Inside The Bills

Watkins embracing leadership role

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2016 – 1:52 pm

He got a feel for it late last year when he witnessed how a team that allowed dissenters voice negative opinions compromised a team’s success on the field. Sammy Watkins vowed to be part of the solution and take on more of a leadership role in 2016. The time to lead is now for the third-year receiver and he’s committed to being vocal in Buffalo’s locker room.

Watkins spoke with NFL Player Engagement about the new role he is willingly taking on while also sharing how his family will be living with him in Buffalo during the season.

“I know now I have to be a leader, I have to speak up more,” said Watkins. “For a couple years I didn’t talk to nobody. And that’s with dealing with a new coach (Rex Ryan) and foundation. I was quiet, really didn’t do anything but work hard and try to make as many plays as I could. And now it’s more vocal and really stepping up to be a leader.

“And I try to do lot of things in the community because this is now my home. My family’s here (longtime girlfriend Ta’La and their daughters Samiah, 2, and Azaria, 1) and I’m enjoying it. I do a lot of things with my babies and my girl and try to have fun with my family. I’m more so of a homebody than anything.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Darby named to All-Under 25 team

Posted by Chris Brown on March 4, 2016 – 8:48 am

Ronald Darby didn’t win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but his play did garner the attention of a lot of NFL talent evaluators. It also earned him a spot on an up and comers list.

Darby was named to the NFL.com All-Under 25 team. Here’s what they wrote about the Bills cornerback.

Cornerback: Ronald Darby, Buffalo Bills

The 2015 campaign was a down year for the Bills’ defense, but not because of Darby. Marcus Peters deservedly took home the DROY hardware, but when you dive into the numbers, Darby is right there. He allowed fewer receptions, yards and touchdowns than Peters, while posting more tackles. What a second-round find.

Why Sammy Watkins, who is just 22, isn’t on this list is beyond me, but these lists are always pretty subjective.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A passing game rendezvous

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 9:32 am

At the close of the 2015 season Bills QB Tyrod Taylor and WR Sammy Watkins both gave strong indication that there would be plans for some of the men in Buffalo’s passing game to get together on their own in the offseason to work on their on field chemistry. Some more details on that came to light Friday.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday spoke to Taylor and found out where and who would be working together in the near future.

“I’ve talked to Tyrod and he, Sammy and Charles Clay are going to be in Florida working out together,” said Whaley.

As Whaley sees it that will only benefit the efforts to develop better overall consistency within the framework of Buffalo’s offense.

“All of a sudden next thing you know when we’re in a two minute drill there may not even be any verbal communication,” Whaley said. “There might just be some hand signs or some head nods where everybody is on the same page and that’s where you start to see an offense or even a defense make strides and take off.”

Whaley acknowledged that being able to keep offensive coordinator Greg Roman on staff will also do wonders for the offense as they’ll all be able to progress together.

“Just like any relationship the longer you’re together the closer you’re going to get and it gets to the point where Tyrod will anticipate what G-Ro is thinking and vice versa,” said Whaley.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins makes his ‘Bama-Clemson prediction

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2016 – 2:48 pm

Sammy Watkins will be at the National Championship game tonight between Alabama and his alma mater Clemson in Glendale, Arizona. Watkins appeared on ESPN2’s First Take and provided his thoughts on the matchup tonight.

“It’s a big game not only for our team, but for the alumni and the fans,” Watkins said. “We’ve just got to go out there and be consistent and just give them a match and fight. That’s what the game is about. At the end of the day there’s going to be a lot of talk and everyone has their predictions, but nobody will know. It’s two great teams that’s one and two that’s in the national championship. Anything can happen.”

When asked for a prediction, Watkins naturally sided with his Tigers.

“I’ve got Clemson winning of course,” he said. “It’s going to be a tight game. I’ll say 24-17 Clemson.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-8

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2016 – 10:50 am

Into the offseason we go. Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why did it take Rex so long to compromise his own defensive philosophy to fit the players?

LoretoB10

CB: In fairness to Rex Ryan, he recognized how married some of the players were to the previous scheme and tried to incorporate some of those concepts from last year into his scheme. By midseason he realized that wasn’t working and scrapped it to have the players focus only on his scheme.

Unfortunately there were players who refused to buy in, and Ryan’s scheme, or any other for that matter, doesn’t work unless all 11 players execute their assignments. Preston Brown addressed that when I asked him a few questions about it after the Washington game.

