Hello, all. Here are three Bills thoughts as a monsoon rips through Western New York this A.M...
Instagram gone wrong. Are many fans unreasonable with injuries? Uh, yeah. So many think that players are robots they plug into their fantasy football line-ups every Sunday. They don't care about a player's injury. So it can get nasty on social media, the land of anonymity. But, no, you just can't do this. Sammy Watkins was in the news again this week. Responding to those criticizing him on a vacation to Disney World, Watkins called fans "losers" and told them all to continue working their "little jobs" for the rest of their lives. He couldn't simply look away. Watkins forgot those punching into their "little jobs" were the ones who fill the stadium every week. A pro athlete demeaning people working "little jobs" is a cardinal sin we've seen violated so many times in sports. Simply, you have to ignore the trolls. Is Watkins frustrated? Yes. Were some tweets directed his way unreasonable? Yeah. But you have to ignore them. Watkins snapped and, naturally, the vitriol heightened even more.
The first 1-1/2 years of Watkins' career have not gone to plan. Could sense that much in our conversation two weeks ago. He's had seven injuries now, he sees other receivers excelling, he wants to do the same in Buffalo. Out the bye week, the Bills will need to perform.
WR not the problem on offense. And speaking of wide receiver, that hasn't been the problem on offense for the Bills this season. Despite injuries to Watkins, Percy Harvin and Marquise Goodwin, when you watch the film players keep getting open. Include the tight ends in on this, too. It'd be easier for any pass catcher in this offense to be frustrated. Robert Woods and Chris Hogan get separation every week, whether the ball arrives or not. TE Chris Gragg was open in the end zone for a potential touchdown and then deep middle for another potential score against Jacksonville. And TE Charles Clay, as noted, could've had a huge day. When Taylor returns, it actually isn't a bad idea to take Watkins' advice and drive the ball downfield with more risk. Woods isn't a big guy and Hogan, the former lacrosse player, has been cut three times before. But they both are crafty off the line of scrimmage and know how to get a step on a cornerback with a great release or settle into holes vs. zone. Putting it all together is the problem on offense.
Pressure on the pressure will rise. The Bills' defense might've turned a corner in London. As Marcell Dareus said, "We listened to each other a little more. The coaches listened to us and we listened to them and it all came together for us – in a sense.” The Jaguars still won, still drove on Buffalo's defense late for a game-winning touchdown. Elite defenses stand up and keep a Blake Bortles-led offense out of the end zone with two minutes left. On the plus side, Dareus, Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes and the pass rush at least hurried Bortles throughout the game. They only hit him three times, but he wasn't comfortable --- a promising sign of life out of Buffalo's defense. Which sort of makes Rex Ryan's decision to give the whole team the week off even more puzzling. Why not at least reconvene for a couple days to see what worked? What to build on? It doesn't have to be all gloom and doom. We'll see if the Bills can keep trending in the right direction out of the bye week. The defensive side of the locker room at Wembley Stadium was very confident. As Stephon Gilmore added, "They don’t have as near as many athletes as we have. We’re way better. That’s what makes it so frustrating.” Considering the Dolphins have apparently woken from the dead --- and will have 10 days to prepare for the Bills themselves --- the Bills need to keep getting heat on quarterbacks with a quick release.