ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Quarterback Josh Allen reported for the beginning of Buffalo’s offseason workout program this week with a renewed focus after taking some time to rest and recover from a 2022 season that took an emotional and physical toll from the Bills’ franchise player.
“At this point, in my life,” Allen said Tuesday, “I’ve never been as focused or locked in on football as I am right now.”
Healed from an elbow injury that affected his throwing mechanics and practice regimen during the second half of last season, Allen expressed excitement to get back to work with his teammates in another year of Super Bowl aspirations.
“It feels really good,” Allen said. “Threw a couple times and no issues so just getting back on track within this first phase and a little bit in the second phase, not a whole lot of throwing here in the building but trying to find other outlets to be able to get guys moving around, getting the ball in the air.”
Allen’s elbow received some relief while he took time to rest his body and mind following a season that came to be defined by teammate Damar Hamlin’s collapse on the field, and ultimately ended with a disappointing loss against the Bengals in the divisional playoff round.
“It was a lot of rest, a lot of mental recovery,” Allen said. “This last season was pretty draining throughout — physically, emotionally, mentally.”
Describing this offseason as an opportunity to “reboot,” Allen said he intends to “dive deeper” in mastering coordinator Ken Dorsey’s offense and working with quarterbacks coach Joe Brady.
“Just trying to be the best leader, the best teammate, the best quarterback that I need to be for this team to win football games,” Allen said. “We need to get over that hump and I understand that, we understand that.”
Allen, who turns 27 next month, acknowledged his advancing age in seeking to refine an aggressive playing style that has at times made him more susceptible to injury and turnovers.
“I know this sounds crazy, but I’m getting older,” Allen said. “It’s like, I can’t continue to do this. I know when I’m using my youth I feel like I can, but over the course of my career I’m going to have to learn to adapt and change.
“I’ve always had the mindset of I’ve been a football player first and a quarterback second, and at some point that’s going to have to switch,” Allen continued. “When that point is I don’t know, I guess I’ll let my body tell me. But I do want to be, like I said, I want to be the smartest quarterback with the football in my hands. I don’t want to put the ball in harm’s way because I know how detrimental that is for a team with those interceptions and the fumbles.”
NFL teams are not allowed to conduct full team drills during this period of organized team activities, but Allen and his teammates can get together for throwing sessions. They also can build chemistry by spending time together away from the field.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to getting here with the guys, building that team camaraderie, having guys over and just doing that piece of it,” Allen said. “Because I think that’s such a huge piece of it — when you’re able to trust teammates inside and outside the facility. And again, we’re in Buffalo and there’s not a whole lot to do here in terms of outside recreation and stuff like that, so having guys over to my spot, breaking bread together and having a good time and just getting to know each other on a deeper level pays dividends during the season.”
Allen will not, however, have the opportunity to work with his favorite target during the coming weeks, as Pro Bowl receiver Stefon Diggs has not reported for the first session of voluntary workouts.
“I know he’s not here right now and I wish he was here, but OTAs are a little bit of a different beast when it comes to all that stuff,” Allen said. “But I’m just looking forward to getting back with him and working on things and continuing to get better because he is the best receiver in the league and he helps us out a lot on this team. Looking forward to continuing our relationship on and off the field and him continuing to make plays for us.”
Allen indicated he is not worried about his relationship with Diggs following the wideout’s sideline outburst toward the end of the playoff loss, and cryptic social media posts that raised questions about Diggs’ desire to continue playing in Buffalo.
“Stef’s gonna Stef. I love the guy,” Allen said. “He is one of my favorite people on this planet. He is so fiery, so competitive, he wants the ball in his hands 24/7 and I’m never gonna not like a guy like that. He wants what’s best for the team.”