Sammy Watkins is finishing his third NFL season with his third different head coach since the Buffalo Bills made him the fourth overall pick of the draft.
The wide receiver has dealt with numerous injuries, including lingering issues from offseason foot surgery that caused him to spend eight weeks on the injured-reserve list, but he hasn't found anything more damaging than the constant change at One Bills Drive.
"It hurts to keep changing coaches, personnel, and all that," Watkins said Thursday, two days after Rex Ryan was fired and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was promoted to interim head coach. "But for me, it's happened in two years and I feel like it hurt me because I kind of bought into it like, 'Man, it's the worst thing ever.' I never had to go through transition and it kind of hurt me.
"So now I'm kind of looking at the flip side of it. I've got to control my mindset and my job and let the owners control all that."
Watkins endorsed Lynn as a head coach.
"I think A-Lynn is a great coach," the receiver said. "He has that demeanor, that leadership, but just change whatever that needs to be changed. Change the coaches, change the mindset, and get players on board. If they're not listening, cut 'em, kick 'em out, whatever, sit 'em on the bench. And I think that will help us move forward."
One person Watkins does not want to see leave the Bills is his position coach, Sanjay Lal.
"That's one guy that I don't want to leave," Watkins said. "Probably if he leaves, then I don't know how my mindset will be, honestly. That's a guy that kind of groomed me in to running routes and doing everything the right way -- mental, physical -- and if he leaves, that'll hurt. Because that's a guy that kind of helped this whole (receiver) group form a mentality and shape us to professionals. He gave us the whole script of off the field, on the field, and it's helping this wide receiver group and helping the players."
Someone other than defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman could be calling defensive signals during Sunday's game against the New York Jets, according to Lynn.
Lynn said the coaching staff had planned to meet after Thursday's practice to discuss that and other in-game logistics, including which assistant coach would help with clock management.
With his added responsibilities, Lynn said he got only about three hours of sleep Wednesday night.
"You're still game-planning, you still have to watch enough tape so that you can go call a game and be familiar with an opponent," Lynn said. "And then you have to deal with airplane seating, Saturday night meetings and just football operations in general. It's been a lot, but, hey, one more week. ... I've learned a lot and it's been interesting to be a part of all those meetings and those conversations, and I'm looking forward to doing it more down the line."
Asked about his much-criticized reverse call in overtime that resulted in running back Reggie Bush losing eight yards before Dan Carpenter missed a 45-yard field goal in Saturday's loss against Miami, Lynn said, "Obviously, I thought it was going to work. Every play I call, I think is going to work. I know that play is 'outhouse' or 'castle.' It just happened to be outhouse."
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor (veteran's day off), offensive tackle Cordy Glenn (back), defensive tackle Kyle Williams (back), and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (concussion) did not practice Thursday.
Watkins (foot), tight end Charles Clay (knee), guard John Miller (hip), linebacker Preston Brown (foot), and linebacker Larentee McCray (concussion) practiced on a limited basis.