The offseason has slowed down quite a bit in recent weeks without the usual spring practices for the Buffalo Bills.
But things heated up for the Bills offense down in Miami, Florida, this week when almost the entire offense convened in the Sunshine State to get to work ahead of a 2020 season with loads of expectations.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been getting his first reps in with new no. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs, who Buffalo acquired by trade with Minnesota in March.
Photographer Joe Croom has been down in Miami documenting the week and appeared on the Buffalo Fanatics Instagram Live show on Saturday night and shared some details from the week.
When Allen first started tossing to Diggs and the other receivers and tight ends in attendance, Diggs decided to break the ice with a little joke.
“Oh man, Josh. They said you threw the ball hard. I don’t know what this is,” Diggs joked while the group was warming up.
WATCH: Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen meets & throws to WR Stefon Diggs for first time
Bills receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley, who also were at the workouts, laughed at the joke and warned Diggs what was coming next.
“All the wide receivers who know Josh were like, ‘You better chill,’” Croom said. “Diggs was like, ‘You better not throw hard — you break my fingers and I’ll tell on you.’”
Without a traditional offseason program everything Allen and Diggs have done to this point has been over video conference call. Diggs has been working hard to learn the playbook but nothing can replace real live reps. Croom said Diggs’ integration with the other players was seamless.
Here are five things we learned from Croom’s interview with Rico from Buffalo Fanatics.
1. Who put this whole thing together?
You guessed it: Josh Allen.
“As far as I know this was Josh’s idea,” Croom said. “Josh sent a text to everybody and said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna meet down in Florida.’ They all got the same hotel. He’s like orchestrating this whole thing for everybody to blend. They were only together three days and you would of thought they lived together.”
Allen’s leadership ability has been apparent ever since he was drafted by the Bills seventh overall in 2018. When more than a dozen free agents signed with the Bills last offseason, each one stepped to the podium for their introductory press conference and all of them said the first player they heard from was Allen.
At least 20 players attended the workouts this week. Even left tackle Dion Dawkins was there.
2. Who led the workouts?
Bills fourth string quarterback Davis Webb? If you talk to folks with the Buffalo organization, Webb’s football acumen is almost unmatched. He’s been in the NFL since 2017, been in multiple systems and with three different teams, and backed up Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech while he was in college.
It’s not surprising to learn that he’s already been able to develop a deep understanding for the Bills’ scheme and led the practices in Florida like a player/coach.
“(Practices have) been extremely strict,” Croom explained. “Davis Webb, you think of him like the backup quarterback, but he is probably the most strict, demanding, attentive to detail person I’ve ever met in my life. He ran the show. People are probably googling him like ‘Who the hell is Davis Webb.’ It blew my mind.”
3. How much did Allen work with Diggs?
Every rep that Allen or Diggs were apart of during the Florida practices, they made sure they were both rotated into the rep.
“Allen took all the reps with Diggs,” Croom said. “Allen, even if he wasn’t in line with where the sequence would line up, he would make sure he’d line up with (Diggs).”
4. How did Allen look overall?
“He’s bigger. He’s got some more muscle on him. He has a lot more control over his throws,” Croom said. “He’s dropping some dimes, bro. He threw a pass that I couldn’t even count the yardage to Rob Foster — over his head — and hit him in his chest so loud that you thought he belly-flopped into a pool. Everybody at the facility just froze and we were just like: ‘You alright, Rob?’”
5. More details on Diggs
Croom worked with Diggs last offseason when he was taking photographs at a similar workout setup. Even then he noticed that the receiver liked to put his head down and get to work.
“He’s just a work ethic guy. Kind of like a hard hat — OK, let me just grab my hard hat and go to work — and a keep it to yourself kind of guy,” Croom said. “But once he gets to open up (it’s different). When he was talking to Beasley and John Brown you would think they knew each other for their whole life. It’s not like he was distant or like, ‘Let me go sit away.’ He’s just a talkative (guy). Especially because he’s learning a new playbook and trying to get a good understanding on how to do things and the communication was all there.
“One thing that separates him from everyone else would be his work ethic. They work out in groups out here like wide receiver groups, and Diggs surpasses everyone. You know how people look at working out like a chore sometimes? I feel like it does something for him because you never get to see somebody go 110 percent and you’re just practicing or working out. But that’s Diggs.”
Croom is set to appear on the “Bills Talk with Matt Parrino” podcast on Sunday. Make sure you’re subscribed on your favorite podcast app — iTunes, Spotify, Google, Acast — to listen when the show drops.
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