Orchard Park, New York – In his three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, former holer receiver Cole Beasley had 231 assists from Josh Allen.
Beasley was one of Allen’s most trusted targets. He was one of the people who helped Allen rise to stardom. He was voted All Pro for the first time in his career in 2020.
Bills released Beasley in March to add nearly $6 million in cover space as they uploaded – inking Von Miller’s first pass-through 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 NFL protocols took center stage in 2021.
Whatever eventually led to Beasley’s departure – he has not yet signed for another team – left a hole in the hole in Allen’s attack.
When asked about Paisley’s absence and whether it could create a problem 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 MacKenzie really stood out in the spring with his attention to detail when it came to the nuances of the game. But Billings signed veteran slot receiver 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 will be fun to see these guys out on the field. I am not sure how they will be packed, 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 they’ve had for the past few years. I want that. We’re going to have to speed it up a 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 has been one of the standout artists since the spring semester. He’s had a lot of big plays sprinkled during training and looks ready to drop last season behind him. After winning the kick-and-draw replay 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 let some people know along the way and if they don’t believe me then, OK. Or show people along the way—if they don’t believe it OK. I keep going. That’s how I look at it. I I don’t take any day for granted. I work out and it shows every year.”