Buffalo Bills slot receiver Cole Beasley is being targeted less in the last four games, than he was in the beginning of this season. That’s a mistake.
The Buffalo Bills opened the 2019 season impressively, winning five of six games. In their last four, they have gone 2-2. The two wins (plus the one which made them 5-1) were against two of the three worst teams in football, Washington and Miami. What’s troubling is that the Bills are getting away from something that made them successful early on, throwing to Cole Beasely.
This past offseason the Buffalo Bills took aim at improving their wide receivers. They signed John Brown away from Baltimore, for three years, $27M as well as Cole Beasley away from Dallas for four years, $29M. While Brown has been everything the Bills could have asked for and more in 2019, Beasley at times is the forgotten man in the offense.
What made Beasley such a big addition is that he is often uncoverable in the slot. He may lack in size (5-8, 175 pounds), but that is made up by his speed and route running ability. Two areas that set him apart from most at his position. Unfortunately, Buffalo is not taking advantage of those talents over the past six games.
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In the first four contests, in which the Bills were 3-1, Beasley was targeted 36 times. He caught 24 passes for 246 yards. Since the loss to the Pats on September 29, Beasley has been the target 28 times, hauling in 19 passes for 203 yards. Even though Buffalo used a three receiver set most of the game in Miami, last Sunday, he was on the field for 60 snaps. Beasley only had four targets.
The math doesn’t add up. Why get away from something that winner written all over it? Utilizing Beasley in the slot should be a key for the Buffalo Bills every week. By getting him the ball, defenses they play against have to change. First the linebackers can’t blitz as often because Beasley will come through an area they just vacated. That result is less pressure on Josh Allen and also gives him as well as the running backs, space to run.
Additionally, completing short-to-middle distance passes will open up the field for John Brown and whomever is the third receiver du jour. The safeties can’t just go with Brown and double as often because Beasley can break a short pass into a long gain with his speed.
It’s hard to tell if Beasley’s lack of use recently is due to a coaching decision or Josh Allen decision. Either way, the Bills are missing out on a fantastic way to create opportunities for the entire offense.