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Why this year's combine is less stressful for Bills GM Brandon Beane

INDIANAPOLIS – Brandon Beane joked Thursday that he’s resting more comfortably now than he was a year ago at this time.

That’s because he’s not obsessing over who is going to play quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. That job belongs to Josh Allen, with Matt Barkley and Derek Anderson behind him.

“I sleep a little bit better than I was last year at this time,” Beane said Thursday during his press conference with the national media at the NFL scouting combine. “It's nice to know that we found a guy we believe in. We've got to do the right thing and build around him and add pieces, obviously, on offense.”

Allen is entrenched as the starter, which is a much different position than the Bills found themselves in last year after he was drafted.

“We had a three-quarterback battle last year, which is not ideal,” Beane said. “For Josh to be able to line up with the 'ones' as soon as he gets here in mid-April will just help set the tone for our offense. He missed out on some reps that we would have liked to have gotten him had we known he would end up being the 'one' as quick as he was, but it played out the way it did and obviously that will help us this year.”

The Bills will do their due diligence on this year’s class of quarterbacks, but the reality is the position is not high on the priority list.

“We didn't really focus as much on this year,” Beane said, referring to the team’s thought process a year ago at this time. “We kind of were in a transition. Sean and I just got here and we felt that the franchise quarterback was not on our roster at the time. And so we started making moves, traded a few players to acquire more picks. … Fortunately, we were able to get high enough to get Josh. I didn't focus a lot on this draft. It was more we knew there were some guys, with (Sam) Darnold and Baker (Mayfield) and Lamar (Jackson) and (Josh) Rosen. We knew there were some guys to focus on and we thought it was the best opportunity, if we could at least get in the top 10, we’d be able to get a guy that we felt could be a guy for us long term.

“It’s hard to have sustained success if you don't have a true franchise guy. If you look at the teams that are in the playoffs currently, every year, those names don't change. Nine times out of 10, they’ve got a good quarterback. So we thought that was the right chance to get a guy for the long term.”

Here are some of the other topics Beane touched on Thursday.

University at Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson and wide receiver Anthony Johnson: “Those guys are good players. Obviously we're very familiar with them in town. We've scouted them, saw them at the Senior Bowl. You root for them, because you root for the program and Lance (Leipold). He's done a great job. Even though I don't personally know them, they're not my kids, but you feel like you're rooting for them. But we have to put them where we see them fitting. We can't select them because they went to UB. But they're both good players, they're both going to get drafted and hopefully they both land in situations that are good systems for them to go play.”

On the hiring of Dennis Lock as the team’s director of football research and strategy: “He had a role in Miami where he was very tied into the coaching staff and what they were doing, but also some personnel stuff. So this time of year, he'll be more personnel-driven, bringing us some analytical stuff and models and things like that and just basically putting a lot of data together that we do with grades and testing numbers and things like that. Just another checks and balances. And then in season, he'll work less with personnel and more with the coaches in the game-planning process. We’ll look at game management, things like that, so he'll touch a lot of different areas along with Luis (Guilamo), so we just look at it as adding another piece and try and grow what we've already started in the analytics.”

On the addition of offensive lineman Spencer Long: "We were trying to make some moves on our O-line and Spencer was released by the Jets. We watched Spencer last year in the free-agent market and the Jets bid for him and got him. But he's a guy that has a lot of starts, has experience. He can play multiple spots, center and guard, and so we just look at him as added competition to what we're doing. We're not slating him in at one spot. We’ll continue to add pieces and he'll compete, just like the rest of the crew, and we'll see how it shakes out.”

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