The Buffalo Bills could have a new emergency quarterback.
Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who just returned to the team on a two-year deal after testing free agency, played the role of QB1 in a video posted to his Twitter page. While it was only a flag football game and the competition level appeared below NFL standards, McKenzie flashed his skills while channeling a bit of Josh Allen, using his legs to beat a defense on one play and throwing a touchdown pass on another.
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McKenzie Flashes His Skills
In a pair of videos posted to his Twitter page, McKenzie gave fans a glimpse of what he looked like as a quarterback. In the first video he escaped pressure and took off running, scampering through the defense for a long touchdown run. McKenzie threw a touchdown pass in the next video, rolling out to evade pressure before finding a teammate along the sideline.
Even though there didn’t appear to be any NFL-level talent against McKenzie in the flag football game, the clips had fans cooking up ideas to add wrinkles to the Bills’ playbook next season.
“You need to throw a pass to @JoshAllenQB this season..BOOM!” one fan tweeted.
The Bills showed an affinity for gadget passes under prior offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Allen has two receiving touchdowns over the last three seasons, while receiver Cole Beasley threw another touchdown pass after catching a wide receiver screen.
While the Bills have yet to test McKenzie’s arm in a game, they have found some other creative ways to use the speedster. He has served as the team’s jet-sweep specialist, taking handoffs from Allen to attack defenses at the edges. McKenzie has also been one of the team’s most explosive kick returners in recent years, taking a punt return for a touchdown in the 2020 season finale.
McKenzie May Play Bigger Role for Bills
While he likely won’t be throwing many passes in the upcoming season, McKenzie could see a bigger role on offense than what he’s seen over the past four seasons. He was lightly used as a receiver during that time, his best season coming in 2020 with 30 receptions for 282 yards and give touchdowns.
McKenzie could now have an opening with the departure of Cole Beasley, the Bills’ top slot receiver over the last three seasons. He flashed some of his slot abilities late in the season, when Beasley was out on a COVID-19 absence and McKenize started against the New England Patriots. The veteran turned in a career-best 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in the 33-21 win on December 26, a game that helped the Bills to seize control of the division.
This came after a season low point for McKenzie as he was a healthy scratch for several games after a series of miscues in the return game. McKenzie ended up relinquishing some of his return duties to teammate Micah Hyde, who was a less explosive but more steady option. McKenzie could have a battle for return duties next season, as second-year receiver Marquez Stevenson is expected to compete to be a kick returner as well.