Browns' Taylor faces Bills; Mayfield-Allen spicy subplots

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, right, avoids a tackle by Carolina Panthers defensive back Dezmen Southward during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A week before launching his first pass in a competitive NFL setting, rookie quarterback Josh Allen stood in awe amid a throng of Buffalo Bills fans who were not only chanting his name but also that of his mother.

“Mrs. Allen! Mrs. Allen!” they yelled, trying to get the attention of LaVonne Allen, who was standing on New Era Field following a recent practice, watching her son signing countless autographs.

“I’m just kind of speechless right now,” Josh Allen said, referring to the attention he and his mother have received since training camp opened three weeks ago.

“It’s really cool to feel wanted by the fans,” he added, noting there’s nothing during his playing days at Wyoming that compares to what he’s experienced since arriving in Buffalo. “I’m just trying to be the best quarterback possible. So as long as I’m playing well and improving every day, I will just continue this.”

The Bills’ first-round draft pick took his first big step in that process during Buffalo’s 28-23 preseason-opening loss to Carolina on Thursday night.

A loud cheer went up following the second-half kickoff, when Allen — in his No. 17 jersey — took the field for the first time. And the buzz grew on the first play, when Allen faked a handoff and effortlessly threw the ball nearly 60 yards only to have receiver Robert Foster catch it just out of bounds along the left sideline.

“You have to love that, right?” coach Sean McDermott said of Allen’s first attempt. “I think the fans appreciated that. I appreciated it. We’re out there, these guys are having fun, and I thought it gave the crowd some juice.”

It wasn’t, however, lost on McDermott that the pass was one of many that fell incomplete, a reflection of how much Allen still has to develop before being deemed ready to take over as the team’s starter.

Allen finished 9 of 19 for 116 yards.

“We looked really good at times last night, and then we saw where we still have a lot of work to do, and Josh is no different,” McDermott said Friday. “He’s a young player, who I thought took a step last night. It was a good step in the right direction.”

“Calculated,” is how McDermott described his approach to Allen. “You can see the arm talent. You can see the special type of player that he could be. But there’s a lot of room for growth between where we are now and where he needs to get to.”

Allen is taking it one step at a time, and focused on not allowing the buzz to distract him.

“I understand that this comes with it, but I’m completely focused on playing football for the Bills,” he said. “I’m here to compete.”

LaVonne Allen is impressed by and grateful for the welcome she and her son have received.

“It’s overwhelming, to be honest with you, to see the love and the passion they have for the game and for Josh,” she said. “They seem excited that he’s here. And he’s as excited as they are.”

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments