ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- In April, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen said that he has never been "as focused or locked in on football than I am right now."
That approach has continued throughout the offseason, with coach Sean McDermott taking note of Allen's mindset, saying on Tuesday, "I've seen a different Josh this offseason -- not that it was bad before -- but he's got a new sense of focus, I would say, and determination, which is good."
The quarterback's focus is set squarely on doing what it takes for the team to take a step forward and move past the disappointing playoff losses, including enhancing his communication. He also acknowledged an understanding of the team's "window" for success and wanting to give everything he has to take advantage of it.
"I so badly want to bring a Super Bowl here to Buffalo," Allen said Tuesday, "and I just don't want anything to get in the way of allowing me to be the best quarterback that I can be for this team."
That drive is coming as Allen, 27, prepares for his sixth season in the NFL without yet achieving the goal of a Super Bowl win or even appearance. Despite leading in offensive points scored per game over the past three seasons (28.2) and ranking second in yards per game (391.8), the Bills have fallen short in the playoffs in three straight seasons (once in the AFC Championship Game and twice in the divisional round). The Bills have also had the second-best regular-season record since 2019 (72.3%) behind the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have won two Super Bowls, and made three appearances, during that stretch.
Since 2020, no player has accounted for a higher percentage of his team's net yardage (76.6%) or of its offensive touchdowns (80.2%) than Allen. In the past couple of months, the Bills brought in new targets to support the quarterback, including first-round pick tight end Dalton Kincaid, running back Damien Harris and wide receivers Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty. The team has also invested up front in several ways, including drafting O'Cyrus Torrence in the second round.
Part of what Allen is doing more behind the scenes is getting on the same page with those players as the first week of voluntary OTAs continues.
"I think communicating to our playmakers, understanding where I want them and making sure that we're on the same page. Film study, for sure. And then just diving into our playbook, knowing it inside and out," Allen said on where he has been more locked in. "And whether we've got to simplify some things or add more stuff, talking with [offensive coordinator Ken] Dorsey and again, just trying to be a part of his brain and making sure that I'm doing that on the field. And then, just knowing the concepts as well as I can, knowing where my eyes should be and understanding what the defense is trying to do, and how to exploit said defense."
That work continues despite wide receiver Stefon Diggs not being in attendance Tuesday for the first OTAs open to the media. Allen missed part of Monday's activities for personal reasons. While Allen said he'd love to have Diggs present, his absence does open up opportunities for other players, including Sherfield. On the field Tuesday, Allen took some time to give pointers to the likes of rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid on certain routes, something he has also done in the past.
McDermott also said that Allen taking his game to the next level also means being a "great decision-maker." Allen led the league with 19 turnovers in 2022 and has taken the most hits of his career over the past two seasons. While he hasn't missed a game since his rookie season, keeping Allen healthy is a priority. That extends to being smart about Allen's usage. He was second on the team with 124 rushing attempts.
"I want to give everything that I have for as long as I play," Allen said. "I'm not saying that I haven't done that in the past, but there's always new ways that I can find to get better, and not being complacent with what I'm doing on the field, understanding that there's a lot of plays that we left out there. And you know, statistically, you look at it, we were top three, four [in] offense in the league last year, and it wasn't good enough. So, just losing the playoffs isn't fun, you know?"
Von Miller said that he can see that drive to advance further in the postseason, to get the first Super Bowl win in franchise history, in his teammate. "Those other quarterbacks that win a Super Bowl, [Mahomes] got two Super Bowls. Like Josh Allen, he wants the same s---," Miller said. "And I see it in his eyes. He knows he can do it. And every time he comes out here, that is the No. 1 thing, to go out here and compete and win a Super Bowl."
Allen is entering his second season with Dorsey as the team's offensive coordinator, after spending the previous four years of his career with now-New York Giants coach Brian Daboll, and while the communication with the coaching staff has existed, McDermott has seen Allen take on even more of a vocal role.
"His involvement in the offense, his feedback, his communication, it's always been there," McDermott said, "but I think even in a more involved approach in the offense and in his dealings with Coach Dorsey and their communication and everything, so I think that can only be good for the situation."