Inside The Bills

Boldin ready to help Watkins excel

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2017 – 6:18 pm

GM Brandon Beane takes about how the Boldin signing will have a ripple effect on other players on the roster. How to be a pro’s pro and tricks of the trade. On Tuesday Boldin agreed that he can help Sammy Watkins and his personal game. 

“Hopefully I can help him take his game to the next level,” Boldin said. “Honestly, that all depends on him. I can’t make anybody do anything, the only thing I can do is share my experiences and give him advice about different things that I’ve been through and different things that I’ve seen and experienced throughout my 15 years.”

Boldin will also take some of the heat off Watkins in a receiving corps that still has a lot to prove aside from Watkins and Boldin.  


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Steve Smith Sr. addresses Bills WRs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2017 – 7:14 pm

After Sunday’s practice, former Ravens/Panthers WR Steve Smith Sr. on assignment covering the Bills at camp, took time to address the wide receivers. Needless to say his words had an impact.

“First and foremost, that man’s a legend,” said rookie Zay Jones. “Whenever he’s talking, mouths are closed. He was just giving us some tips, really just encouraging us – future Hall of Famer. It was just really good for a young guy like me to hear.”

Sammy Watkins was more blunt about the subject matter that Smith discussed with them.

“Just the business, just to stay here another day and try to come in every day and make a play,” said Watkins. “The course of just making it a business. The DBs are not our friends. I love (the Bills DBs) to death, but at the end of the day I’ve got to feed my kids and I’ve got a legacy I’m trying to chase. He was just telling us you’re not a bad guy if you’re an a–hole basically. It was a good speech.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins: My job is to stay around here forever

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2017 – 11:52 pm

Bills WR Sammy Watkins is entering a contract year after the club did not pick up his fifth-year option. Watkins isn’t offended by not having his option picked up. Quite the contrary. He said he would rather earn a new long term contract with his play, and he’d like to stay in Buffalo for a long time.

“I love Buffalo. They drafted me first round, fourth pick,” Watkins said. “My job is to stay here for a while. That’s the goal. You don’t want to change teams. My job is to stay around here forever. That’s the goal.”

Even though the team chose not to pick up the option it hasn’t changed what the club thinks of their top receiver. Their plan going forward is to steadily build up Watkins’ conditioning as they move through training camp and the preseason.

“We know the type of player Sammy is and he’s a great young man,” said GM Brandon Beane, who had not been hired prior to the fifth-year option decision. “I think we just want to build him up until he’s comfortable with a full slate like he would normally be.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 6-8

Posted by Chris Brown on June 9, 2017 – 11:36 am

OTAs come to a conclusion today with mandatory minicamp to follow on Tuesday. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

What is the latest update on Jeremy Maclin? What percentage would you say Bills have of signing him?

Beast of the East
@Luther4212

CB: Maclin is going to take his time to make a decision in what appears to be a two-horse race between the Bills and Ravens. He wants to talk to his wife about where the best fit might be. Maclin has a wedding to go to this weekend, so I don’t get the sense that a decision is imminent.

Looking at both clubs, nationally people believe that the Ravens history of being a contender gives them an edge, but over the last three years the Ravens record is 23-25 and the Bills record is 24-24. You could certainly argue that there are more playmakers on offense in Buffalo than Baltimore.

As for percentages, I base this on gut feel, not any information I have on what Jeremy Maclin wants because only he knows what’s important to him. I just think what the Bills have to offer in terms of opportunity and team success with him as an addition is a bit better than the Ravens.

With that in mind I’d peg it at 60 percent.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

How does Sammy look? Hopefully he has a healthy season.

Brandon Gallagher
@bgallagher2610

CB: Watkins is clearly not pushing himself right now. He was operating at half to three quarter speed in practice this week. At this point in time there’s no sense in really putting a lot of torque on his surgically repaired foot.

