For the past three offseasons, Bills quarterback Josh Allen has held a good chunk of his spring and summer work in Dana Point, California, under the tutelage of quarterback guru Jordan Palmer.
That’s where the former No. 7 overall pick linked up with New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who was picked third overall in the same draft in 2018. Darnold worked with Palmer, too.
The two hit it off immediately and have become close friends in the years since they were drafted. They’re often seen together at media events (they appeared on an episode of Barstool’s Pizza Review together) and compete off the field, like in a closest-to-the-pin challenge at Augusta last summer. The irony of the friendship is that Allen and Darnold quarterback rival teams in the same division.
Fans would probably prefer there be a certain level of distain when it comes to the competition between the two. But Allen said recently on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Darnold is “one of the greatest dudes” he’s ever met.
“I love being around him,” Allen said during an interview with hosts Bill Lekas and Palmer. “Watching him throw and throwing with him has been awesome. It is a little friendly competition there and (I’ve been) able to pick some stuff up from him.”
The pressure that comes along with being an NFL quarterback, and in Allen and Darnold’s case being high first-round picks, can be overwhelming.
Allen said that due to their draft position and similar landing spots (on the East Coast), the two have been able to forge and build a bond.
“We’ve been able to rely on each other,” Allen said. “Just kind of lean on each other I guess and just throughout the year. Texting each other and just making sure like we’re both doing OK, and we’re both adjusting well to it. So we’ve kind of had similar situations and it’s fun to have somebody like that that’s kind of going through the same things.”
On the field Allen has always downplayed the rivalry because the two players go against the opposing team’s defense. There’s no one-on-one element to the game for quarterbacks. When it comes to their games, Allen called Darnold a naturally gifted thrower.
“I’ll say this about Sam, as a thrower I don’t know if you can find somebody that spins the ball more than he does. He spins it so well that the ball is really shaking,” Allen said. “And it’s just weird to watch from behind because the ball is just moving in the air because it spins so much. ... He’s naturally gifted when it comes to that. He’s smart, he gets football and he gets my movie quotes that I always throw out.”
Allen said the two QBs learn from each other and the experiences they’ve had in the league. The conversations generally stay on a basic level, but they definitely share ideas when they’re in the lab working on their games.
“(I’ve taken) some things from his mechanics and tried to apply them to my game and vice versa,” Allen said. “Just kind of picking each other’s brains as far as defenses and types of concepts that we’re running. We don’t get too deep. So I don’t know if my coaches (are listening). But we don’t get too deep, but it’s fun to kind of talk to somebody who’s kind of going through the same thing.”
Allen and Darnold meet in Week 1 of the 2020 season for the second year in a row. The Bills and Jets play in Orchard Park on Sept. 13.
Bills announce season ticket holders can skip ‘20
The Buffalo Bills announced on Tuesday that season ticket holders will have the option to skip the 2020 season without any penalty amid the coronavirus pandemic that is putting fan attendance for the NFL season in jeopardy, according to the team’s website.
“All season ticket members will be given the opportunity to opt out of their season ticket commitment for this season with an option to return for the 2021 season while maintaining their account seniority and seat location,” the team relayed in a statement. “An email with opt-out information will be sent in the coming days.”
The Bills join teams like the New England Patriots and the New York Giants who have also communicated to fans that they can skip the season without any penalty. In the statement the Bills said that the possibility that no fans will be allowed at New Era Field this season.
“We continue to work with the NFL and state and local government agencies to establish policies and procedures to create and maintain the safest possible environment for spectators,” it said.
The league and teams are establishing guidelines for the upcoming season as it pertains to games and fan attendance. With that process still ongoing, the team announced that it has paused season ticket payments.
“Please understand that in a reduced capacity scenario, seat locations and availability for season ticket members may be adjusted.”
For more information the Bills ask that you contact your account representative.