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Strive because the Buffalo Bills would possibly in in search of to begin contemporary on a brand new season, the sting of these notorious 13 seconds nonetheless lingers some six months later.
In opening coaching camp on Sunday earlier than a sold-out crowd of about 6,000 followers serving as a loud and boisterous backdrop of the sky-high Super Bowl expectations revolving across the staff, the Payments had been unable to complete the day with out reflecting again on how their earlier season ended abruptly in January.
The frustration of blowing a three-point lead within the ultimate 13 seconds of regulation of an eventual 42-36 extra time loss to Kansas Metropolis in an AFC divisional playoff stays arduous to shake.
Quarterback Josh Allen declared, “We have got a brand new mindset,” earlier than including: “We’re a staff that’s obtained to discover a manner.”
With out mentioning the playoff loss particularly, coach Sean McDermott addressed a query about expectations by noting: “The expertise that we went by way of final season ought to assist us this season.”
And security Jordan Poyer shook his head in recalling how ticked off he turned upon being requested about what occurred in these ultimate moments whereas showing on former Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill’s podcast this spring.
“That stuff undoubtedly motivates you within the offseason. However clearly, it’s a brand new 12 months,” Poyer mentioned. “You don’t wish to dread previously, as a result of then you possibly can’t look ahead sooner or later.”
For all of the success the Payments have loved in claiming two consecutive AFC East titles for the primary time since a four-year run throughout their Jim Kelly-led heydays from 1988-91, the gamers have unfinished enterprise to deal with it doesn’t matter what the odds-makers counsel in pegging them as Tremendous Bowl favorites at plus-650.
“I’m glad that the individuals like us. I respect that. Nevertheless it doesn’t imply something,” normal supervisor Brandon Beane mentioned. “The AFC is stacked. I imply, whoever makes it out of the AFC (may have) had a heck of a 12 months this 12 months simply that gauntlet. I’m not even fearful concerning the different half of the league.”
On paper, at the least, the Payments have purpose to be counted among the many NFL’s elite.
At 26 and getting into his fifth season, Allen has established himself as one of many league’s high quarterbacks. The NFL’s top-ranked protection a 12 months in the past, meantime, upgraded a middling go rush with the free-agent addition of Von Miller, the league’s lively chief in sacks, who’s contemporary off of profitable his second profession title with the Los Angeles Rams.
“Yeah, it’s excessive expectations. It’s been excessive expectations for some time,” Miller mentioned. “Expectations are a privilege. Strain is a privilege. There’s a variety of strain right here in Buffalo and we simply wish to proceed to take it someday at a time and see the place we will get.”
Poyer expressed hope he and the Payments can attain a contract extension, together with his new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, attending camp. The 31-year-old Poyer is getting into the ultimate season of his contract and skipped the entire staff’s voluntary spring practices earlier than attending the staff’s two obligatory classes final month.
“Drew is right here at the moment speaking issues out with Brandon and I do know they’re each working issues out on either side,” Poyer mentioned. “I’m simply actually excited to be right here with my teammates and to see the blokes once more and to begin this journey and attempt to get higher each single day.”
Beane cited his coverage of not discussing contract talks in declining to remark.
DOWN THE THRUWAY
The Payments are again on the highway for camp for the primary time since 2019 after COVID-19 restricted the staff to spend the previous two years at its headquarters in Orchard Park, New York.
A lot has modified for the reason that Payments final made the 90-minute drive east on the New York State Thruway to the St. John Fisher campus in suburban Rochester, the place they’ve held coaching camp since 2000. Other than the Division III faculty going from calling itself a school to college, of the Payments 90-player roster solely 26 have attended camp at Fisher.
Every of the 14 scheduled practices are offered out.
Allen was steps away from the interview tent when somebody within the stands yelled out: “Josh Allen, you’re my father!”
A smiling Miller couldn’t get by way of his information convention with out being interrupted by a close-by fan, chanting “Von Mil-ler!”
“The vitality is simply so nice. It’s arduous attempting to come back over right here and do that interview with you guys,” Miller mentioned. “You simply wish to shake fingers and kiss infants and signal autographs and do all that stuff.”