“Guys have got to buy into the system, especially on the defensive side,” said Brown. “We don’t really know how good we could’ve been because everybody wasn’t doing what they were supposed to do on each play. We can’t say it was the scheme or everybody is not playing with effort. Mentally everybody wasn’t there.

“We have to understand that everybody has to be working as one and we haven’t done that this year. Everybody has been kind of doing their own agenda on our side of the ball. So it’s something that we need to get covered and handle these last couple of games and years down the road.”

When I asked Preston why the defense had players being selfish and doing their own thing this was his response.

“I’m not sure. Everybody keeps saying last year we were a top four defense and everybody was still thinking about last year. We’ve got to get over that,” said Brown. “It’s not last year and guys were still thinking, ‘Oh we did this last year.’ Well we’re not doing that this year. So we’ve got to understand that we’re doing a different scheme and a different system and it works if everybody does it the right way.”

Complete buy in by the defensive players didn’t happen until the last two weeks of the season according to the players I spoke with and we saw good results over the final two games. So when the players tell me and media members that Rex is not at fault with what happened to the defense and that it’s on the players, I take them at their word.

For the record Rex tried to appeal to the players in different ways to get full buy-in knowing it wasn’t there. I wrote about that this week. But the bottom line, as Sammy Watkins said, is it’s on the players to take control of how players prepare, practice and play on game days. And if someone is being selfish or slacking they need to be called out by teammates.

That’s why Watkins and Brown stepped forward as leaders late this season. They don’t want to see what happened to their defense because of a couple of selfish players happen again.

 

2 – Chris,

I’m still trying to make sense of this season, as results have been significantly below expectations.  There have been too many games where the team has been unprepared, undisciplined, and let games get away from them that they should have won.

Why move up in the draft and give up so much in 1st round draft picks to select Sammy Watkins and not find a way to incorporate him more into the offense.  Other WRs Calvin Johnson, Beckham, Antonio Brown defenses focus on, and yet their Offense still get them the ball.  Why do they mainly use Sammy for only deep passes or screens that never seem to work.  How about running Sammy across the field like Andre Reed always did or the way the Patriots utilize Edelman and just have the QB lead him on a pass as he runs a short crossing route and then takes off?

CB: The main reason why Watkins wasn’t made more of a focal point of the offense was two-fold. First, Buffalo was committed to being a run-first attack. Second, offensive coordinator Greg Roman has said they wanted to bring Tyrod Taylor along steadily to see how much he could capably handle on a week to week basis. They were trying to help him progress while limiting setbacks and gradually gave him more rope as the season wore on.

Once they felt comfortable that Taylor could handle more you saw the deep passing game flourish. Since the bye week only two other receivers had more yardage than Watkins 900 in the last nine games. They were Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. For a first-year offense with a first-year quarterback you have to walk before you can run, and rely on the run before you rely more on the pass

Under Roman’s guidance the Bills did that. It probably would’ve been effective enough to reach the postseason had the defense not taken a step back. I think moving forward Watkins will continue to be a dominant weapon as the rapport between him and Taylor continues to develop.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills how long of contract terms are Glenn and Richie looking at receiving and possibly getting?

Brady_P

CB: Glenn is the one who will be cashing in with a long-term deal. At age 26 he’s entering the prime of his career, so a long term deal would make sense and he plays at a position that commands more pay in terms of average salary. Incognito is 32-years old, so I’d be surprised to see anything more than a three-year contract. Probably a two-year deal with a team option for a third.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Given that releasing EJ Manuel would save no money & leave the team with dead money, can you see any upside to releasing him?

cdevaney

CB: The question here with EJ Manuel is can you do better at backup quarterback than EJ?  If the front office feels the answer is yes, Manuel’s dead money on the cap of a little over $2.8M is not crippling with the cap likely to be up around $153M for 2016.

So when money doesn’t impact the decision GM Doug Whaley largely lets the performance on the field determine make the call.

It’s my belief that the Bills will add a backup quarterback prospect from the draft. Someone they feel they can develop behind Tyrod Taylor. Is it likely such a prospect would be more NFL ready than Manuel? No.