What did encourage me was whenever Sammy was lined up for a rep, Tyrod Taylor made sure to step under center to throw to him in individual position drills even if he wasn’t up in the quarterback throwing rotation. Knowing snaps are scarce with Watkins, Taylor is making a point of getting every one he can to re-establish their chemistry.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who is the sleeper UDFA that could make the team?

I Just Want To WIN@JKolba

CB: It’s still not real football here in the spring with no pads on and no thud type practice. All that being said I think punter Austin Rehkow will push Colton Schmidt for the punting job and is helped by the fact that he can also kick off and kick field goals in a pinch.

One of the tight end prospects (Jason Croom, Keith Towbridge) could have a chance just from a numbers standpoint and the lack of proven players at the position.

RB Jordan Johnson has flashed at times, but doesn’t get many snaps in practice. Brandon Reilly and Daikiel Shorts have both made plays too, but when the pads go on they’ll have to demonstrate an ability to get consistent separation when the corners can get more physical.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Are the Bills taking a win now or long term approach?

Jackson Mitchell
@Jacksonmitch816

CB: As head coach Sean McDermott said himself their decisions are split 50-50 between short term and long term. It’s evident to me that McDermott wants to be competitive and win games now, but there is an organizational eye also cast toward the future.

So I think you’ll see a mix of roster decisions to serve both of those ends moving forward.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you see the Bills making a play for Barnidge even if they sign Maclin? What about Decker if they miss on Maclin? #FanFriday

GJohnston
@Johnston_GB

CB: I think that could only happen if Barnidge took a veteran minimum deal, and that’s one reason why he’s still unemployed. He’s waiting on starter type money. I would anticipate Decker to do the same. His situation is a bit different because he’s coming off shoulder surgery, but still he’s going to command starter type salary and I don’t think the Bills can fit more than one of those onto their roster in a fiscally responsible way knowing Sammy Watkins is going to be a long term contract decision next offseason.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Zay Jones already enjoying Watkins as teammate

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2017 – 3:37 pm

Bills rookie WR Zay Jones didn’t know what to expect joining a roster with a game breaking player like Sammy Watkins. But Jones has quickly found that his receiving comrade is approachable and very humble despite being enormously gifted.

“That guy is awesome. I love Sammy,” said Jones. “I’m learning a lot from him in such a short period of time. He’s just a good guy. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect from guys who have been in the league for a long time and made a name for himself. Sammy is one of the most humble people you could ever meet.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-5

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2017 – 11:45 am

The NFL draft is now in the rear view mirror, and there a GM search underway. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Chris, do u see the Bills possibly reaching out to Eliot Wolf, Scot McCloughan or Louis Riddick about the GM opening?

Mikey
@Mikeybeit

CB: I believe the Bills initially cast out a wide net, but it will probably be whittled down quickly to a handful of candidates whose philosophy on building and sustaining a roster lines up as parallel as possible to that of head coach Sean McDermott.

As for Eliot Wolf, Scot McCloughan and Louis Riddick it’s hard to know what will appeal most to the Pegulas. Knowing they went with a young, energetic and driven head coach in Sean McDermott, could they be looking for a similar type in a GM? Or do they go in the opposite direction and find a roster builder with a ton of experience.

Wolf has that even though he’s just 35-years old.

McCloughan, who also cut his teeth in the Green Bay organization in the personnel department under Wolf’s dad, Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, was just pushed out of the Washington organization after personal problems reportedly surfaced for the second time in his career. I don’t know that he’d be a consideration.
Riddick would appear to be a natural consideration having worked with McDermott before in Philadelphia. He was a scout with the Eagles and rose to the position of Director of Pro Personnel there in the span of two years. They worked together for three years there.

Brandon Beane has already interviewed.

It’s certainly no one’s call but the Pegulas, but a strong football guy would be good so coach McDermott doesn’t get spread too thin between coaching and personnel. Someone that can capably run the college and pro scouting departments.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Well now that they not picking up Sammy 5th yr option, do you think he’s really gonna play hard or no?

