Inside The Bills

Watkins wins Rookie of the Week

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 5:58 pm

Great job voting this week Bills fans! For the second time this season Sammy Watkins was named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.

Watkins won the award for Week 7, the NFL announced Friday. Fans voted for one of five players on NFL.com/rookies to determine the winner.

After the regular season, five players will be nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner on NFL.com/rookies throughout the month of January.

The Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year will be announced at the “4th Annual NFL Honors” awards show in Arizona on NBC on Saturday, Jan. 31, the night before Super Bowl XLIX.


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Fan Friday 10-24

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 12:27 pm

A big division tilt with the Jets on Sunday at MetLife stadium before the bye. Here are your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – Hello Chris, thank you for keeping us Bills fans up to date with all the great insider news!

My question is very simple. With such a stout defensive line and very talented linebackers, and a talented secondary why is it in your opinion the bills give up so many pass yards?

CB: The passing yards given up by most NFL defenses are sometimes a byproduct of having a good run defense. In the Patriots game for example, Buffalo completely shut down the Patriots run game, so New England turned to their passing game. Unfortunately Tom Brady got hot and there were some miscommunication problems in the secondary according to the players.

In most cases strong run defenses make opposing offenses one-dimensional and the opponent turns to the pass game. So a good number of teams that play great run defense give up more yards through the air. Generally it’s because the opponent is behind on the scoreboard because they’ve been punting the ball away because they’re unable to run and hold onto the ball through a balance attack.

The Bills aren’t a true representation of that rule because they’ve been behind on the scoreboard a good deal, even in their last two victories. But their run defense is ranked in the top five and often forces opponents to start throwing to move the ball. More passing yards are then racked up and the Bills pass defense ranking suffers. Hope that spells it out.

 

2 – Chris,

Thanks for the work you do. When I talk to my fellow fans the thing I hear most often is some variation of “Why do they keep trying to run Spiller up the middle?”  I’ll admit I ask the same thing when I see this electrifying player disappear into the line. Does coach Hackett hear the same criticism that I do? Spiller is great in space, and the the inside of the line is our weakest position. Has he been asked about it? Do you think he’s capable of adjusting his offense to utilize Spiller’s strengths? Or is he happy with the results he is getting?

Thanks again,
Brian

CB: As the players and coaches have explained the lack of success up the middle is an all-encompassing problem. Their inside zone runs used to be their bread and butter plays going all the way back to running them under former head coach Chan Gailey. They have been less successful of late including the carries by C.J. Spiller. Spiller, before he got hurt, told us he has to trust his eyes more and that the hole will be there when he arrives.

The linemen have blamed themselves for not effectively controlling the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis. Coach Marrone has also put it on himself and his offensive staff to devise more effective ways to get more productive run plays for all of their backs.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Some sites say Orton is making $5.5 mil a year on a two-year deal. Other sites say $3mil this year. Are they wrong or is he getting $3mil salary this year and a $2mil signing bonus for this season?

Thanks for the clarity!

Go Kyle, Go Bills!

CB: It is a two-year deal and the total value is $11M. The other reports you’re seeing are just breaking down the money differently based off of base salary, signing bonus amortization and guaranteed money. Signing bonus is paid out as soon as the contract is signed, but that money is averaged out over the length of the contract when it comes to the salary cap hit.

 

4 – Hi Chris:

I can’t for the life of me figure out why our offensive coaches won’t use Fred and CJ on the field in the backfield together (Pro Set)? The only time I can recall seeing this formation was a couple years ago in the red zone and they scored on the play. It seems like a no brainer to have two of your best playmakers in the backfield together. It’s a matchup nightmare given their pass catching abilities. It also dictates to the defense, because they are forced to respect their abilities and account for both. I wish this message could be personally relayed to Nathan Hackett. Thanks for your time and I appreciate all the insight.

Regards,
Nick U.