So it’s possible they keep Manuel on the roster until they see more of whatever quarterback they draft or add looks in their offense. But it wouldn’t shock me if the organization decides to turn the page.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills what is the outlook for the Bills to receive a compensatory draft pick this year? #fanfriday

lophus89

CB: Taking a more in depth look at things with some help from the front office as to who qualifies as a free agent addition and a free agent loss (the rules are endless) the Bills may be entitled to one compensatory pick this year.

The Bills added – Alex Carrington, Jerome Felton and Tyrod Taylor (Charles Clay – transition player???)
The Bills lost – Erik Pears, Da’Norris Searcy, Lee Smith and C.J. Spiller

Harvin and Incognito were not unrestricted free agents because they had contracts that were terminated. And Clay will be argued by the Bills as someone who should not count because he was a transition player. We’ll see if the league disagrees because there is precedent with transition players counting toward the free agent add count, but if not the Bills should get one compensatory pick this year.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Offensive playmakers to meet up in offseason

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2016 – 9:05 am

Tyrod Taylor didn’t know any of his new teammates after signing with the Bills last March. Likewise, none of his teammates knew if he was going to be the starting quarterback for the Bills come the fall. Now after Taylor had an impressive season as a first-year starter, Buffalo’s quarterback and his offensive playmakers plan to spend some time together in the offseason with player organized practices.

“The thing that changes (this offseason) is you get a chance to work with the guys you’re going to be playing with,” said Taylor. “I’m looking forward to working with these guys once everyone gets healthy and have time to go back to spend time with their families, I’m looking forward to getting in there and working with these guys. We’ll definitely get together. We’ve already talked about it and looking forward to it.”

“We’ll be getting a lot of time in the offseason throwing and catching with each other,” said Sammy Watkins. “I don’t know about his future here, but I can say I stand up for him. He’s a great player and a great leader for this team. He’s only going to get better. Every game you don’t have to worry about Ty making plays or working us out of situations. That’s what he came in to do. He’s going to put us in the right situations, he’s going to throw the ball down the field. He’s going to do his job.”

 

 


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More prep time for Revis matchup #2 for Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on December 31, 2015 – 3:01 pm

Heading into the first meeting against the Jets, Sammy Watkins was coming off a short week and there weren’t many practice reps to be had before facing New York with the game on a Thursday night. It cost Watkins and Tyrod Taylor a couple of opportunities to make some big plays in the Week 10 win over the Jets. Now with a full week of preparation offensive coordinator Greg Roman was asked to assess if Watkins might have more success against Jets CB Darrelle Revis.

“We went into that game on a short week,” said Roman in reference to the Week 10 game. “We were banged up. We really couldn’t practice. So we had to go in there kind of roll the dice a little bit, gamble on a game plan to find a way to win and we were fortunate it worked out. But I think it’ll be a good battle. They got a lot of other cover players on their defense too though. It’ll be a really good test for us.”

In the first meeting Watkins had just three catches for 14 yards, though two of them went for first downs.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-25

Posted by Chris Brown on December 25, 2015 – 11:48 am

Merry Christmas Bills fans! We know the players and coaches would’ve liked to leave a bit more under the tree for you this season. It might be hard to see it now, but there are a lot of encouraging signs for the 2016 season. Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

How does Karlos look for this week? Starting? Or gillislee taking reps with the ones?

Ethan_Diep

CB: Barring any setbacks with his shoulder I’d expect Karlos Williams to start in place of LeSean McCoy. Mike Gillislee will have a role however on Sunday serving as a complement to Williams.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Isn’t there value in continuity? The most successful organizations have it, right?

XKC4338

CB: Yes, most of the most NFL franchises have some clear measure of continuity. In many cases it’s aided by having a franchise quarterback. Buffalo has found a promising QB in Tyrod Taylor. There are a lot of encouraging elements to Taylor’s game that should only improve heading into next season with another year in Greg Roman’s system. That being said the jury is still out on whether he can be a franchise caliber signal caller.

I’m guessing your question stems from concern about the state of the Bills front office and coaching staff amid a flurry of media reports this week. I will say that things did not go according to plan with this team this season. There is no debate about that. I don’t think making wholesale changes are the way to go or in the offing.

Doug Whaley has proven himself as a talent evaluator in his short time as GM of the Bills. Anyone who can flip Matt Cassel for a fifth-round pick and get a Pro Bowl running back for a linebacker that has had a pair of ACL knee injuries is doing something right. And all the criticism for the draft day trade of Sammy Watkins looks like it has missed the mark.

Rex Ryan despite a disappointing defensive season has been a top 10 defensive coach in this league for all but two of the seasons in which he has been either a coordinator or head coach. He’s a proven innovator in this league and it’s my contention that he’ll be doing some more innovating this offseason to gain the upper hand again on opposing offenses next year.

I know it again sounds like empty promises. Believe me I get it. I’ve been here to witness each of the last 16 seasons. As I’ve said many times, frequent change hasn’t brought much in the way of improvement for this team. I doubt such sweeping change will make this team better in 2016.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Thoughts on Tyrod as long term answer for Bills?

TheGreatMikesby
CB: I think Tyrod has certainly made himself the best candidate for that role right now. As I said above Taylor still has some more evidence to provide that he can be that guy, which means making progress in some areas of his game.

The thing that hasn’t made sense to me is the criticism he’s received for not making enough plays in the fourth quarter, leading his team from behind to a victory, etc. The positive things he has done for that position in a brand new offense for every player on that side of the ball should be applauded.

To have the numbers he has, which include an astounding 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio (20 to 5) and a passer rating that is on pace to be the best in team history (yes, better than HOF’er Jim Kelly) and has been over 100 almost all season, is remarkable.

What goes by the board for most fans because they’re not around him every day is the leadership he has demonstrated for this team in his role as QB. I have covered this team since Kelly’s last two seasons with the Bills and having seen all the quarterbacks since then, the only one who led as effectively as Taylor was Ryan Fitzpatrick. The only one who did better was Drew Bledsoe.

But Bledsoe came in the door with a proven resume that included Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl appearance. So stepping in and leading was easy.

Taylor came in as part of a three-man QB competition, no time on the field in the league and in less than a season not only won over the locker room, but produced on the field and then did all the right things off it in terms of vocal leadership, running extra offensive meetings by himself with teammates and counseling younger players on the practice squad (e.g. Dez Lewis, Walt Powell).

In my opinion, Taylor has earned the right to be this team’s starting quarterback next season. If the Bills happen to acquire a quarterback who is superior in every way this offseason then things are different, but until that time this is a quarterback fans should get behind.

 

4 – Chris,

Do you think the Bills will utilize Bill Polian as a team Consultant?  I totally agree with Mr. Polian’s recent comments, Improve the Offensive Line with talent (a need for past 15 years that has not been properly addressed), add a WR to compliment Sammy on the other side, and add a true quality back-up QB to Tyrod Taylor, while also drafting a young QB to develop for the future.

In addition, my thought is use a defensive scheme that matches the strengths of the Bills personnel.

Randy Culp

CB: I’m not going to pretend to know what Terry and Kim Pegula are thinking with respect to hiring a consultant. What I can tell you is Bill Polian’s job at ESPN is in direct conflict with him having any kind of NFL consultant job with an NFL club. He recently said on Sirius NFL Radio that he would not want to give up his ESPN job to do that.

All due respect to Bill Polian, who is a Hall of Fame executive, but the offensive line is not old and slow. Of the seven offensive linemen who have seen the most time on the field this season, their average age is 26.5-years old. Two of the oldest, Richie Incognito and Eric Wood are Pro Bowl alternates and the team leads the league in rushing.

For you to say the offensive line hasn’t been addressed is also incorrect. They drafted four in the last two drafts. Cordy Glenn, who the team has said is a priority to re-sign, is entering the prime of his career (also a draft choice – 2012).

And I wouldn’t be surprised if they invest in the offensive line again this offseason in the draft. Adding a quarterback I think is also on the to-do list.

Doug Whaley in two short years as GM has done a solid job of fortifying this roster with quality talent. What’s more he’s retained the most important talent on this roster instead of letting it escape to play for other clubs. So I’m having a hard time understanding the criticism for the team’s personnel boss.

 

5 – ​Hi Chris,

I really think Doug Whaley does a tremendous job identifying talent…but I think he needs some help (as well as Rex) building a TEAM.  As Talley said, and I totally agree, we have a collection of all-stars but no team unity.  Fred Jackson was the glue on this team and Whaley showed me he doesn’t understand the “team” concept this offseason (was Bryce Brown really that talented??  Did anyone not think Goodwin would be hurt in his first game?? With Shady being hurt..cut someone else).  When KW and AW went down that was a huge blow and now young men are trying to become leaders and that will take time.  More so than talent this offseason, I’m really looking for the Bills to become a team and look like the enjoy playing together.  Your thoughts?

