While the Buffalo Bills are ready to move on and focused on putting together a sound game plan to earn their first victory of the season — during their home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, much of the assembled media could think of only one topic, naturally. With quarterback Josh Allen at the podium having had a few days to reflect elsewhere, reporters wanted to know more about what happened with Allen during that loss to the New York Jets in MetLife Stadium.
Below the embedded video, you’ll find a brief summary of the often complex questions of self-reflection being asked of Allen, to which he meaningfully obliges.
Opening question cut off
“We always talk about it and we always say ‘it’s never as bad as you think, it’s never as good as you think.’ You know, if you have a great win and you go back in, it’s never as good as you think either. So, obviously, gotta play smarter football. I thought our team did a lot of good things — don’t wanna take away from that, you know. The grand scheme of things, it’s one game and we’re not gonna let it turn into two.”
Allen’s process coming out of a poor performance
“Yeah, I mean, I think you know — just internally understanding the game, understanding situations, and making that a point of emphasis on game day. (I) let it get away from me this last game and again I don’t, I’m not gonna let it affect me going forward you know as a quarterback in this league and the best ones are able to kind of put this behind them but take away, you know, lessons from it but not let it affect how they play the next game in a negative way. So, again, trying to use it to my advantage and learn from it — it’s not the first time I’ve thrown three. And you know, barring how long I play in this league — hopefully it’s a long time — it might not be the last time I ever throw three. So, again, just trying to put it behind me and focus on playing smart ball and, you know, putting this team in situations to win football games.
Allen on confidence
“I think it’s internally driven, a little bit. It’s trust in your teammates. It’s having guys come talk to you and tell you to ‘wash it and get rid of it.’ So, just leaning on those guys in the locker room and, again, looking forward to playing my best ball.”
What Allen takes from the game, in terms of change
“Well, I mean, I think again all three interceptions came in third-down situations. So one, try not to be in those — we call them — ‘red situations’ where it’s third and longer. And two, understanding when to give up. So, I can sit here and talk about it all I want, you know... (I) gotta be about it.”
Balancing wanting more yards vs. getting out of bounds
“Just going into it and having a good talk with coach McDermott — you’ll know when that time, you need to do that. Right? You’ll know when you need to try to take over the game. But up until that point, again that’s probably later in the game if something — if we needed a first down or need something, that’s when you kind of can do a little bit extra. But, again, just understanding the situation, the flow of the game and getting down and not taking those hits.”
A rather convoluted question about him possibly forcing throws into tight windows
“I think that’s part of it, and you know it’s a double-edged sword. Sometimes we get away with it, and sometimes it’s the greatest play ever. Sometimes it happens the other way like it did Monday night and you know — I understand. I want to be smarter, I want to help this team win football games, I don’t want to put the ball in harm’s way or in jeopardy, and just trying to again, trust that and trust the guys on the field with me and play selfless ball.”
Managing without taking away his aggressiveness and that which make Allen who he is
“I think, again, just trusting the guys on the field with me, and knowing when you can and can’t try to make those plays. And, again, like I said earlier it’s the double-edged sword of I get away with it a lot of the time, and sometimes I don’t, and sometimes it hurts us. So, just knowing when and where to do it and when not to do it — and, again, that’s a learning process that takes a long time. You know, I’m year six in this league and I should know better when to do that and now I gotta, like I said, gotta go out there and I gotta prove that.”
Finally, a chance to talk about someone else:
Talking O’Cyrus Torrence in Week 1
“I thought he played extremely well. The moment wasn’t too big with him. Obviously, the Jets’ d-line is a pretty good group. But I thought he held his own for the most part and, again, he’s only going to get better as time goes on.”
What was behind team’s first-down struggles?
“I mean, it comes down to execution at the end of the day and making sure that we’re prepared, myself being the guy that’s most prepared there. But, you know we want to stay in front of the chains and not put ourselves in a 2nd & Long situation and you know we’re trying to get into the 2nd & 5s and 2nd & 4s and trying to skip some third downs. And we didn’t do a good enough job with that on Monday, so a lot to learn from, from this last game for sure.”
Another question looking to know Allen’s thoughts on a rookie starter:
Thoughts on Dalton Kincaid’s play in Week 1
“I thought he played well. Found himself some ways to get open. I think there was a couple times where (I) still could’ve plucked the ball on him, decided to opt off and get to a different receiver. But I thought he played smart. He did a good job with the ball in his hands of getting north and getting some extra yards. And, again, that trust with me and him will grow over the course of the season.”
