The Buffalo Bills used their first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft to grab Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. He has been a polarizing prospect leading up to and after the pick, with some glaring deficiencies but the clear raw talent to become a franchise QB in the NFL.
Allen met with the media at his introductory press conference with fellow first round pick Tremaine Edmunds on Friday. Here’s what Allen had to say in his first day as a Buffalo Bill.
Q: What have you been doing since you got here?
Allen: Yup, met with the owners; got to see Kim and Terry Pegula, always great to see them. Like he, Tremaine said, got to meet with the coaches. Just kind of talking about what we want to do, what we’re trying to accomplish here as Buffalo Bills.
Q: What was your reaction like when you got to meet Terry before you were drafted?
Allen: Yeah, so he came out to Laramie, Wyoming. He came out with Kim and the coaching staff and we sat down and we had dinner. We went out there and he kind of saw me throw and he followed me coming back to the facilities about two weeks ago. [I’ve been] getting to talk with him again just get to know him and for him to getting to see how I really ticked. Turns out, he really liked what he saw.
Q: Josh, you’re now the face of the franchise, the franchise quarterback. With what happened recently, have you [become] quickly became aware of how careful you have to be about everything you do on social media?
Allen: Absolutely, you have to be extremely careful and if I can go back and tell my 15-year old self to not do it, I would absolutely do it. I’ve learned a lesson, a valuable lesson. Throughout my years of junior college and division 1, I’ve experienced a lot of different things and if there’s one thing I can say it’s that I love my teammates and my teammates would say the same thing about me.
Q: Josh, how aware are you of what Lorenzo Alexander, one of your new teammates, said today, which was that he feels like you might need to step up in front of your teammates and explain yourself?
Allen: You know, it’s something that I’ve considered. It’s something that, when I get to meet the guys, I get a sense of what they, how they feel, what they say to me, and I definitely would consider doing that. It’s something that I wouldn’t be ashamed or afraid of doing. At the same time, I wouldn’t know until I got to know everybody and, like I said, get a feel for how they feel about it. If I seem or I feel like it’s necessary to do, it’s something that I’m definitely going to do and something that I want to do.
Q: As a team leader, you’re probably going to want to do that anyway at some point. How eager do you want to make sure that you clear the air once the veterans are here?
Allen: As soon as possible. As soon as possible, I want them to know who I am. It happens; it was a mistake. I’ll put it on my shoulders and take it on the chin going back to when I was young and dumb. [I] made a mistake and I just want them to know who I am, because once they get to know who I am, I think they’re going to like what they see and like the person that I am. [I think] they’re going to like what I’m going to do for this franchise and that’s give them everything that I have to win football games.
Q: Josh, could you imagine when you were at Reedley [College] and you were getting no recruiting offers at that point, did you imagine you would be in this position four years later?
Allen: It was something I always wanted. To say that I was sitting there, knowing it was going to happen, I couldn’t say that. It was a long road, a long journey in front of me. It was very frustrating at times, but at the end, I’m sitting here, I’m talking to you guys, I’m sitting next to a damn good football player right here. I’ve been blessed throughout my life with the support group that I have: my family, the coaching staffs and the teammates that I’ve been around. It’s just been phenomenal.
Q: Josh, leading into this, what did you know about the Bills and the history of this team? What’s it like coming into a team that hasn’t had a franchise quarterback in over two decades?
Allen: Yeah, we’ll obviously, they’ve had a really good run in the past and they’re a playoff team. I’m fortunate enough to be part of the Bills and I can’t thank the owners, the Pegulas, the coaching staff, the GM, the assistant GM, everybody here, I can’t thank them enough for doing what they did for me. I think I speak for him [Tremaine] as well in that regard. It’s something that I’m looking forward to; it’s a challenge and I’m ready to get in. I’m ready to earn my respect from my teammates, earn my respect by the coaches. Whenever that time is called to be on the field, I’m going to go out there and going to play football how I know to play football and that’s trust in my teammates, trust in my coaches [with] whatever’s happening on the field and go from there.
Q: Josh, yesterday Andre Reed tweeted about getting a chance to meet you in some pre-draft thing. He said something about ‘your legacy is hours away’. It turns out that you get drafted by the team where he became a Hall of Famer. Is that sort of neat in your mind? What did you take away from that meeting with Andre?
Allen: Yeah, I got to speak a lot with him. Obviously he’s a fantastic guy [and] a hell of a football player. He’s a really solid dude just down to the core. He cares about players and I talked to him a lot. We talked about Buffalo and somehow, I ended up here and so it’s kind of weird to see how things come full circle sometimes.
Q: Josh, you had a long phone call with Brandon Beane; it was an emotional phone call talking about the tweets. Can you just go into what that discussion was like and what you wanted to get across hours before the first round?
Allen: Yeah, I just really wanted him to know the type of person I was. Obviously, I was embarrassed by everything that happened and it’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. It happened and they wanted to find out what they really knew about me; they had their ideas and they knew the type of guy I was, so it was just about reassuring them. We went into some detail. It did get emotional just because, you know, I’m sitting here and my teammates and my family, they know the type of person I am and everybody in the world is kind of scrutinizing me and saying all these things about me; the things weren’t true. That was hard for me to kind of take in and I realized, as long as my family, my teammates, and my good friends, what they really care about me is all I really- all that really matters.
Q: Josh, the word “project” has been attached to you a lot of the way through yesterday’s draft. Where do you feel your development is in regards to being able to take the reigns as [a] starting quarterback in the NFL?
Allen: You know, we’ll see. We’ll leave that up to the coaches. I’m ready to jump into the quarterback room with Nathan [Peterman] and AJ [McCarron]. I’m going to learn from them; they’ve been in the league for, Nate a year, [and] AJ’s been in the league for a few years now, so [I’ll be] taking and picking apart whatever I can from those two guys, learning from the coaches, and, like I said, just competing every day, trying to earn a spot. My goal is to help this team win football games, whether that’s being the starter day one, game six, game ten, a year from now, two years from now, or just being a backup to AJ or Nate. That’s what I’m going to be; I’m going to be the best teammate possible.
Q: Josh, the criticism, obviously you’ve heard it, has been the accuracy and completion percentage. I heard on the radio today [with] 16 more completions, you’d have 62 percent or something like that. If you look back and people really dig in and dissect your film and talk about accuracy, is there any one thing or a couple of things you can improve on to make that better at the next level?
Allen: Absolutely, it’s my feet. I definitely think everything up top in your throwing motion is directly linked to your feet, so the last three, four months, I’ve been working with Jordan Palmer. We’ve been trying to make that as consistent as possible; just trying to quiet the lower half, making sure that everything’s consistently sequencing through. Like I said, when I’m on time, I’m on platform. When I’m trusting my guys around me, I’m as accurate as anybody.
Q: Josh and Tremaine, you are coming into the league a year after a very controversial anthem protest. I was just wondering what each of you thought about that. Do you think the athletes, while they have to be careful on Twitter, should be outspoken about social issues?
Allen: Absolutely, I’ll go ahead and start that, absolutely. Guys have the right to do as they please and say whatever they please to say. Things do have consequences, I know that from first-hand experience of what happened yesterday, but I’m not one to sit here and say they shouldn’t do it or they should do it because I haven’t lived in their shoes and I don’t know personal experiences that they’ve encountered in their lives..
Q: Josh, with respect to your upbringing, can you shed some light on life on a farm and how you felt that shaped who you are?
Allen: Yeah, absolutely. Seeing my dad, what he did for my family waking up before sunrise, coming home after sunset most days, he’s the most selfless man that I know. I aspire to be a man like him one day. I had a great support cast with my mom, my siblings. We were all out there and we’re always together. We’re a very tight knit family, tight knit unit. We did everything together, so having them, they were there in the green room and they got to experience what I felt yesterday, it was a fantastic experience.
Q: Josh, the quarterbacks go through a lot of criticism leading up to the draft, obviously. Are you one of the guys that plays with a chip on his shoulder? Is that what drives you a little bit?
Allen: Absolutely, going back to junior college and high school, I did have zero offers. I ended up with one offer and that was the University of Wyoming. I played with a chip on my shoulder. Every team that I played, I knew they didn’t offer me and I knew that I was going to go out there and I was going to try to prove them wrong [with] why they should’ve offered me. When you play with a little chip on your shoulder, I think sometimes it helps you play a little better because it gives you a purpose.
Q: Josh, when people hear that you were from a farm, I think everyone has a different idea of that in their head. Would you mind sharing what it was like growing up on a farm?
Allen: There’s no livestock, we were all row-crops: cotton, cantaloupe, and wheat. I was playing football, baseball, basketball, soccer. I did karate, gymnastics and that allowed me to stay off doing chores with my dad. It was hot summers out there, 110 degrees. Me and my brother, we’d move irrigation pods, we’d weed cotton fields, drive tractors, just some of the stuff that we would do. Whenever my dad needed help, that’s what we would do.
Q: Josh, with respect to board work, working with coach Daboll and getting some kind of exercise to go through, why do you feel like that comes easily to you?
Allen: Going back to Wyoming, playing in the pro-style offense that I did, the system I had to play in, the system I had to learn is very advanced. It was very NFL-like, so it was an easy transition. Working with Jordan Palmer the last few months, he taught us like three to four different offensive systems: digit systems and just different stuff to try and train our brains, to learn things in a different way than what’s accustomed to us. I was in those board meetings with coach Daboll and coach McDermott. When they put stuff on the board, I was able to basically regurgitate it back to them exactly how they said it.
Q: As far as the mechanics, you talk a lot about your feet and you worked with Jordan Palmer. So what will the balance be because, through this offseason, do you anticipate spending more time with him, but how are you going to work in what you’re told and the guidance you get from coach Culley?
Allen: Well, first of all, coach Culley will trump anything. He’s my quarterback coach. Whatever Daboll tells coach Culley to do, he’s going to tell me to do, and I’m going to do [it]. I’m going to be the best soldier that I can be for these guys and ultimately, if it’s helping us produce on the field, I’ve got no say in it.
Q: But Palmer is definitely a factor?
Allen: He’s a resource. Jordan’s like a big brother to me; he’s a mentor. Any questions that I have, I can definitely call him. I’m not just talking about football, I’m talking about life. He’s a great dude; I’m proud that he’s on my side, I’m proud that I was blessed an honored to work with him. Whatever questions I may have, I’m going to call Jordan and obviously talk to my coaches as well.