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Jay Skurski: 3 Bills thoughts, Sammy Watkins edition

1. Sammy Watkins' inability to practice this week doesn't mean he won't be able to contribute again this season, but it's certainly not a good sign. Watkins has been shut down now for exactly two months, dating back to Buffalo's Week Two loss to the New York Jets. If his foot hasn't healed enough in that time to allow him back on the practice field, it's hard to see what one more week will do.

Watkins isn't eligible to play until Week 12 against Jacksonville, anyway, but a return to practice this week would have been a clear sign that he's healthy. Not being cleared by the team's training staff to do so means it's fair to wonder whether he will be well enough to help a passing offense that clearly misses him at any point this year.

From the moment it was revealed that Watkins was injured in the offseason, there have been plenty of head-scratching moments, starting with him saying he didn't know how he got hurt. The Bills' decision to play Watkins in Week Two, just four days after the season opener in Baltimore, also didn't make much sense if he was hurting. If it's a pain-tolerance issue, the Bills would be right to expect Watkins to get on the field. But if it's something else, the chances he doesn't play again in 2016 will go up.

2. Speaking of wide receivers, it's easy to question Doug Whaley's approach to the position this offseason, especially given Watkins' condition. The team simply hasn't had enough depth, making it challenging to accurately assess what it has in Tyrod Taylor.

Because they were facing a salary-cap crunch, the Bills elected to place the lowest tender on restricted free agent Chris Hogan ($1.6 million), which meant Buffalo would not get any draft-pick compensation if he left -- which turned out to be the case when he signed an offer sheet with New England that Buffalo couldn't match. Had Whaley used the second-round tender on Hogan, it would have cost less than $1 million more, but it would have given them a much better chance of retaining him. Hogan would look pretty good on this roster right now. After the Bills navigated their way through their salary-cap issues, they had the money to sign a veteran like Anquan Boldin, but elected to stand pat with Watkins, Woods, Greg Salas, Marquise Goodwin and Walt Powell. Watkins and Salas lasted just two games, putting the Bills in a tough spot at the position basically all season.

3. As damaging as Watkins' injury has been, the costliest one for the Bills this season might be the broken leg suffered by center Eric Wood. There simply is no way to replace Wood's leadership in the huddle. Wood is the one responsible for making all the line calls, making sure the protection and blocking assignments are properly handled.

Those communication skills will be difficult to replace. It will require the remaining starters – Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, John Miller and Jordan Mills (presuming he doesn't lose his job to Seantrel Henderson) – to take it upon themselves to pick up the slack in Wood's absence.

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