CB: They have been on the field together at the same time, albeit sparingly, this season. Now neither are available, but I understand your point. I thought with the running back talent in reserve on this roster (Brown, Dixon) that there would be less of a risk in using both Jackson and Spiller on the field at the same time. I know they have a specific package for that split back look, and they have been on the field at the same time with Spiller split wide. There just wasn’t a lot of it prior to the two of them getting hurt.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

I have been following the Bills for years in Ohio and NC and you truly do a great job bringing Bills coverage to people outside of WNY.

My question is about the pass interference/defensive holding call against Sammy Watkins on the sideline in the Detroit game that was picked up and given an explanation of “all contact was legal” by the ref. I almost had a coronary when that happened and am sure Coach Marrone felt the same way. The CB was all over Sammy on that play and for the flag to get picked up blew my mind. Has there been any reasoning from the league or officials as to that play?

Thanks for everything
Chris in NC
CB: Thanks for the kind words Chris.

Unfortunately there’s no good answer for you on pass interference and defensive holding because it’s a judgment call by the officials. On that play it was a 3rd-and-8 with Watkins beyond five yards and standing at the first down marker when Darius Slay was flagged for defensive holding. We have a great look at it at the 1:35 mark of our ‘Wired for Sound’ feature from that week when we had Watkins wearing the mic. You’ll see the flag is thrown. Later it was picked up.

At that time it was the third flag picked up of the season that would have benefited the Bills. I think every NFL team understands it’s going to be a judgment call. What really makes it difficult for teams to accept is when the call is changed after it is made or wiped out completely, especially in the competitive atmosphere of a game.

The Bills just like any other club handle those issues internally with the league’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sammy earning All-Rookie pub

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 10:11 am

We’re just about halfway through the 2014 NFL season, but that hasn’t kept some media outlets from naming an All-Rookie squad for the first half of the year. Not surprisingly, Buffalo’s top draft choice is among those recognized.

Sammy Watkins was listed on the Grantland All-Rookie (so far) team. Here was their synopsis of his play to this point.

Offense
Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills
If I were Sammy Watkins, every day on the way out of work, I’d give Kyle Orton an uncomfortably long hug. The jump from EJ Manuel to Orton has been just enough to unleash Watkins on any defense that doesn’t feature Darrelle Revis. In his two non-Patriot games since Orton took over, Watkins has averaged eight catches and 104.5 yards on 13 targets a game, and he’s doing it in a ton of different ways.

The way Watkins accelerates across the field makes game tape look doctored. With enough time, he’s impossible to stay with on crossing routes, and on his first touchdown Sunday, he showed off that same speed up the sideline. Right now, there’s reason to get excited every time the Bills drop back to pass. It’s been a long time since anyone could say that. Since the merger, 12 rookie receivers have gone over the 1,000-yard mark, and with Orton playing quarterback, Watkins is a good bet to be no. 13.


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Watkins surge gaining attention

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2014 – 8:52 am

Bills WR Sammy Watkins surge in production the last three weeks is garnering more and more national attention. His breakout game last week, which was capped with the game-winning touchdown catch with a second left on the game clock has only increased his gravitational pull on the media. Breaking down the improvements of his game from college however, is not something that many are qualified to do. Former Bills safety Matt Bowen is and he does so in this breakdown of Watkins.

Bowen has a weekly NFL Film Study column, and here’s what he wrote about Watkins.

  1. The Quick Development of Rookie Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins

With any rookie wide recover, my focus is on route running and the ability to create separation within the stem and at the break point versus man-coverage.

In Week 7, Watkins consistently worked the Vikings cornerbacks to gain leverage off the release while showing an aggressive burst at the top of the route to gain that separation back to the football on both inside and outside breaking cuts.

Watkins’ game-winning touchdown on the quick out route versus Xavier Rhodes with the ball on the near hash is a prime example.

His acceleration on the break after Watkins sets up the cornerback at the top of the route is impressive. There are at least two yards to work with (into the boundary) as Watkins secures the catch from Kyle Orton and gets the feet down.

With a matchup on Sunday versus the Jets, Watkins can use the same aggressive route running style to win in the short-to-intermediate passing game while stacking on top to run the 9 (fade) route versus a secondary he matches up well against.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Vote for Sammy

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2014 – 12:37 pm

For the third time this season Sammy Watkins is up for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. Here’s how you can vote for Watkins.

Watkins, who had nine catches for 122 yards last week and both of Buffalo’s touchdowns including the game winner with one second left on the clock last Sunday, is a nominee for the third time for the award. You can vote as many times as you want for Watkins right here.

Watkins won the award back in Week 2, but did not win back in Week 5 for his exploits in the win at Detroit.

Voting closes at 3 pm ET to determine the PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE WEEK. The winner will be announced Friday on NFL Total Access on NFL Network and on NFL.com.

 


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Sammy’s bro hug

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2014 – 5:30 pm

While everyone reveled in Sammy Watkins’ game-winning touchdown Sunday to help lift Buffalo to a fortunate 17-16 victory over Minnesota, everyone forgot all about Watkins’ first touchdown in the game, and what he did after it.

Right after he pulled in a 26-yard pass for his first score of the game from Kyle Orton, Watkins spotted a Bills fan going nuts after his touchdown. Buffalo’s receiver went over to celebrate with the fan.

“I saw him screaming, being active in the game, going crazy,” said Watkins. “I was like, ‘I might as well go over there and give him a hug.’ That probably made his day. That was the first touchdown that I had in the game, so it was a big touchdown to tie the game up.”


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Orton a calming presence on final drive

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 7:09 pm

Bills QB Kyle Orton did not have the best day when it came to protecting the football or in getting rid of it when the pocket broke down (sacked six times), but he did come through when the game was on the line. Almost as important as his play making on that final drive was his demeanor in the huddle when they got the ball back with 3:07 to play at their own 20-yard line.

By all accounts in the huddle on the last drive, Orton was upbeat, confident and most importantly relaxed.

“He was poised, he even came in there and cracked a smile at one time,” said Boobie Dixon. “He was like, ‘C’mon guys, we got this. It’s not as much pressure as it really is.’ He made us feel comfortable, he kind of relaxed us, he settled us down and got the job done.”

“Kyle did a great job keeping us under control,” said Chris Hogan. “His poise is pretty unbelievable in a high pressure situation like that. He helped us when we were in long situations, either at the end when we had to get everyone up there and clock it. He did a great job that whole drive.”

“He’s a leader,” said Sammy Watkins. “He knows what he’s doing with the ball. He puts us in the greatest situations. He knows how to help us out on the field, put us in different areas. That’s what we need in a veteran quarterback.”

On the final drive Orton was 8-12 passing for 105 (gross) yards and the game-tying touchdown pass to Watkins.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hackett on using C.J. and Sammy

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2014 – 10:55 am

They are two of the most physically gifted players in the entire league, but in the eyes of some C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins haven’t been utilized enough in Buffalo’s offense. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett commented on the number of offensive plays run by the Bills the participation of Spiller and Watkins in those plays.

Through the first six games Spiller and Watkins have had the ball put in their hands on 28 percent of the offensive plays run, with 107 combined carries and receptions out of 382 plays run. When asked if they need to get more involved more often Hackett said that is always the plan.

“Of course. There are all kinds of things and those kinds of things need to be executed the right way,” Hackett said. “Sometimes it looks like they might not have been a priority, but they probably were and some circumstances changed that. I think whenever you have those guys on the field you always want to try to highlight them as much as you can.”

Hackett denied that Watkins was ignored in last week’s game against the Patriots because he was being covered by Darrelle Revis.

“No, I think we wanted to utilize him in certain situations,” said Hackett. “We wanted to let him work on him a little bit and then once we came out in the second half we targeted him and he started doing a good job so it’s one of those things where he’s young and we wanted him to get a feel for everything and then we start feeding him.”

Hackett also said they’d like to feed Spiller the ball as much as possible too, but he again came back to execution.

“(C.J. is) another guy we have to keep feeding him the ball and get him up field,” said Hackett. “When you get that opportunity to make a play the key is to take advantage of it. The thing with C.J. is he wants to sometimes do too much. We always say, ‘See three, get three.’ If he focuses on that he’ll hit his stride again.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 10-17

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2014 – 10:22 am

Big bounce back week for the Bills as they host Minnesota. Just have a feeling the run game will be rediscovered. On to your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills. Keep them coming.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why isn’t Kraig Urbik starting? Is it stubbornness or the right call or something else in your opinion?

Richkay71

CB: Coach Marrone has been asked about this quite a bit this season. Based on what he’s said it sounds like he and the offensive staff would like to give rookie Cyril Richardson the opportunity to grow into the position. He said as long as Richardson, and Seantrel Henderson for that matter, are still showing signs of improvement in their play they’ll remain in the lineup.

As for Urbik specifically, here is his most recent answer as to why he hasn’t considered re-inserting Urbik into the starting lineup at either one of the guard positions.

“We feel comfortable what his role is for the team right now,” said Marrone of Urbik’s role as backup center. “If someone’s not playing well or not improving, I think (a change is) a possibility. We talk about that too.  I think those (rookies) are getting better in there.  And collectively, we’ve got to keep them coming along.  It’s an option with him. We’ve got Kraig backing up a lot of positions inside.

“I think his versatility is his strength. I think he has good versatility. If we want to put him in there he has the ability to be a starter and go in there and play. He gives us experience. He’s our best option if something were to happen with Eric Wood, and to be ready in case we ever do anything.”

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will the bills be as predictable as last week? First down, run. Second down, run. Third down, pass.

lux_brian

CB: Contrary to what you might think the Bills threw a good deal on first down last week. In fact on first down they had 12 runs and 15 pass attempts. Granted in the second half they were behind and had to throw more, but even in the first half they had eight runs and six pass attempts. Here were the results.

1st half  rush figures – 8 carries, 29 yds, fumble lost
1st half pass figures – 6 pass attempts, 7 yards, INT, sack – fumble lost, 2 incompletions

2nd half rush figures – 4 carries, 6 yds
2nd half pass figures – 9 pass attempts, 24 yards, touchdown, 5 incompletions

Against Detroit the week before the Bills ran on first down 11 times and threw 21 times. So until the propensity to run on first down becomes predictable we’ll take a closer look at the play calling by the offense.

 

3 - @ChrisBrownBills

How much do the Bills spend on real scouting and that’s both Collegiate & Pro CFL/NFL?

RickFreiheit

CB: There’s no way for me to get you the budget line for the Bills scouting operations, but I can tell you that the personnel department has upwards of 20 scouts, counting GM Doug Whaley. There are pro scouts, who do the advance scouting of future opponents and put together reports on every prospective free agent in the league. They will also take a look at CFL talent.

The college scouting department makes up the bulk of the group and they are scattered across the country. Each scout is assigned to region of the country and they are assigned to all the schools in their territory, with some overlap between scouts so they can get more than one opinion on a prospect.

The Bills as an organization have long believed in the value of scouting when it comes to building a roster and that has not changed one iota under Doug Whaley.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why do u think they haven’t used Sammy in the screen game? It was what he did the most in college and excelled at it.

ryancobello

CB: I’m not sure why he hasn’t been used more in the screen game. They have run a handful of receiver screens this season, and Mike Williams is an excellent blocking receiver as is Robert Woods. What I like most about your idea is it is an easy way to get the ball in Watkins’ hands regardless of what the opposing defense is doing coverage-wise.

You’re right he did excel at it. Whether it is something the offensive staff turns to more moving forward however, remains to be seen.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

My question has to do with the offensive line.  If Orton can improve the play at the QB position even just a little this team can make a run at the playoffs. However all the QB attention has hid some issues on the offensive line.  This offensive line is massive in size but for some reason seems to get very little push and obviously lacks in mobility compared to smaller, quicker lines.  What is most disconcerting is that when they run between the tackles there is little space for Freddy or CJ.  Most of their run yardage comes when they bounce it outside and get around the edge with their speed.  I guess my biggest problem has to do with their philosophy of getting BIG linemen as opposed to smaller more athletic guys that you tend to see on successful teams like the Patriots.  Do you think outside of QB, the offensive line is the biggest area of needed improvement and should Marrone be held responsible for this since that is his area of expertise?

Thanks,
-Danny

CB: Coach Marrone himself admitted that the line play up front needs to be better. Against some of the better defensive fronts this season Buffalo’s offensive line has had trouble winning at the line of scrimmage. It’s a bit surprising in light of their size as you mentioned. All that size has left them a bit less mobile for screens and pulls.

I agree with coach that the line play has to be more consistent and not just in the run game, but in pass protection as well. They’ve got to raise the level of play quickly, and that won’t be easy with a couple of rookies learning on the job.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins on Revis matchup

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 7:13 pm

Bills WR Sammy Watkins wasn’t much of a factor in Sunday’s game, which left him a bit surprised, but he gave an insightful synopsis on his matchup with Darrelle Revis Sunday and learned a lot. He hopes to take better advantage of the matchup the second time around in the season finale.

“He was good off the press, but I thought I did great against the press,” said Watkins. “I beat him a couple of times off the press, I didn’t get the ball.  There are things we have to clear out on the field. Once we watch film and they figure out how I can play against them, and they feel the need to come to me, and then to come to me without worrying about interceptions or him stopping me. Next game that’s the way we’ll play.”

When asked what makes Revis so effective, Watkins had a pretty good assessment following his first game against him.

“The way he’s press coverage every play,” he said. “If you let him get his hands on you and be comfortable the whole game it can come out bad for you.  I think I changed him up in the second half. I read what he was doing and I beat him off the line and once again, there are things that we will watch on film for the next game, and for the next game I think they can see that they can come to me on the back side.”


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Orton: Got to get Sammy involved sooner

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 6:54 pm

Bills top wideout Sammy Watkins did not get targeted in Buffalo’s passing game until the third quarter. He was matched up in the game against Patriots CB Darrelle Revis, but even QB Kyle Orton admitted that they cannot go a full half of a game without trying to get Watkins more involved in the offense.

“He’s playing against a good corner, no doubt about it and 24 followed him around the whole game,” said Orton. “In the second half he ran some good routes on him and got more involved. He’s a special player and no matter who is covering him we’ve got to find a way to get him involved in the game plan.”

Watkins finished the game with two receptions for 27 yards and was targeted three times in the game. The receiver said he was open a good number of times, particularly in the second half. Orton wasn’t about to disagree.

“I’m sure he was,” Orton said. “There in the second half we had a lot of guys getting open. I don’t really pick guys to throw to. I just try to go through my reads and if they’re open I try to give them the ball. I think we’ve got five or six guys on offense that if we put the ball in their hands they can do a lot of good things with it. I know obviously as competitive Sammy he has going up against a corner like Revis, he wants the ball and show everybody what he can do.”


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Vote for Sammy

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2014 – 12:26 pm

For the second time this season Bills WR Sammy Watkins is up for NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week. Watkins had seven catches for 87 yards including the key 20-yard catch and run to set up the game-winning field goal. But he’s got some strong competition this week, including UB product Branden Oliver, who had a big game for San Diego in their shutout win over the Jets. Here’s where you can vote.

Bills fans you can vote as often as you want right here.

Watkins already won Rookie of the Week honors back in Week 2 with his big performance in the win over Miami.


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Watkins & Carpenter get Week 5 recognition

Posted by Chris Brown on October 7, 2014 – 11:38 am

Their performances in Week 5 were critical to the Bills come from behind victory at Detroit. That’s why both Sammy Watkins and Dan Carpenter were recognized by Pro Football Focus in their weekly awards.

The PFF’s Week 5 All-Star team included Carpenter and Watkins. Carpenter for his game-winning 58-yard field goal and Watkins for his clutch behind the head, juggling grab to set up the field goal the play prior. Watkins also had six other receptions in the game. Here’s what PFF had to say about the two clutch performers for Buffalo.

Wide Receivers: Vincent Jackson, TB (+3.5) and Sammy Watkins, BUF (+3.2)
The Buccaneers couldn’t quite hold on against the Saints yesterday, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Vincent Jackson, four missed tackles forced and 144 yards through the air giving him the highest grade of any receiver this week so far. For Watkins it’s been an up and down rookie season so far but we definitely saw the positive this week, slowly but surely making the Bills look smart for picking him up in May’s draft.
 
Kicker: Dan Carpenter, BUF: A close battle between a few kickers, but ultimately the game winner from 58 yards sealed the deal for Carpenter here.


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Fred leads with words as well as yards

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 11:31 pm

Bills RB Fred Jackson has proven once again to be a valuable asset for Buffalo’s offense thus far in 2014. He racked up 108 all-purpose yards and led the team in rushing in the win over the Lions. But it may have been his words that had a greater impact on the outcome of the game Sunday.

Rookie WR Sammy Watkins and a good number of other players on offense were less than pleased with the officials, who called nine penalties on the Bills in the first half alone. But Jackson re-shifted the focus of the men on the offensive unit.

“That’s one of our leaders. He leads on and off the field,” said Watkins. “He just told us we were hurting ourselves. He said we were worrying about the refs and everything else but our jobs. I think after everybody realized and did our jobs and realized how much was on the line we actually went out there and played our game and everybody did their job.”

“Fred did a nice job on a couple of those carries,” said head coach Doug Marrone. “He was obviously our most productive runner. We struggled. There’s no doubt about it. We didn’t do a very good job of opening up holes for him. Where we were able to run he made some nice catches. He had seven catches, but we’ve got to do a better job up front when we’re running the football.”


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Trust in Orton comes quickly

Posted by Chris Brown on October 5, 2014 – 10:34 pm

The Bills made a big decision to insert Kyle Orton into the starting lineup at quarterback in Week 5. In the end Orton had a hand in the dramatic 17-14 victory, but it was his command of the offense that had his offensive teammates putting their faith in him.

“I think that he’s a guy who exudes confidence. He knows what he’s doing out there and it’s easy to follow a guy like that,” said Scott Chandler.

“He’s a leader and throughout the whole time we were going through adversity he’s in the huddle going crazy being Kyle and he led this team,” said Sammy Watkins. “I understand now that he definitely knows what he’s doing as far as breaking down defenses and coverages and he knows where he’s going with the ball. You really don’t see any worry in his eyes and he’s a veteran.”


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Texans’ ‘D’ wary of Bills team speed

Posted by Chris Brown on September 26, 2014 – 9:37 am

Houston safety D.J. Swearinger said it earlier in the week and no one in the Texans’ locker room or on their coaching staff is denying Swearinger’s statement that the Bills have the fastest collection of skill players on offense in the league.

Texans’ defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel felt his safety’s statement about Buffalo’s skill position speed was pretty accurate.

“Well, speed is always dangerous,” Crennel said. “They’ve got a lot guys that run fast and play fast. When you are not able to match the speed, then you have to make sure you’re in position, use your leverage and use the proper techniques so that you can make a play. And then generally if you can keep it from being a one-on-one game with speed and then use more than one guy to help contain the speed, then you give yourself a chance.”

“They’re fast. They’re fast across the board,” said Houston head coach Bill O’Brien. “Obviously (Sammy) Watkins is fast. C.J. (Spiller) is fast. Fred Jackson is fast. (Robert) Woods is fast. I would agree with D.J. there. I haven’t seen all the teams yet. Maybe he has. He might know better than me. They’re one of the faster teams that’s for sure. I don’t think there is any slow teams in this league though.”

“You have to be pretty aware of it because they have players,” said Texans’ OLB Whitney Mercilus. “C.J. Spiller, also you’ve got Sammy Watkins, so the thing is you’ve got to be very attentive to some of those guys and all that.”

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fans tour the Ralph with Sammy

Posted by buffalobills.com on September 24, 2014 – 10:50 am

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On Tuesday, September 23rd Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins gave a tour of the recently renovated Ralph Wilson Stadium for seven lucky winners of Northtown Auto’s “Elevate your game with Sammy Watkins” contest and their guests.

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The group visited areas including the stadium field, press box, locker room and weight room. After the tour the group had dinner with Sammy at One Bills Drive.

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Fans were able to enter via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. On Facebook Fans had to fill out an entry form. To enter on Twitter fans had to tag @NorthtownAuto & @SammyWatkins in a tweet with the hashtag #nthDegree, and in that same tweet tell Northtown how a tour with Sammy would elevate their game to the nth degree. On Instagram fans had to follow @NorthtownAuto & @SammyWatkins, post a creative photo showing how they’re a Bills fan to the nth degree, and tag @NorthtownAuto & @SammyWatkins that photo with the hashtag #nthDegree

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For more photos of the tour, check out the photo gallery.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: We’ve got to respond better

Posted by Chris Brown on September 22, 2014 – 2:04 pm

On Sunday the Bills were behind on the scoreboard for more than 54 minutes of the game as they found it tough to reduce the deficit to less than 10. Rookie WR Sammy Watkins felt going from all the success they had against Miami to considerably less against San Diego proved difficult to handle as the game went along.

“We had so much success against Miami and everything was going our way and to come to the Chargers where nothing was going our way, we didn’t know how to react to certain situations,” Watkins said. “That’s what we have to get better at as a team, from the coaches to the players.”


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How Bills coaches help Watkins make plays

Posted by Chris Brown on September 19, 2014 – 10:24 am

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, head coach Doug Marrone, Senior Offensive Assistant Jim Hostler and QBs coach Todd Downing are the principle players in putting together the offensive game plan each week. What they’ve done to make use of Sammy Watkins’ talents has been effectively broken down by Matt Bowen, former NFL safety, who finished his career in Buffalo.

Bowen, who writes for Bleacher Report, effectively illustrates how the Bills offensive staff has made use of Watkins’ superb short and intermediate route running to get him the ball in the open field.


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Watkins tops Kiper’s rookie rankings

Posted by Chris Brown on September 18, 2014 – 3:57 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper watches the rookie players who were drafted and ranks them through the course of their rookie seasons. Perhaps it isn’t a surprise to most, but Sammy Watkins tops his list.

Watkins was ranked first by Kiper with San Diego CB Jason Verrett ranked second and Miami RT Ju’Wuan James ranked third. Here’s what he wrote about Watkins.

1. Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo

I didn’t like how much Buffalo gave up for the right to draft Watkins in a draft loaded with WR talent, but it’s not like I was ever down on the player (as you can see). So far Watkins has been really good, leading a surprising, 2-0 Buffalo team in catches (11) and targets (15), and he already has three plays of 20-plus yards. If drafting Watkins was about helping second-year QB EJ Manuel, so far it’s clearly been a smart strategy. If I’m watching one thing, it’s whether Watkins can stay healthy. Hopefully he will.

Fellow Bills rookie Preston Brown was ranked 10th.

10. Preston Brown, OLB, Buffalo

The third-rounder out of Louisville has been called on to play right away in part due to the injury to a preseason ACL injury to Kiko Alonso, and while he’s looked a bit over his head so far, he’s making tackles for a defense that has played well and he’s not coming off the field. He currently leads the Bills with 20 tackles.


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