Orchard Park – In his three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, former slot receiver Cole Beasley had 231 assists from Josh Allen.
Beasley was one of Allen’s most trusted targets. He was one of the players who helped Allen rise to stardom. He was voted an All-Pro for the first time in his career in 2020.
The Bills released a Beasley edition in March to add nearly $6 million in cover space as they uploaded – inking Von Miller’s first pass to a six-figure, multi-year deal – to tour the Super Bowl. Paisley approached the team asking for a deal after his role waned a bit last season, and his public disagreements with the NFL’s COVID protocols took center stage in 2021.
Whatever eventually led to Beasley’s departure – he has not yet signed with another team – left a hole in the hole in Allen’s attack. When asked about Paisley’s absence and whether it could cause trouble this season, Allen was quick to jump to remind reporters in May of a simple fact: He’s played with Mackenzie longer than Paisley.
“Isaiah has been here for four years,” Allen said.
Bills signed McKenzie in 2018 from waivers from the Denver Broncos the year before to acquire Beasley in free agency. Mackenzie has been with Allen since his rookie season, clearly playing a much smaller role than the one he’s auditioning for this summer. Allen said that MacKenzie really stood out in the spring with his attention to detail when it came to the nuances of the game.
But the bills fell on veteran recipient Jamison Crowder. This could complicate McKenzie’s path to the launch role. Allen even added that Crowder has been “too big for us” since he signed back in March.
“Just seeing some of the things he (Crowder) can do, the things he brings to the table, the knowledge he has, and helping Isaiah out,” Allen said. “It’s going to be fun to see these guys on the field. I’m not sure how they will be mobilized, who will be on the field at all times or what the case will be. I think time will tell, but we have a lot of players with a lot of different abilities and we will try to make the best of their strengths. we can “.
MacKenzie has closely watched the past three years to try to extrapolate to exactly how Paisley managed to get Allen to trust him to deliver the plays. The two had a connection and eventually worked toward an unspoken atmosphere on the field that led to all of their success.
That’s what MacKenzie wants to find now with Allen.
“We’re communicating like him and Pace has been communicating[all over the OTAs and the little camp],” McKenzie said. “I want that chemistry in the last few years they’ve had. I want that. We’re going to have to speed it up a little bit because the season is around the corner.”
McKenzie said it was the sure words and gestures that Paisley and Allen would exchange that defined their connection on the field. The 27-year-old hopes to add some tweaks to his relationship with Allen.
“Maybe we can innovate our own one day,” he said. “But being behind Pace has taught me a lot. Just watching him run down the roads and how he reads covers and everything. …Josh was so intrigued with what I can do now that Pace is gone. We’ve been on the same page so far and I want to keep it that way” .
MacKenzie was one of the leading artists of Spring. He’s had a lot of big plays sprinkled during training and looks ready to drop last season behind him.
After winning replay and kick positions to start the season, a surprise flop against the Indianapolis Colts forced him to the bench. He returned later in the season and played one of the biggest games of the year by Future in a road win against the New England Patriots.
The key to his strength in Buffalo was his unstoppable will to never stop going.
“I look at the noise but I don’t listen to it,” he said. “Whether it’s in the field or off, I do what I do. I might tell some people along the way and if they don’t believe me, OK. Or show people along the way – if they don’t believe it OK. I’ll go on. That’s how I look at it. I don’t take any day Take for granted. I work and it shows every year.”