Cole Beasley had a career-best 11 catches against the Washington Football Team on Sept. 26, but the Buffalo Bills wide receiver has been almost silent in the two weeks since then.
Bills coach Sean McDermott opened up on the sharp drop in targets and snaps for Beasley in wins over the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, shedding some light on the change in plans while praising the 32-year-old for how well he’s handled the situation.
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Beasley’s New Role
As Nick Fierro of SI.com’s Bills Central noted, Beasley went from quarterback Josh Allen’s top target to a part-timer in almost a blink. Just one week after his 11-catch performance against Washington on Sept. 26, Beasley played in just 50 percent of the team’s offensive snaps against the Texans and went down to 39 percent in the win over the Chiefs.
He had a total of four targets across those two games, catching three passes for 21 yards. Beasley has yet to catch a touchdown this season. As McDermott explained, with so many different playmakers on offense, it’s inevitable that some will be left out.
“It’s hard when you don’t get the football. And I get that,” McDermott said, via Bills Central. “There’s only one football to go around, and sometimes it’s not just one game, it’s two games, it’s three games and how are you going to react? And that’s some of what we look for in the character of our players, because you’re going to go through … some adversity in your career or during a season.”
McDermott said that Beasley has been doing a good job of buying into the team’s game plan for this season and staying professional, hinting that there will be weeks when he’s a top target again. But the drop in production is noticeable, especially after Beasley turned in the best season of his career in 2020, making 82 catches for 967 yards with four touchdowns.
Other Ebbs and Flows for Bills Offense
Beasley isn’t the only Bills receiver to see a sharp change in production this season compared to 2020. Gabriel Davis, who caught 35 passes for 599 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie season, has a total of just four catches for 79 yards and one touchdown this season.
Like with Beasley, Davis’s drop in production comes down to a matter of game plans. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said that Davis has helped create opportunities for other teammates to catch the ball, even if he’s not getting as many targets himself.
“Brian Daboll says he still has full confidence in Gabriel Davis and knows he’ll produce when called upon, but he’s behind Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Emmanuel Sanders and that’s why he’s not as involved as some may have expected,” tweeted beat reporter Jon Scott. “Stats don’t tell everything he’s brought.”
Others have seen a more dramatic shift in the other direction. Tight end Dawson Knox, who struggled at times with drops and inconsistent play through his first two seasons, has 18 catches for 261 yards and five touchdowns this year. That matches the total number of touchdowns that Knox caught in the first two seasons combined.
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