character for the most part but I’m still getting to learn him and know him for who he is. Like I said, he definitely has that confidence. He’s a rookie, so yeah, he may be a little naive about things, but you’ve got to like that. You’ve got to like somebody that has that confidence and feel like they can go out there and make any play.
Logan Thomas: I think he understands it, honestly. In that position, you play games, you get it all through your head. It’s a mental game. The more you don’t hear, the better you are, and I think that’s just kind of how he screened it. He had to deal with it before the draft, and he’s going to deal with it the rest of his career while he’s playing. At that position, you kind of want a fun loving person who at the same time knows what he has to do and is ready to master his craft.
Rod Streater: He’s confident. He has his personality, and that’s what you want in your guy, is to be out there and feeling confident and relaxed. You don’t want to go out there uptight and make bad decisions. We want our guys to be relaxed. Confident, they’ve prepared all week, they go out there, and they just play the game, and that’s what I’m excited about. Things haven’t been getting to him.
Eddie Yarbrough: He’s definitely a guy that, he doesn’t ever let the moment get too big for him. He’s definitely level-headed. The thing I like is that he’s also not the guy that’s gonna come in and be like, ‘Oh, I know everything.’ He’s eager to learn, eager to get better and that’s all you can ask for as a teammate and as a quarterback, especially for him coming in as a rookie, that’s all you can ask for. If you have that mentality and have that work ethic coming in, the sky’s the limit for your potential and what you’re going to do. And as you can see, it’s coming to fruition now. So, I’ve just got to sit back and enjoy and eat my popcorn and watch the show.
Have there been moments when you thought to yourself, ‘how did he do that?’
Ryan Groy: There’s a lot of things on the field where you’re looking at each other like, ‘Whoa, what was that?’ He does a lot of things that a lot of people can’t do. He’s very gifted and very smart. When he’s locked in and he’s on, he’s a dangerous quarterback for sure.
Khari Lee: Yeah, that whole shot [against Carolina], man. The red zone. I don’t know how it got there, but it’s a hell of a throw.
Micah Hyde: You know, the first play of the Carolina game when he got in and he threw that bomb, we kind of all knew that was coming. I think Daboll was wanting to show off his arm a little bit. That was a good, obviously it was out of bounds and stuff. But then the Cleveland game, just his pocket presence when he threw that touchdown to [Rod Streater]. I think that’s something, like you know, I was talking to the media yesterday — and I’m not comparing him to Aaron Rodgers at all — but just the way he moves in the pocket, that’s something I witnessed four years in Green Bay and seeing how he moves. And the way that Josh did that in the game, that was something that A-Rod does is bide time. He sits in the pocket, rush comes one way, he steps up the other way, he steps back, moves to the side. That was good to see for sure.
Eddie Yarbrough: Once Josh settles in, I’m telling you, it’s going to be something to watch.
(Note: All of these interviews occurred at separate times)