The head coach has always been in Sammy Watkins’ corner. Back in training camp, coach Rex Ryan “introduced” the wide receiver to all of his quarterbacks.
By the way, he told all of them half-jokingly, have you met Sammy Watkins? Ryan wanted his quarterback throwing Watkins the ball from Day 1. So after seeing his No. 1 receiver go an entire half without a target, Ryan spoke up Wednesday.
“We’ve got to find ways to get him the football,” Ryan said, “because he is that talented and that’s a challenge to our staff. Even our quarterback. Let’s get Sammy Watkins involved more and regardless of what people play because he is such a talent. It’s almost like, if you don’t use LeSean McCoy, that’s a mistake.”
Heading into the 20-13 loss at New England, the Bills wanted to exploit what they viewed as a mismatch with Chris Hogan vs. safety Patrick Chung. Even then, he knows the Bills can’t ignore such a playmaker.
Watkins voiced his opinion to The News earlier this season, saying he wanted 10 targets a game. As he explained, one of his agents even reached out to the team. Watkins suffered an ankle injury, missed a game, then shredded the Miami Dolphins for 168 yards on eight receptions with a touchdown. The plan to get the ball to Hogan was a wise one at Gillette Stadium - he got separation on Chung much of the game. Once he burnt him, for 42 yards. Another play, quarterback Tyrod Taylor missed Hogan on a potential 34-yard touchdown.
All season, Hogan has been getting a step on defensive backs in his own right. Still, Ryan knows the Bills must prioritize Watkins, adding “Do I think he can help us by getting him the football, more involved? I absolutely do.”
Taylor, to a point, echoed his coach.
“You definitely want to get your playmakers the ball,” Taylor said, “and Sammy’s one of our playmakers.”
But he’s also a first-year starter who doesn’t plan on chucking the ball into double coverage throughout a game if defenses double-team Watkins.
Said Taylor, “I’m not going into a game trying to force it to one guy, or another. The coverage dictates where the ball goes.”
New England often shaded a safety over the top on Watkins. How will the Kansas City Chiefs scheme against Buffalo?
Odds are, they’ll be using rookie Marcus Peters on him. The first-round pick once kicked off his team in college has been a revelation for the Chiefs with 42 tackles (38 solo), 14 passes defensed and four interceptions. Last week, Peters shadowed Cincinnati’s A.J. Green. For all of the reaction to Watkins’ words in mid-October, he had a valid point. The 6-foot-1, 211-pounder is a rare talent as his schooling of veteran Brent Grimes attested just three weeks ago.
Sitting at his locker this Wednesday, Watkins pointed to the fact that this Buffalo offense is still young and searching for “chemistry” and “trust.”
The New England Patriots and Tom Brady are on a different level.
“Everything happens with trust,” Watkins said. “It’s our first year together so everybody can’t look at us and expect us to be on the same page Brady is with his guys or any other quarterback who had plenty of time - three, four years with those guys. We’re still young as a whole group.”
The two weren’t able to work together Wednesday. While Taylor practiced, he only handed the ball off while recovering from his shoulder injury.
No, it wasn’t necessarily reassuring to hear that his coach wants the ball going his way. Watkins didn’t call for the ball or anything. He says it’s about winning and the Bills did not win.
“At the end of the day,” Watkins said. “it’s not just because I’m not getting the ball. There are other players who could’ve made plays or had an opportunity to make plays. And we didn’t make them. I could sit here and say I need the ball 10 times. But at the end of the day, would that have won us the game? We don’t know. ... We have to keep practicing, keep getting better and stick with each other. We can’t look back at what we did. We just have to look forward and move past it and going out beating K.C.”