How Josh Allen adjusts to significant change at Bills' OTAs

Buffalo Bills' starting QB Josh Allen enters his seventh NFL season but will have a new center for the first time since 2019.
May 24, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) during OTA's at the
May 24, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) during OTA's at the / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills are asking quarterback Josh Allen to do something that he hasn't done in five years.

After releasing starting center Mitch Morse as a salary cap casualty, the Bills disclosed a plan to move left guard Connor McGovern into the vacant spot on the offensive line. For the first time since Allen's rookie season, the three-time NFL MVP finalist will be forced to work with a primary center not named Morse.

For 77 games, including all 17 regular season starts in 2023, Morse and Allen were paired together at the center of the formation. In response to the change at the important position, Allen finds himself spending more time around McGovern at the team facility.

"We get here, we're two of the first guys here. We're sitting in the training room, getting stretched out, hanging out right by each other for a good 45 [minutes] to an hour or so. I think that's part of it," said Allen on Tuesday in Orchard Park following OTAs practice. "It's just understanding each other off the field and developing a constant line of communication. The center-quarterback position, that's a lot of it. Understanding how we're talking, who we're talking to, who we're miking, how can communicate, sometimes, non-verbally within a play, too."

The 26-year-old McGovern and the 28-year-old Allen are exactly starting from scratch. The former manned the left guard spot for every Bills' game last season.

"The off-field stuff pays dividends on field. When we're out here we're getting extra reps and making sure that we're just talking through things after the play," said Allen.

McGovern has mainly played the guard position for much of his pro and college careers but possesses the versatility to create a seamless transition. As a college sophomore, he was Penn State's starting center for all 13 games during the 2017 season.

Ralph Ventre