Bills begin offseason program with fresh new faces on offense

April 14, 2019 - 5:21 pm
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When the Buffalo Bills report for their first round of offseason workouts Monday in Orchard Park, players may have to have a meet-and-greet session just to get to know one another. The team signed seventeen unrestricted free agents from other NFL clubs so far this offseason, more than any other team in the league. Of those 17, 13 are on the offensive side of the ball, where head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane clearly prioritized their free agent money and resources.

While McDermott’s squad will be on the field for the first time, the Bills' head coach isn’t allowed to be out there with them just yet. Neither is offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, or any of their position coaches during what’s referred to as “Phase One.”

Phase One is the first two weeks of the nine-week offseason program. Here are the main details of Phase One, specifically outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

  • Two weeks in duration.
  • Only strength and conditioning coaches who have no other coaching responsibilities are allowed on the field with players, who can only be there to participate in basic strength and conditioning or rehabilitation exercises, and some “dead ball” activities (see below for definition).  
  • Players can only be on the field for a maximum of 90 minutes per-day.
  • The team can only specify a two-hour window for players to be at the facility. Players can choose the other two hours for lifting weights, running, etc..
  • No helmets or pads are allowed to be worn.

“Dead ball” explanation, according to the NFLPA:

  • Quarterbacks can throw to receivers, with no coverage from any defenders.
  • Kickers and punters can kick, but players cannot field the ball and no snappers or holders can be involved.
  • Long snappers can snap into a net.
  • Defensive players may not catch balls at all regardless of who is throwing them.

The other big change on the offense is under center. No, the Bills don't have a new quarterback. In fact, all three quarterbacks who finished last season are back to start 2019. But Josh Allen, who was part of a three-man competition a year ago after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, now enters Year 2 as the unquestioned starter.  

Also, it’s important to remember players aren't required to be in attendance. All workouts are voluntary. Of course coaches hope every player shows up, and even expects them to, in most cases, but players are under no obligation to be at One Bills Drive yet. If they aren’t present, they can’t be fined or suspended by the team or league.

WGR will be on hand Monday morning as players begin their first day workouts. We are expecting to hear from quarterback Josh Allen, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, as well both McDermott an Beane in the early afternoon.



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