CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Josh Allen looked Cole Beasley’s way five times Friday night.
All five times, the Buffalo Bills’ quarterback connected with the wide receiver who is quickly becoming his favorite target. Beasley turned those five catches into 44 yards during the Bills’ 27-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
The trip to the Carolinas was a productive one for the Allen-to-Beasley connection. The duo hooked up for three completions during each of the two joint practices with the Panthers, then continued building their chemistry Friday night.
The former Cowboys receiver, who signed a four-year contract worth up to $29 million with the Bills in March, made a 5-yard reception on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later, he helped the Bills pick up a third-and-5 with a 9-yard gain.
“Really all I'm trying to do is just do my part, get separation, get some easy throws for him and just help out the team as much as I can,” Beasley said. “If that's moving the sticks on third down, that's what I'm going to do.”
Later on the opening drive, Beasley took a bubble screen 10 yards for a first down inside the red zone. He would add two more catches for 20 yards before his work with the starters was done after two series.
“I feel like the last couple of days, I've taken a lot of steps forward,” Beasley said. “The more reps I can get with the guys, with Josh, the better. As we keep going, we'll keep getting better and better and continue to grow.”
A core muscle injury in the spring severely limited Beasley’s practice time, meaning he’s had to play catch-up during training camp. So far, so good in that regard.
"It's just repetition in practice, and then meeting, you know, when we're sitting there talking about these little routes that he's running underneath, just watching different clips over and over and just asking what he would do in this situation, what he would expect for me in this situation, and vice versa,” Allen said. “Having that open line of communication where when we get on the field, we've talked about this. I know he's going to do this move, whatever it is, because we've talked about it a lot. That's going to only continue to get better.”
Allen then brought up an example, explaining that one of his completions to Beasley on Friday was thrown to the wrong shoulder.
“There's still room to grow,” Beasley said. “We've only had, what, three or four weeks together? The longer we play together, (we’ll) keep building that chemistry. … We're nowhere near perfect, so we've just got to keep grinding, and keep taking it one day at a time and keep stacking days together.”
Beasley made it clear when he signed he was looking forward to a more expanded role in Buffalo than he got in Dallas, and if Friday night was any indication, that’s what is to come. With the depth chart at tight end currently ravaged by injuries, the Bills need a security blanket for Allen. Beasley can be that. According to analytics website Pro Football Focus, 72.5 percent of Beasley’s targets in 2018 had at least one step of separation, the most in the league.
Against almost any defender in one-on-one situations, he’s a mismatch, which is what offensive coordinator Brian Daboll centers his game plan around trying to exploit.
“It's a lot of fun playing in this offense,” Beasley said. “It's a lot of fun playing with Josh and the rest of the guys. When it's fun, it's easy to come to work and it's easier for everybody to get better.”
Beasley played his high school football in the Dallas area, before going to college at SMU and then making the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. The lifelong Texan has quickly adapted to his new surroundings, though.
“It's just like high school football for me again,” he said. “It's been the most fun I've had since then. I'm just having a blast playing football with these guys.”