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|The only time Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen ever felt rattled on his first day of practice was shortly after the session ended Friday.
That's when coach Sean McDermott escorted the first-round pick to the sideline and introduced him to Jim Kelly in what became a meeting of the team's hopeful future and legendary past.
"I'm still shaking from meeting him Paul Stastny Jersey ," Allen said.
Though Allen grew up in central California and played college at Wyoming, the 21-year-old is very aware of who Kelly is and what he means to Buffalo.
"It's all on the wall," Allen said, pointing the four AFC Championship banners the Kelly-led teams won from 1990-'93.
Allen also knows how tough Kelly is in his ongoing battle with cancer.
"I can't say anything else but he's a special man. He's been through a lot," he said. "And to be in the spirits that he is and to come out here and show support for the Buffalo Bills, that just shows to me how much he means to Buffalo and Buffalo means to him. It's awesome."
Kelly made a surprise visit for the start of two-day rookie minicamp some six weeks after his latest operation to have cancer removed from his jaw.
Kelly walked with a cane and had difficulty speaking. He raised his right thumb while he and Allen posed for pictures. Said Kelly: "It's the best thing I can do: Thumbs up."
The Bills are pinning their hopes on Allen to fill what's been their most unsettled position since Kelly retired following the 1996 season.
Buffalo traded up five spots in the draft order to select him with the No. 7 pick two weeks ago. Allen became just the fourth quarterback selected by Buffalo in the first round, and first chosen in the top 10 of the draft order.
He joins a team once again shuffling starters after Tyrod Taylor was traded to Cleveland in March despite helping Buffalo to a 9-7 finish and end a 17-year playoff drought.
At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Allen is a raw, but strong-armed and athletic quarterback. He was a two-year starter at Wyoming, where he completed 365 of 649 for 5,066 yards with 44 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
Allen was knocked for his relatively low completion percentage of 56.2 and mechanics, something he spent working on this offseason.
McDermott isn't providing any guarantees in saying Allen will compete for the starting job with offseason free-agent addition A.J. McCarron and second-year player Nathan Peterman.
"We've got a plan in place for all of our players, and in this case Josh, in terms of bringing them along at the right pace," McDermott said.
Allen threw a few wobbly or high passes to his right. He was far more accurate with passes to his left and over the middle. Allen showed off his strong arm Mason Crosby Jersey , by completing several deep passes, including one to rookie seventh-round pick Austin Proehl.
He was also intercepted once during one-on-one drills. His hard, high pass over the middle slipped through receiver William Scott's hands and to a defensive back.
"I felt like I've made a lot of strides," Allen said. "I felt like I put the ball where it needed to be most of the time. Obviously, there's some throws that I would like back. But as we progress through this rookie minicamp and through the rookie developmental period, I plan to improve every day."
He was pleased in learning how Kelly was overheard praising a few of his throws.
Allen said Kelly first contacted him by text in welcoming him to Buffalo the day after being drafted.
"Hopefully, in the near future we can keep that relationship going," Allen said. "Any rookie that can develop a mentorship with a former quarterback like Jim Kelly, it's going to be huge."
NOTES: The Bills signed fourth-round pick, Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson. That leaves their top-three selections unsigned, including third-round pick, Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. ... The Bills also signed 12 undrafted free agents including Arizona guard Gerhard De Beer, who is from South Africa. He was a Pac-12 discuss throwing champion and made the switch to football. ... Also signed were defensive linemen Mat Boesen (TCU) and Mike Love (South Florida), linebacker Corey Thompson (LSU), cornerbacks Ryan Carter (Clemson) and Levi Wallace (Alabama) Joe Staley Jersey , running back Keith Ford (Texas A and M), receivers Robert Foster (Alabama) and Cam Phillips (Virginia Tech), offensive linemen Ike Boettger (Iowa) and Mo Porter (Baylor), and Penn State kicker Tyler Davis.
DETROIT (AP) — Sam Darnold rolled right and made a rookie move, lobbing a football across the field that was picked off and returned for a touchdown.
