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Sammy Watkins could be eased back; still setting team's bar high

PITTSFORD --- After a rookie season hampered by injuries and offseason hip surgery, don't expect Sammy Watkins to go full speed when the Buffalo Bills start training camp at St. John Fisher College on Friday.

Watkins does view himself as "100 percent healthy." But that doesn't mean he'll be doing everything on the practice field.

“I’ll definitely be out there," Watkins said Wednesday as players reported to their dorms. "I don’t know what circumstance with the staff, what I’ll be doing, how limited I’ll be. But I’m definitely going to be practicing.”

The team mortgaged plenty to draft Watkins, after all. Caution has been the key for the former fourth overall pick.

In February, he had surgery on the torn labrum in his hip. So Watkins has mostly let his body heal this offseason, while learning the nuances of the position from new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal.

He'll have a better idea of where he's at physically drill to drill, competing against the likes of Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin.

"I just have to go out there and see," Watkins said. "It starts with competing. Once I get to competing, I can tell where I’m at. ... I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go out and compete and get in 1-on-1’s to see where I’m at to measure the injury."

As for his personal expectations, Watkins isn't throwing out any numbers, saying that Robert Woods or Percy Harvin could go for 1,000 yards or LeSean McCoy might have 1,600 rushing yards.

As for as the team's expectations? Watkins is setting the bar high. He's well aware that the Bills set an all-time record for season ticket sales. Off a 9-7 postseason-less season, the Bills were bold in the offseason.

Now, bold must transfer to results.

“We have to show up. We have to win. Win games," Watkins said. "That’s the biggest thing. Everybody’s buying tickets and everybody’s got this Super Bowl thing on us. We’ve got to come out here and win. Coming in Friday for practice, we’ve got to start it up. We’re not going to just go out there and win games because we have all these players. It starts in practice, in training camp. I think if we handle our business in practice, we definitely have a shot at the playoffs.

"We have to win now. We can’t win next year or the following year and say we don’t have the team. We’ve got the team. We’ve got the coaches."

Watkins didn't back down from his comments that there's "no way we shouldn’t be in the playoffs or win a championship."

"We’ve just got to put the work in with ourselves and come together as a whole team," Watkins said. "Once we build that chemistry up this training camp, we’ll definitely win a lot of games and make the playoffs.”


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