Bills' John Brown impressing early in training camp

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Every update from Buffalo Bills training camp thus far includes a similar refrain: Look out for WR John Brown.

The speedy wideout, who earned the nickname "Smokey" from Bruce Arians during his time with the Arizona Cardinals, joined the Bills after one season in a run-heavy Baltimore Ravens offense. During that one-year stint in Baltimore, Brown accounted for 54 percent of the Ravens' deep air yards (targets of 20-plus air yards), second-highest in the NFL behind only Julio Jones (55.2 percent).

Known mainly as a deep threat, the Bills are quickly learning that Brown is no one-trick pony.

Receiver coach Chad Hall boasted of the playmaking that Smokey Brown has brought to an offense that struggled to find anyone to make plays for Josh Allen last year.

"Two of those (touchdowns) were on slants and that's what he can do. He can take a five-yard slant to the house," Hall said, via Matt Parrino of New York Upstate. "All of those were against man-coverage, so he's separating and finding a way and then making the catch and running with it."

Hall added that Brown's route-running ability is better than advertised.

"As far as route running and him having indicators, he is probably the smoothest guy I've ever seen. ... He plays a lot bigger than he is and he separates very well," Hall said. "(Defensive backs) have to be aware of all of that, and will play softer because of it. He can run every underneath route, too. The DBs can't look at him and find something because I try and do that with all my guys where (I say), 'They're gonna key on this or this.' I haven't found one yet with him."

Through the early days of practice, Brown and fellow free-agent acquisition Cole Beasley have been the clear top two targets, with holdover Zay Jones also running with the first-team unit. Thus far, Robert Foster, who flashed a deep skill set in spurts down the stretch last season as a rookie, has been the clear-cut No. 4 wideout.

Brown's ability to flex a defense can help open up everything for Allen. According to Next Gen Stats, Brown averaged 16.3 air yards per target last season (fifth-most among WRs with a minimum of 50 targets). Allen, however, sees more than just a deep threat in Smokey.

"He's got that name for going deep and getting deep balls. (But) I think as he's gotten older he's really learned to run some routes," Allen said. "We are going to continue to work on those and implement those in our offense. He's a special guy. He comes in every day wanting to work and wanting to get better. He's very talkative on what he sees, how he wants the ball a certain way and very communicative on how he is going to run a route and how many steps."

The hype with Brown could be real, if Allen makes a leap in Year 2.

The 29-year-old, who last passed the 1,000-yard barrier in 2015, however, is pumping the publicity brakes.

"We are all going to make plays and to be able to feed off of each other and win ball games," he said. "Right now, we are just focusing on developing and coming together. I don't pay attention to the No. 1 receiver and all that. At the end of the day, we are a team. ... As long as I am here with my team you can put us anywhere. I will be fine as long as I am with those guys."

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