It might’ve been his only mistake all night.
Darnold made a stellar debut after throwing a pick-6 on his first NFL snap, and the New York Jets intercepted five passes and also scored on special teams in a 48-17 rout over the Detroit Lions on Monday night.
The 21-year-old Darnold became the youngest quarterback to start a season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and looked his age on the first play.
“Licking my chops a little bit too much, I think, on that play,” he said
Quandre Diggs intercepted his ill-advised pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown 20 seconds into the game.
“On that interception, I was pretty nervous,” Darnold said. “After that, I put it behind me.”
The former USC star, drafted No. 3 overall, shook off the nerves and finished 16 of 21 for 198 yards and two touchdowns . He is the first quarterback to win his first start by 31 or more points since Tom Brady in 2001 Youth Trent Brown Jersey , per ESPN Stats & Info.
“He didn’t flinch,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “He didn’t even blink.”
Darnold helped the Jets set a franchise record for points on the road, surpassing the 47 they scored in 1967 against the Boston Patriots.
He also outplayed 30-year-old Matthew Stafford.
Stafford threw four interceptions — one shy of his career high — and left the game briefly in the third quarter after being hit from the front and back by the swarming, hard-hitting Jets.
“We wanted to make sure we came out and made a statement in this game,” New York linebacker Darron Lee said.
Stafford was 27 of 46 for 286 yards and a TD pass to Golden Tate early in the third quarter to tie it at 17. He was mercifully taken out midway through the fourth quarter and replaced by Matt Cassel with Detroit down 31.
“Story of the game’s turnovers, you know?” he asked. “We had too many of them, I had too many of them.”
The Jets dominated in all phases.
They scored 31 straight in the third quarter to pull away, sending Detroit’s fans for the exits and setting off a jolly green party in the Motor City. It was the highest-scoring third quarter in team history and trailed only the 34-point second quarter the Brett Favre-led team scored in 2008 against Arizona.
New York scored on the ground and through the air, on defense and on a punt return by former Lion Andre Roberts. The Jets could’ve piled on even more in the final minutes but turned the ball over on downs after kneeling to take time off the clock. Darnold flipped the ball to a referee after the final kneel down, and the official gave it right back before shaking the rookie’s hand. Darnold was still holding the ball while talking briefly with Stafford on the field.
Detroit coach Matt Patricia, meanwhile, will want to forget his debut as an NFL head coach.
“We’ve got to coach this a lot better than what we did,” he said. “We’ve got to go out and execute a lot better on the field. It’s a team game, and it starts with me.”
New NFL head coaches dropped to 0-6 in Week 1, with Oakland’s Jon Gruden the group’s final hope for an opening victory in the Monday nightcap.
Late in the game Youth Terrelle Pryor Sr. Jersey , just before Cassel threw an interception, hundreds of New York fans chanted: “J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!” A crew clad in green and white filed into seats in four sections along the New York sideline and appeared to outnumber Detroit fans who stuck around for the bitter end.
“That was awesome to be able to see them doing their thing,” Darnold said.
The Jets had played an NFL record 73 games, dating to 2013, without a defensive TD before Lee returned one of his two interceptions 36 yards for a score in the third. Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne and Jamal Adams also picked off passes in a strong start for the Jets self-proclaimed “New Jack City” secondary.
Darnold joined Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston (2015) and Brett Favre (1991) as quarterbacks who had their first pass intercepted and returned for a score.
Jets: CB Johnson (head injury) and CB Buster Skrine (rib) returned to play after leaving the field with injuries. Johnson was evaluated after he intercepted a pass and fumbled after taking a hard hit from Detroit receiver Kenny Golladay.
Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah, who has struggled to get and stay healthy, left the game with a shoulder after making four tackles, including a sack. OG T.J. Lang left the game with a back injury. CB Darius Slay returned to play after leaving the field to be evaluated for a concussion.
Jets: Host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Lions: Visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.