On confidence in team bouncing back from loss Monday night
“We had four turnovers and we had a chance to win it in overtime at, really, the end of regulation — came down and scored on a two-minute possession at the end of the regulation there, which... again, guys could’ve folded, guys could’ve said this and that, but we came out, we gave ourselves a chance at the very very least. But now we gotta go out there and execute and get a touchdown and, again, I put that upon myself. But, you know, you break it down, our defense played well. You know, offensively, other than three or four plays — you know, take those plays out and — I know it’s football and you can’t do that, but I thought we moved the ball well and we were efficient in what we were doing. And, again, it comes down to me making the right decisions.”
Who is Allen’s core support system on offense?
“I mean, Dion Dawkins — I’ve been here the longest with him. You know, he’s been here since I’ve gotten here. Mitch, Stef, Gabe, and just making sure that — you know — they’re communicating to me. And yeah, I take things extremely hard, especially when we lose, and we lose the way we did. So those guys coming up and just, you know, giving me knucks or a little hug or something, that goes a long way. So, again, we’re a 24-hour rule, we’ve learned from it, we’re moving on to Vegas, our home opener, and looking forward to Bills Mafia being in the stands.”
What’s most helpful to Allen when he’s trying to focus on centering through on-field improvement?
“I mean, I think, you know, at the end of the day it comes down to myself and this last game I felt fully prepared, had a great week of practice. You know, again, I thought we did some really good things throughout the game, too. Ultimately, offensive ball, you can’t have three bad plays, you know, it’s gonna cost your team. So, cleaning those up, and moving on.”
Did his instincts change at all on a play-to-play basis with regard to running the ball?
“Yeah, I mean, again just having the thought in my head before the game and just maybe telling myself ‘alright let’s make an added emphasis on getting down or getting out of bounds when you get the first’ and, just, yeah, just kind of mental reminders for myself to do that so... It’s not easy and, again, it’s our first — my first real live game. I know preseason is what it is. I got two or three drives in the preseason, so just knocking some of the rust off and getting back to it.”
Then a sidebar about Allen’s thoughts on grass vs. synthetic turf:
His thoughts on the push now for grass fields following Aaron Rodgers’ injury
“Well, for one, I’m gutted for Aaron. You know, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good relationship with him, and you know a first-ballot Hall of Fame guy that — there’s a lot of, obviously the whole offseason and the hype surrounding that, and for it to go down that way, it freakin’ sucks and I hate that for him. He’s such a good dude, he’s a fantastic player. I hate to see that. As far as grass goes, I think we’ve been pushing for this for a long time as players, you know. You know, the way our bodies feel after turf games, after turf practices for that matter is significantly different than on grass, and you can bring up all the statistics for this and that, but as players we feel it and we know it. So, yeah I wish we — I know our new stadium’s gonna have grass and looking forward to that day. But, you know... gotta figure out a way to get everybody to grass.”
Does Allen second-guess his decisions after the play?
“Again, third-down situations, that’s when things tend to speed up and just gotta recognize that and, again, find the smart play. And, again, within the flow of that game, (I) didn’t have to be otherworldly, didn’t have to be someone other than myself and I was trying to do too much. And, again, a lot to learn from and decided to get back out on the field and kind of wash that taste out of the mouth, you know.”
At this point, there’s nothing left of the horse. Josh has already explained that they have a 24-hour rule following games, and each prodding question about his thought process or self-dissecting his Week 1 game and beyond leads to generally the same sort of answer.
Whether intentional or not, mercifully, WGR550’s Bills beat and sideline reporter Sal Capaccio gets a turn to ask a question, shifting to the upcoming Raiders game:
Sal: “(Cornerback) Marcus Peters, (safety) Marcus Epps, two different levels, two very good football players. Are those the kind of guys you kind of have to know where they are every play?”
“Yeah, absolutely. Love Marcus (Epps). I went to school with him. I’m looking forward to seeing him again. I’ve got one of his jerseys on my wall, so it’s one of my good pals, we did a lot of fun stuff together in college. And you know, playing against him in a more prominent role in a defense — it’ll be fun to go against him — and you know he’s playing really well right now, and obviously new system, new team for him. I thought he played well this last game. As far as Peters, you know, he’s a longtime vet in this league; he’s very savvy; route recognition; tends to jump some routes and has some success doing that, so we gotta be aware of where he’s at and who he’s on because he can impact a game.”
To which, one last question about offensive personnel was asked by another reporter:
On 12-man personnel after Week 1 action
“I think we’re gonna continue to grow with it and try to try different things and new things with those guys and to see what best suits us. But in terms of, you know, getting Stef in the slot and Dalton and Dawson to one side and just kind of working off of that — again, that part of our game plan will grow as time comes. But I’m excited to see how that can go.”