ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — When the Bills traded for Stefon Diggs in March, fans hoped there would be an immediate connection between the team’s new number-one receiver and Josh Allen.
The connection is beginning, but there’s nothing immediate about it.
The two met for the first time about two weeks ago at a Josh Allen-organized training session for the offense in Florida.
“I obviously was anxious as well as anybody to meet Stef and to see kind of what he was about,” says Allen.
The two had gotten to know each other a little bit by playing video games, specifically “Call of Duty: Warzone.”
Allen had heard all the stories about some of the issues that Diggs had in Minnesota and after getting to know him, Allen feels that Diggs got a “bad rap.”
“He’s a guy that everybody in the locker room is going to love and for him to be, one- such an explosive player, but two- he’s going to be a great guy in the locker room that guys can look on and he’s going to be a leader for us,” says Allen.
Allen was impressed with the attitude and work ethic Diggs showed during the Florida workout.
“This man loves to work. He loves to get on the field and run routes and talk to the guys and explain how he’s running routes and explain what works for him to these young cats. It was very awesome to see just the amount of detail that he puts into his craft. How communicative he was, how willing he was to learn,” says Allen. “He wasn’t there for himself, he was there for the betterment of the team and he wanted to hang out with the guys and wanted to learn and get to know the guys.”
While it’s good to know that the two are getting along so far, the important thing is that they’re finally getting to throw to each other. That’s something they’ve missed dearly without a typical offseason.
“The challenge is just going to be the comfortability, with understanding his routes, when he’s going to break them, his body language, but that’ll come over time,” says Allen.
Allen isn’t too concerned about it, citing how quickly he was able to build a rapport with Cole Beasley.
“I think me and Cole went through that last year. We didn’t have the offseason together and we got to the training camp. It was just a couple of tweaks here or there. Just understanding how low he gets in some of his cuts and how quick he gets out of them. Knowing how to place the ball for him,” says Allen. “I think that’s going to be the same struggle I’m going to have with Stef but I think it’s going to be cleared up as soon as we start getting out there and throwing the ball. It won’t take much time in my opinion.”
The virtual offseason has been tough on the entire team, but the Bills are doing the best they can with the hand they’ve been dealt.
“These guys want to work and we’ve been continuing to do that. We’ve got a lot of stuff going in right now. The install stuff is not easy. Our guys have been paying really hard attention,” says Allen.
“They’ve been going through their stuff by themselves, they’ve been calling each other and going it over with each other. When we went down to Miami, we were calling plays, we were running plays. We were running some of our stuff that we’re going to do in the season. The way that you learn virtually, it takes a second to hit your brain and then apply it to the field,” adds Allen. “When we get back, it’s going to take some time, but I definitely think we’re on a good track right now and we’re going to continue to keep on climbing.”
Like the rest of the world, technical difficulties have made things more challenging for Allen and the Bills as they try to learn an NFL playbook through Zoom.
“We were in a meeting and we were going over the whiteboard and I was supposed to be going over the plays and giving cadence. 20 minutes later I get a text from Pat DeMarco like ‘hey are you in this thing?’ And I looked down and I had to open it up and I was on mute the whole time,” says Allen. “So I missed out a good 20 minutes to talk about some plays but we’ll make it up eventually.”
The Bills began their final week of the virtual offseason today. Allen says they’re trying to set up one final workout session before they all reunite in Buffalo for training camp.
After that, it’ll be a cram session for Allen, Diggs, and the rest of the team before the season opener on September 13th.