Kia
@Bufbillsfan4lif

CB: I think you might be missing the whole point of why the Bills did not pick up the fifth-year option on Watkins. It’s a question of being healthy, not respect for his talent.

I know that coach McDermott made it clear to Watkins in his talks with him that they value him and want him to be a part of this team for the long term, but they can’t risk guaranteeing $13.2M knowing if his injury re-occurs, the one he has yet to fully recover from a year later, that they’re on the hook for that money next year whether he plays or not.

If they didn’t have to make this decision until mid-September, they might have a better idea of what to expect from Watkins health-wise. But he’s not even cleared for football related activities, so there’s no way to know now. It would be a fiscally aggressive risk to put up that kind of money not knowing how fast and how effectively his foot is going to come through his second rehabilitation after surgery.

And if he is healthy and plays all 16 games and has a monster season, you sign him to a big long term deal or the franchise tag is there if necessary and he remains in the fold.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Out of the recent draft picks, who will have the biggest impact this upcoming season?

Cierra Livecchi
@Seeairuhyo

CB: My pick is Zay Jones. I was in Mobile and watched him all week at the Senior Bowl and while he wasn’t the only player who impressed me, what stood out to me was how complete his game seemed to be. I didn’t witness a drop by him all week, his route running was sharp for the most part. The only part of his game that was hard to get a handle on in the practice setting was his blocking.

Interviewing him down there and at the NFL Combine it’s evident to me that he’s got his head on straight. His dad was an NFL player, so his biggest influence is someone who knew what it took to be a professional. It has to give the Bills confidence that Zay will know how to carry himself as a professional too.

Also in terms of opportunity the No. 2 receiver role is going to be up for grabs. Andre Holmes and Philly Brown are probably his stiffest competition. Jones is just so consistent I think he has a real shot at that job and if he lands it I think he has the biggest impact.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will Ragland start? Or will it be Preston B. In the middle with Humber and Alexander on the outside?

korey kennedy
@koreykennedy3

CB: We’re a long way from determining starting roles, primarily because Ragland still isn’t fully cleared to participate in the offseason conditioning field work, let alone football related activities. We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks when OTAs start.

Here’s the thing that I believe a lot of people are overlooking. Many simply assume that whoever is not the MLB between Brown and Ragland will be on the bench.

I’d be very surprised if that proves to be the case.

I believe that whoever loses out in the battle for the starting MLB job will be the team’s starting strong side linebacker. Brown played there some in college at Louisville. And Ragland was used as a blitzer at Alabama so he’s been on the edge as well.

From what I’ve heard Alexander will be a jack-of-all-trades linebacker in this defense. His role will be largely determined by the opponent that week, down and distance and game plan. ‘Zo could sub in more on the strong side or the weak side depending on the week.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills

With that extra 1st rd pk in next yrs draft. Do u feel they will use it as ammo to move up (if needed) to get a QB?

CHRISTian McCaffrey
@BroJackson_

CB: I think we have to pump the brakes on expecting to get a quarterback. First, we have to see what Tyrod does this season.

Second, and probably more important, most of the top quarterbacks in college do not have to declare for the draft. USC’s Sam Darnold, perceived to be the most highly touted, will be a redshirt sophomore next year. He could easily go back to school and come out in 2019.

Rosen will only be a junior, Allen a junior and both of them after two years have started in 19 and 16 games each.

Knowing the perceived best talents could stay in school, I think you focus on what the extra first round pick gives you, which is options. That’s what counts here.

If there are top flight QB prospects in the draft class and you want to move up the board to get one, the Bills should be able to do it.

If they’re not in the class, the Bills will still have the ammo to move up or down the board as they see fit. Having options means power. To have that in round one can help you upgrade your roster in a hurry.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Clemson LB Boulware pays tribute to Watkins

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2017 – 11:16 am

Clemson LB Ben Boulware, an unquestioned leader on the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers, gave credit to the players that came before him and his teammates for laying the foundation that got Clemson to the national title last night with their last second win over defending national champ Alabama.

Boulware gave a nationally televised shout out to Sammy Watkins among other former Clemson players for being important building blocks for the program.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-30

Posted by Chris Brown on December 30, 2016 – 11:28 am

A lot of change this week, with more to come this offseason (23 unrestricted free agents). Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills 

What is the general mood/feeling amongst the players right now, post Rex firing?

Matthew Rule
@MatthewtheRule

CB: I think players are disappointed and feel some measure of guilt, knowing the results on the field played a role in the decision that ownership made on Rex Ryan. At the same time there are some players like Sammy Watkins and other vets, who in the wake of the change made at the head coaching position feels there needs to be more discipline and harder coaching at the top.

Knowing there are 23 unrestricted free agents on this roster, there are also a number of players who are going to be supremely motivated to good the best possible product on tape this Sunday. Chief among them is EJ Manuel, who has an opportunity to put fresh game tape out there to show where he has advanced his game.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
Why are the Bills the way that they are?

Christopher Gump
@gumpcd0315

CB: I think the easiest way to explain it is when you haven’t found a viable solution for your head coaching position, you have to make a change in an effort to find the right fit and improve. But that constant change also makes it hard for a team to gain traction and make progress. That’s where this team is right now.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Who is more likely to re-sign with Buffalo, Gilmore or Woods?

Dave
@Billsfanhanes

CB: Good question. I’m not going to pretend to know Doug Whaley’s priority list, but I think Gilmore is probably a more important component. As encouraging as Kevon Seymour’s rookie season has been, keeping Gilmore in the fold would be a good thing. For that to happen though I think his presumed asking price will have to come down a bit.

As for Woods, it’s a hard one to gauge. I think the organization respects Woods’ game and his willingness to play hurt. But the market for receivers with his kind of production will put him close to $9M per season. If the team wants to add a different kind of skill set to the receiving corps, then it might be hard to justify that kind of spending for Woods.

I’m not saying he isn’t worth it. I just don’t know if in Buffalo’s offseason planning they deem that kind of figure to be money well spent when they’re likely to look at other options, and other positions for that matter, where they need help.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Are we looking at keeping Hunter? I think he’s a good fit in our O.

Jamal
@mrmajic73

CB: This is one of those other options I was referencing in the above answer on Woods. There is no debating that Hunter’s skill set is tantalizing. The Bills aren’t the first team to be attracted to his physical skill set. What they have to determine is whether Hunter has the sense of urgency and professionalism to do things the right way every day, in every practice and in every game.

Hopefully they’ve been around him long enough (three quarters of this season) to have a healthy handle on the type of work ethic he has and whether a quality receivers coach (Sanjay Lal is one by the way) can develop his game further.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Seems DBs took a step back this year. What impact do you think the loss of Donnie Henderson had on the defense this season?

Justin Crow
@jcrowrva

CB: I certainly understand the question because the consistency of defensive back play did take a step back this season, or at the very least was inconsistent. When asked specifically about it, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, who is a former cornerback himself, did admit that lapses in technique proved to be their biggest issue.

What’s tough to answer is who at fault for that? Is it the coaches for not drilling it more often in practice? Is it the players for not adhering to it enough in game situations?

You have to believe if the coaching staff knows technique is the problem in a game (e.g. Week 2 against the Jets), then they’re going to emphasize it more in practice. Are they drilling it in a way for players to effectively understand and apply properly? Are the players equipped physically to execute the technique being taught, or must a different approach be taken? Are the players being professional in trying to fix the errors they made in previous games?

You can get pretty deep down that rabbit hole before you find an answer.

I think the defensive back play did see a noticeable uptick in the second half of the season, so there was effective coaching and player improvement. This team is going to finish in the top 10 in pass defense. Part of that is due to the team’s struggling run defense, but pass defense has improved since some of its struggles in the first half of the season.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills focused on bucking up

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2016 – 11:05 am

Last week was a major disappointment not only because the Bills blew a 15-point second half lead, but because in the words of GM Doug Whaley they flat-lined as a team. There was no response and the body language showed it. Heads down, shoulders slumped. The Bills allowed themselves to have self-pity. Not this week.

In addition to coming up with better answers should adversity strike this week, the players also talked about keeping their chins up if something goes wrong instead of folding.

“Things, as far as body language, we need to clean that up and I think the coaches did,” said Sammy Watkins. “My body language after not getting the ball and other people’s body language after the play call we can’t have. We have to stick together and I think we all have that mentality. We all have to go out there and master this game plan and do what the coaches say. I feel like if we get put in bad situations, then get ourselves out of it. Coaches put ourselves in good spots, so we as players have to get out of them.”


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Taylor, Watkins take extra time on the field

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2016 – 9:27 am

The connection between Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins last season was unmistakable in the second half of the year. Watkins averaged 100 yards receiving per game over the last nine games of 2015 and had six of his nine touchdowns over the final six games that year. This year Watkins foot kept him off the field far too much and the on field chemistry between Taylor and Watkins has suffered. So the duo has spent extra time on the practice field to re-establish the connection.

Last week there were a few instances where they didn’t read Oakland’s coverages the same way and a couple of chances for big plays were squandered. This week Watkins worked with Taylor on the non-verbal communication.

“Tyrod is doing a great job with doing great stuff after practice with those signals,” said Watkins. “That’s one thing that hurt us. That play we could have definitely scored off of. We had the right call, and we can’t have that. We can’t have hiccups like that. So he’s been clearing it up after practice, we have been going through the signals and stuff.”

When asked how far off they are from having the same connection as they had last year, Watkins feels there’s a good deal of ground to cover.

“We were totally different last year because I had more time with him and I was healthy and I was with him,” he said. “Right now, it’s about getting back on that right page. We have to do it quick, like I said, we are trying to make a playoff run. But we aren’t too far off, really it’s up to me. I have to get open, and if I get open, he will throw the ball. That’s my job and his job is if I’m open to throw the ball. Both sides we both have to do our jobs.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-9

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2016 – 12:26 pm

It’s a do or die week for the Bills. Step 1 of as win four straight scenario for Buffalo’s playoff aspirations. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Dennis Thurman said D is still a work in progress. Nearly 2 years have passed what are the issues? Players or the scheme?

David Marciano@rockydm92

CB: I think there are a lot things that have cropped up along the way for the defense that have compromised its consistency. Last year losing Kyle Williams and Aaron Williams, two main directors of communication last year was a big issue. Mario Williams dissension was another problem as was Rex Ryan’s decision to try to blend some of the successful concepts from Jim Schwartz’s scheme in with his. He admitted himself that was a mistake.

This year I think the absence of Marcell Dareus (suspension/injury) for half of the season hurt, as well as the loss of Aaron Williams again. That compromised the consistency of play at safety.

Adding Rob Ryan to the staff improved red zone defense greatly in the first half of the season. It’s hard to determine why the goal to go defense has struggled so much of late to devalue what were impressive numbers when they were defending inside their own 20.

The other big problem this year has been a lack of takeaways. After getting 12 in the first six games, the Bills have just two in their last six games for a total of just 14, and they both came in Stephon Gilmore’s two interception game at Cincinnati. Fourteen takeaways is seventh-fewest in the NFL.

Then I think there is an issue with mental toughness. The ability to respond when adversity strikes. Players have admitted that it is an issue that has proven tough for them to overcome.

We’ve all witnessed substitution problems with changing personnel groupings and getting calls in on time before the offense snaps the ball. It has happened far too often for an NFL club, and stretches back even to last season. That has to get fixed. There’s no excuse for having 10 men on the field or 12 men in the huddle. That’s an operational, chain of command type thing that has to be rectified.

The scheme has been tweaked and changed over the past two years to try to reduce the volume and allow the talent of the players to come through, and the miscommunication on plays has been reduced. Players admit they still struggle with responding and making something positive happen when the opponent steals the momentum of a game.

So in a long-winded way I think both scheme and the players are responsible for the shortcomings of the defense.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills 

Hey Chris,

Another year of great work man! Why has Jerel Worthy not been in lineup more? When hes been in, was making plays.

Dave@billsguy34

CB: I don’t disagree with your assessment. Since Marcell Dareus has come back the defensive line rotation has usually left Worthy as the odd man out. However, Adolphus Washington has been getting less playing time of late. The last four games he’s gotten 18, 20, 24 and 10 snaps. Worthy’s snap counts have been 22, 10, 1 and inactive.

Washington and Worthy to me are similar players. I think Washington has hit a bit of the rookie wall, so perhaps Worthy sees a bit more time down the stretch.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills is it a possibility that Sammy Watkins or Cordy Glenn gets traded at the end of the season always being injury prone?

S.Radford
@radfordboyz1220

CB: I think trading Watkins or Glenn is highly unlikely. Glenn is the team’s most talented lineman. Even Eric Wood would tell you that. He just signed a giant extension and has missed just two games this season with a high ankle sprain. He’s not going anywhere.

While I understand your frustration with Watkins lack of availability due to injury it doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a dynamic, game changing player. You don’t trade that commodity away. You have him at an affordable price on his rookie contract next year, so seeing how healthy he can stay in 2017 is definitely worth it knowing how he can change the complexion of a game.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills how many 4th Quarter comeback wins does Tyrod have?

Henrik Ek
@leroyek

CB: By my count he has two. Last year Week 5 at Tennessee and this season Week 12 against the Jaguars.

 

5 – Hi Chris;

As always many thanks for keeping Bills fans current on the team.  The past couple of games I have gotten the feeling that Rob (and Rex) are calling more of the defensive plays than Dennis has been.  I felt all along that would be the case once Rex brought his brother on board.  Is this actually the case?

Bryon
Plattsburgh NY
CB: I took a look at this last week in Oakland and it appeared that Assistant HC Rob Ryan was calling the plays from the sideline with defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman organizing personnel groupings. Earlier in the year Thurman was calling the plays, but it seems like those duties have vacillated back and forth through the course of the season. Based on observation it seems like Rob Ryan has handled more of those responsibilities the past few games. We’ll try to get that confirmed this coming week.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins upping snap count in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on December 8, 2016 – 4:54 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said on Wednesday that Sammy Watkins felt better coming out of the Oakland game when he got double the work than he did the week prior. That was validated when Watkins took a heavy workload in practice Thursday.

Watkins, who got 25 snaps in the Jaguars game, got almost twice that in the Raiders game (49). Now he’s doing the same in practice.

“I’m feel great for this week,” said Watkins. “I think it’s just the routine and the reps and things. I’m more comfortable running routes full speed. It’s more a game plan thing now, not a foot issue or body issue I can’t just go out there and play. No limitations. My body had to get used to the workload. Now I’m out there during practice I’m running 30 to 40 plays. So I’m feeling good.”

Watkins is fully expected to start on Sunday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Darby, Woods back practicing; Watkins waits

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2016 – 4:36 pm

The Bills injury situation is improving this week. Both Ronald Darby and Robert Woods returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis coming off a concussion and knee injury respectively.

Sammy Watkins didn’t practice, but it was part of the plan this week. He’s expected to participate in practice Thursday.

“I can just tell you what Sammy said,” Rex Ryan said Wednesday. “Sammy felt better after this (Oakland) game physically than he did the first game (Jacksonville), so I think that’s a good thing. How much better he’s going to get, I’m not that sure.”

Player Pos Injury Participation Wednesday
Lerentee McCray LB Concussion DNP
Cordy Glenn T Back DNP
Sammy Watkins WR Foot DNP
Lorenzo Alexander LB Not injury related DNP
Robert Woods WR Knee LP
Ronald Darby CB Concussion LP
Charles Clay TE Knee LP
Tyrod Taylor QB Groin FP

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins does not participate Wed.

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2016 – 3:47 pm

He was scheduled to participate on a limited basis in Wednesday’s practice, just as he did all of last week, but after telling athletic trainers of soreness in his foot, they pulled him from the practice field and Sammy Watkins did not practice at all Wednesday.

Head coach Rex Ryan has said multiple times they’re going to take a cautious approach with Watkins, and that proved to be the case on Wednesday. As for his status on Sunday, his participation or lack thereof in practice Thursday should shed more light on Watkins’ chances of being available.

Watkins was seen in Buffalo’s locker room and he appeared to be walking just fine. His foot wasn’t wrapped or anything.

Buffalo’s offense is already down Robert Woods (knee) and Percy Harvin (migraines). Neither of them practiced Wednesday. They called up WR Dez Lewis from the practice squad Tuesday after losing WR Walt Powell to an ankle injury. He was placed on injured reserve.

Here’s Buffalo’s injury report for Wednesday

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
WR Robert Woods – knee
WR Percy Harvin – migraines
LB Lorenzo Alexander – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Cordy Glenn – back
CB Ronald Darby – concussion
S James Ihedigbo – ankle

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
G Richie Incognito – neck
RB Mike Gillislee – hamstring
LB Preston Brown – wrist
S Sergio Brown – hamstring
G John Miller – shoulder
DT Marcell Dareus – abdominal

FULL PRACTICE
QB Tyrod Taylor – groin


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins amount of playing time Sunday TBD

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2016 – 6:07 pm

Sammy Watkins came through Sunday’s game just fine. In fact he felt so good he was pining for more time on the field. He got 25 of Buffalo’s 55 snaps on offense. But Buffalo is taking a very cautious approach with Watkins after a two month layoff. So as much as they’d like to play Watkins more this Sunday in Oakland, they’re taking the same approach they did last week as far as practice is concerned.

“I don’t want to place any number on it. Will he get more or less? We’ll just be smart with him,” said head coach Rex Ryan of Watkins. “We’ll be smart through the week as well. We’re not going to overdo it on the practice field. We need him healthy, and recognizing that he had a lot of time off and hasn’t done a whole lot of football activity. So we’ve got to balance that. We all want to get him on the field for the entire game, but I don’t know if that’s the best thing for him and for our football team.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Watkins gets almost half the reps on offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2016 – 10:19 am

The Bills put Sammy Watkins on a pitch count during the practice week, but in Sunday’s game they were prepared to go as long as possible with Watkins on the field, provided his foot problems didn’t resurface. The good news on Sunday was they didn’t.

“I built a lot of confidence just going out there, having as many plays as I played,” said Watkins. “I probably played more than I was supposed to play, and I feel good about it. Just being out there on the field, I didn’t really care about catching the ball. I just wanted to feel good. Go out there, block a couple of plays, just get the feel of the game because at first I was kind of like, ‘This is my first game back, going against these good cornerbacks.’ After a while, I just kind of calmed down and let the game come to me.”

The receiver logged 25 of the team’s 55 offensive snaps for 45 percent of the total.

Watkins made an impact as covered on Buffalobills.com with almost half the team’s receiving yardage. He also drew a key pass interference penalty to set up the game-winning touchdown drive.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gillislee out, Watkins availability looks promising

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2016 – 1:25 pm

Bills RB Mike Gillislee sustained a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s practice and left the session early. He didn’t practice again and is now out for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville. The good news is it appears that Sammy Watkins will be able to play on Sunday.

“I think he’s good to go,” said head coach Rex Ryan of Watkins in relation to Sunday’s game. “He won’t have a full workload, but we’re definitely going to get him in there.”

All the Bills need to do now is move Watkins from injured reserve onto the active roster. They have until 4 pm on Saturday to do so.

RB LeSean McCoy also looks good to go for Sunday, feeling no ill effects from the minor procedure on his thumb to get his dislocation from last week’s game corrected. Jonathan Williams and Reggie Bush will be McCoy’s backups.

OUT
WR Robert Woods – knee
S Robert Blanton – foot
RB Mike Gillislee – hamstring

DOUBTFUL
DT Corbin Bryant – shoulder

QUESTIONABLE
WR Sammy Watkins – foot
LB Lorenzo Alexander – ankle
TE Charles Clay – knee
OT Seantrel Henderson – personal matter
OT Cordy Glenn – back
RB LeSean McCoy – thumb
WR Percy Harvin – illness


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-25

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2016 – 12:37 pm

It’s time for the Bills to stack wins to remain a part of the AFC playoff conversation. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills who’s Gillislee’s backup?

Fat Norton@TheConqueror21

CB: That would be rookie Jonathan Williams. Some might think it would be Reggie Bush, but Bush is more of a specialty player who is used only occasionally in the backfield, can be split out wide or return kicks. Williams has just 17 carries for 61 yards, which has largely come in times when the game has already been decided.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills is Watkins a game changer this week?

Chris Huber@chrishuber14

CB: I think the Bills would love it if he could be a game changer. The bottom line though is he hasn’t played in two months and will need a few series to get back into the flow of game speed. I anticipate that the offensive staff will use him as much as they can knowing they’ll be down Robert Woods.

I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s a game changing talent, but coming off the layoff it’s hard to know whether he can be that right away this Sunday.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills what have our secondary players been focusing on in practice?

Leah Fallesen@LeahCF

CB: They focus on a lot of things. During individual position drills a lot of their work involves their footwork and tracking the ball. Tackling was a focus this week with emphasis on getting their head across the body of the ball carrier. Beyond that the focus is the game plan and executing the game calls for this week.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills will McCoy’s thumb affect him at all this next game?

Jared Bailey@JaredBailey23

CB: We hope to get that answer from McCoy himself after practice today. He has a good sized wrap on the thumb following the minor surgical procedure to re-attach the dislocated digit. The strength of his grip is probably the biggest concern because back have to apply three points of pressure on the ball to secure it under their arm and the thumb is one of those three. If he doesn’t have any strength to do that it could compromise his ball security.

Catching could be another potential issue. Hopefully we can get some answers from Shady before the game on Sunday.

5 – @ChrisBrownBills How is the team going to approach Watkins’ 5th year option and possible new contract? Great player but also some injuries.

COLIN SCHULTZ@Schultzy0620

CB: I would expect the Bills to pick up Watkins fifth-year option because of the injuries. I know that sounds strange, but a fifth-year option gives Buffalo time to wait and see if Watkins can put together a season where he can stay relatively healthy all season long.

Since the fifth-year option has to be picked up in May next year for his fifth season which would be in 2018, I’d be inclined to think Buffalo wants to take as much time evaluating his ability to stay on the field. It buys them time.

There’s no debating his talent level, but availability is critical. So I would think before the Bills even think about signing Watkins to a big time deal, they’ll see what he can do in 2017 and maybe even 2018 before they take that step.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Official: Watkins designated to return

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2016 – 11:45 am

The Bills today issued the formality that the team has cleared WR Sammy Watkins to return to practice. Though he remains on injured reserve he has been designated as their player to return.

NFL clubs can only designate one player per season on injured reserve as their player to return. That means that S Colt Anderson and S Aaron Williams, who were other candidates to return this season will not be able to. Their seasons are effectively over.

For Watkins to play on Sunday he will have to be elevated to the team’s active roster. The Bills have until 4 pm on Saturday to do so.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley announces Watkins will practice today

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2016 – 7:40 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley announced in an interview on WGR that Sammy Watkins has been cleared to practice and will do so  today. 

Watkins was to have a final exam to gain clearance earlier this week from the team’s medical staff. 

The receiver is expected to be limited in practice as he is coming off a two month layoff. More to come at Buffalobills.com. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills