For the rest of the Bills, Josh Allen week is just another preseason week with just another quarterback.
The difference this week–for this preseason–is that the starting quarterback was made public six days in advance.
The vets on the team do agree with their head coach that the rookie has a lot to gain playing the role of the starter during what Sean McDermott calls a “mock” regular season week.
“You’re driving the car right now,” Kelvin Benjamin said of Allen. “No matter what you’re driving–an Escalade, a Volkswagen or whatever–you’re driving the car. All the parts in that car are looking at you right now. He’s doing a great job with it. He’s having fun with it.”
Starting quarterbacks often have to deal with the media differently than the rest of the team. They have scheduled press conferences that often last much longer than an interview by a locker. Allen spoke for nearly eight minutes on Wednesday.
In this particular case, Allen may have it a bit easier with the media than a starter during the regular sesaon.
“Everybody’s (usually) going to be asking, ‘Who’s starting this week? Do you know who’s starting? What do you think? Have they told you yet?’,” Lorenzo Alexander said. “It kinda takes some of those questions away where he can answer, be honest and truthful and not have to kinda dance on the fence as far as what’s going to happen to him this week.”
McDermott’s hope is that Allen can go through the routine of a regular week. Jordan Poyer says building a proper routine is vital for an NFL player and something a rookie can take weeks to learn.
“(The week) goes by fast,” Poyer said. “Before you know it, it’s Friday. It’s Fast Friday (the week’s shortest practice). Then you’re coming in for walkthrough Saturday. Before you know it, you’re on a plane or you have some time off before you gotta get to the hotel on Saturday night. Then, you’re playing. Shoot, and then you’re doing it all over again. Getting in that routine is very important. Especially for a young guy.”
The typical NFL install week, according to Poyer, is 1st and 2nd downs on Wednesday, 3rd downs and red zone Thursday with some wrinkles to go over Friday.
“He’s starting on Sunday,” Poyer said of Allen. “That’s his mindset all week. He should take that and run with it and prepare like he’s the guy.”
Even though McDermott would not say on Wednesday that Allen can win the job with a good performance, it’s very likely the week one starter will be decided Sunday against the Bengals. The Bills are eager to see how it shakes out.
“I’m interested to see what he’s able to do,” Alexander said of Allen. “It’s been really interesting and exciting to watch him go out there, whip that ball around, make some plays with his legs, take some hits and get back up like it didn’t happen. He’s really starting to earn my trust and I’ve got a lot of respect for how he has answered the call to a lot of criticism he’s received.”
A reported joked to Benjamin that maybe Allen will cut loose a throw deep on the first play. The Bills receiver said “Maybe” with a laugh and then pointed out one thing Allen won’t learn this week.
“He’s a freak. What he’s got you can’t teach.”