Chris
St. Louis
CB: I agree that losing Kyle Williams and Aaron Williams for the season were costly losses. They were the primary leaders on defense. I think it would’ve been harder for Fred to lead here in a vastly reduced role that might have found him inactive in certain weeks.

As the season is winding down it is encouraging to see a couple of 2014 draft choices step forward in Preston Brown and Sammy Watkins and take on more of a leadership role in the final weeks. Hopefully they continue to serve this team in that capacity going into next year.

If the productive players on the field are the ones leading off of it everybody follows. It’s unfortunate that a pair of 22-years old have to fill that kind of void, but when veterans choose not to a team has no choice.

As Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells once said:

“Blame nobody – expect nothing – do something. Losers sit around in small groups, b**ching about the coach, the system and other players. Winners come together as a team.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: It’s on the players, not the coaches

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2015 – 3:04 pm

With the Bills missing the playoffs again this season fans are understandably disappointed when expectations were so high. Outside observers have placed blame on the coaching staff, but the players says there’s no one to blame but the guys who take the field each week.

“I can’t put it on the coaches. I think it starts with grown men and with ourselves,” said Watkins. “We’ve got to come together as a locker room and find out what fits for us. If we’re disciplined with ourselves we’ll be fine. I think we have a great team and a great staff and we’ve done some great things, but for us to get over the hump I think it starts with the players and we can’t sit here and blame a particular group, a particular person or a particular coach. That’s not what the NFL is about. We have to fix the problem and hopefully we do.

“We know as a team what we have to do and it’s sad because we kind of waited too late to correct things (as players). Hopefully next year when we do our evaluation at the end of the year we can talk over things with Rex and the GM and the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator and we can get everything handled.

“I’m pretty sure there are going to be a lot of changes in the locker room. I’m with Rex. If he has to be hard on us and do whatever he has to go, I’m fine with that. I’d rather be the best team, the disciplined team, the best in shape team and win games, rather than having a great team and having great coaches and putting it to waste.

 


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Watkins: we need more leaders

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2015 – 11:12 pm

In the postgame locker room Sunday a dejected Sammy Watkins sat slumped in his seat. His two-touchdown performance rang hollow for him following the loss that eliminated Buffalo from playoff contention. He said he’d rather have five targets, 20 yards and a win. Then came a comment in which he made a public and personal call in one. Watkins believes more leaders on needed in the locker room and is determined to become one of them.

Watkins indicated that the locker room perhaps pays too much attention to what’s said outside the walls of One Bills Drive.

“I believe in the staff and organization that they’re going to fix the problem,” said Watkins. “What we have to understand is that we have to block out all the negativity. At the end of the day, this is our team as players. Forget what goes on the outside, the real world. We have to take over as players. I know the coaches have a job to do, but this is our team, and that’s how we have to treat it.

“We have to have more leaders. Like myself, I have to step up and speak to the team. That’s what I have to do to get over that hump. Once we do that and come together as a complete team and unit, we’ll be alright.”

QB Tyrod Taylor agreed.

“We definitely can’t have division from within,” Taylor said. “We want to go out there and lay it all on the line for each other. The more leaders, the better the team, but it’s going to come gradually. Guys have to find a way to lead in their own way and just hold each other accountable.”


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Watkins: We’ve got to play smarter

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2015 – 5:10 pm

Time and again when the Bills don’t play smart, sound football they’ve put themselves in compromising positions and in most instances it has cost them victories this season. Sammy Watkins believes the capability of being a consistent, winning team is still there, but it won’t reveal itself without a greater overall commitment to playing with the proper discipline and anticipation.

“Something is there. I think that’s here on this team and we’ve got to just fix the little things and address them,” he said. “We’ve got to fix ourselves and it’s offense, defense collectively. We’ve got to be smarter than what we’ve been. Mistakes are kind of costing us the game. We’ve got to be smart on both sides and know when to hold (back) and avoid penalties. Those things we just can’t have.”

Watkins admits that guys get ticked off with the outcome of games like last Sunday in Philadelphia. The second-year receiver is glad players are mad about losing, but wants to see that anger channeled into something positive.

“Everybody is mad and kind of angry at the same time. Everybody is speaking their mind, but at the end of the day you still have to go out there and make plays,” he said. “You don’t want to get into some peoples’ head. You don’t want to yell at the linemen. They know they need to stop the penalties. The defensive line, we know we have to stop the penalties as a group and make a note of it and stop making penalties that hurt us later in the game.”


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Watkins not worried about facing brother

Posted by Chris Brown on December 12, 2015 – 10:51 am

Bills WR Sammy Watkins had the good fortune of being on the same team as his brother Jaylen Watkins, when his brother was with Buffalo on the team’s practice squad earlier this season. But when Eagles CB Nolan Carroll went on injured reserve a few weeks ago, Philadelphia signed Sammy’s brother off of Buffalo’s practice squad. The matchup between the Bills and Eagles could provide new meaning in the City of Brotherly Love.

Jaylen Watkins is largely playing on special teams for the Eagles, so the odds of Sammy lining up against his brother is unlikely, but Buffalo’s top receiver would welcome it.

“That would be the best matchup ever this year,” said Watkins. “To compete against my brother. He knows what I do and I kinda knows what he does. It would be a nice matchup.”

I asked Watkins if his brother Jaylen knows any of his secrets for getting off the jam or anything else that he might pass along to his teammates in Philadelphia.

“He might think he knows,” said a smiling Watkins. “But it’s all good. It’ll be good to see him after the game.”

 


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Roman explains Watkins target frequency

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2015 – 9:03 am

By now most Bills fans are all too familiar with how last week’s game played out for Sammy Watkins. A dominant first half followed by a quiet second half. Watkins had just one target in the second half of the loss to the Chiefs, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman explained that just because only one pass came his way does not mean that plays were not drawn up throughout the second half with him as the primary read.

“I think (there were) a lot of different reasons,” said Roman as to why Watkins second half was so quiet. “I don’t think you can titrate it down to one.  Some were coverage related; some of it was pass rush related; some of it was read-related. That really answers that.”

Roman obviously recognizes the difference maker that Watkins can be for Buffalo’s passing game. But his play calls are completely at the mercy of how well they’re executed by the 11 men on the field on offense. He also feels it doesn’t take much to get to a point where you’re forcing the ball to Watkins and taking greater risk than you need to offensively.

“It’s a fine line. I think there’s a risk reward to all that,” Roman said. “But I don’t think you want to—we feel good about the rest of our players, too. We feel good about throwing to the rest of our players. The more Sammy can touch the ball, I think that’s a real positive. I sleep well on those nights. But everybody else I have great confidence in too, on the offense.”


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How to handle a hot team on the road

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2015 – 1:06 pm

The Bills are headed into an environment they know will be electric on Sunday. The Chiefs haven’t played a home game in almost a month and Arrowhead Stadium is one of the noisier venues in the NFL. Add in the fact that Kansas City has won four straight and you quickly realize what the Bills are up against. So how do they intend to keep a hot Chiefs team from building some early momentum and the crowd from becoming a major factor in the game?

Here are some of the responses we got in the Bills locker room this week.

Chris Hogan
“Don’t make mistakes and make plays when they come. Especially in an away game, dealing with crowd noise and everything. Those big plays and not making any mistakes really silences the crowd and it limits their interaction and their ability to have an impact on how we play as an offense. Hopefully we’ll be able to make some big plays, limit the crowd noise and get a good tempo going on offense.”

Sammy Watkins
“Put up points. Make them play and adjust to you. We shouldn’t have to go out there and adjust our plays or change our calls to those guys. We’ve got to make those guys play us and do what we want to do and run the ball or pass the ball.”

Boobie Dixon
“We’ve just got to hit them in the mouth. Go down there and be physical. Just hit them in the mouth and make them blink and make them do something they haven’t been doing during this hot streak. Make them flinch and we’ll be alright.”

 


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Watkins: We’ve got to do more on offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 12:39 pm

The 20-13 final said enough for the men on Buffalo’s offense. On a day where their defense was really frustrating the Patriots offense, the Bills offensive unit had to do more when it came to finishing drives. That’s why Sammy Watkins had nothing but praise for his defensive teammates after the game.

“The defense played great. I know they got a little miscue with big plays and things like that, but to hold those guys to 20 points, they did great,” Watkins said. “That’s why it’s all on the offense. We’ve got to score points. You can’t ask for a better defensive stand and better defensive plays. We’ve got to score on offense and that’s on any team, the offense has to put up points.”

Buffalo’s offense did move the ball on New England with four of their 13 possessions covering 50 or more yards, but only one of those four drives resulted in a touchdown. When asked what’s keeping them from finding the end zone more often, Watkins chalked it up to details.

“It’s just little things. Little situations. Little first downs, catch the ball get the first down,” he said. “Catch the ball and go out of bounds. There are little things we’ve got to clean up. We’re not far off. There are little situations we’re in and we’ve got to focus a little bit more on both sides of the ball.”


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Watkins named NFLPA Community MVP

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2015 – 2:11 pm

Bills WR Sammy Watkins was honored for his efforts in the community off the field by the NFLPA Friday. The Players Association named the receiver their Week 11 Community MVP.

The wide receiver hosted more than 50 students from local Boys and Girls Clubs and the Cheektowaga Little Loop, and all were treated to rounds of bowling, pizza, photos and autographs. The Cheektowaga program is the area’s longest running and lowest cost youth football and cheerleading organization.

“My favorite part of the event was definitely just to the see the smile on the kids’ faces,” Watkins said. “It’s so rewarding to see the way that the kids react and how something as simple as bowling has such an impact.”

Founded in 2012 by Joe Allen, Strikes For Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to benefit youth enhancement programs like Make-A-Wish, The Boys & Girls Club, The United Way and Children’s Hospitals across the country.

“I’m a regular,” Watkins said. “I own three bowling balls myself! During the offseason I can sometimes bowl 20-30 hours a week. It’s a great way to hang out with the guys, and it’s actually a fun sport when you get good at it.”

Joining Watkins were Buffalo teammates Alex Carrington, Johnathan Meeks, Bacarri Rambo and Tony Steward. Despite bowling a 180 at the Strikes for Kids event, Watkins admitted with a laugh that Stewart and Rambo were the leading scorers for the day.

The event, in its first year, drew a crowd of 200 guests. The proceeds will go towards the Sammy Watkins Strikes for Scholarships Fund, which will grant two scholarships annually to youth in the Buffalo area.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: No margin for error with Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2015 – 8:38 am

The Bills learned the hard way back in Week 2 that if you commit unforced errors when playing the Patriots they will inevitably make you pay for it. That lesson is serving them well this week in their preparation for the rematch with New England on Monday night. Sammy Watkins and company know all too well that they have to have a virtually air tight performance if they want to have a legitimate chance to win the game.

“Going against the New England Patriots you got to really watch a lot of film on those guys,” Watkins said. “Those guys are so good at what they do, you got to really know what you are doing. Nobody can mess up, everybody on the field, got to be on the right page, all 11 guys got to be prepared. You got to eliminate all the mistakes, and go out there and play fast and play hard because they are going to do the same thing.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills establish an NFL first on offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2015 – 11:04 am

Buffalo’s production from some of its biggest playmakers Sunday helped the team establish an NFL first.

FOXSports was the first to report that the Bills became the first team in NFL history to have a pair of 100-yard rushers (LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams) and a 150-yard receiver (Sammy Watkins) in the same game.

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It was also the first time the Bills had two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Best part of Watkins production

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2015 – 10:39 am

Sammy Watkins was about as productive as one could be on a bum ankle. He had a career-high 168 yards receiving and caught all eight of his targets. The best part however, was Watkins was able to pace himself through the course of the game and not overtax his ankle.

Watkins only played 60 percent of the offensive snaps on Sunday, allowing him to save his ankle a bit for the short turnaround for Thursday night’s game. The Bills big lead over the Dolphins late certainly helped in that effort as the offense was able to sit him for the latter stages of the fourth quarter.

The Bills also sat LeSean McCoy after his shoulder injury with the team up on the scoreboard, though Rex Ryan said McCoy wanted to re-enter the game.

Watkins said he’ll be playing on Thursday night.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins believes he’ll be fine for Thursday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 8, 2015 – 11:25 pm

He was a bit hobbled making his way up to the postgame lectern after his personal career-best 168-yard receiving day Sunday in the win over Miami. But Sammy Watkins doesn’t see the short turnaround before the team’s Thursday night game against the Jets in New York as a problem.

When asked if he’ll be able to suit up Thursday night after playing with a bum ankle, Watkins answered in the affirmative.

“Most definitely,” Watkins said. “I just got to go through keeping my body hydrated, treat whatever injuries are hurting. I should be fine.”

If Sunday is any indication how he’s capable of playing at less than 100 percent, he should be fine indeed.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills