Somewhat lost in the Wednesday ruckus at One Bills Drive was the fact that Chip Kelly compared Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins to Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson. That's how the Philadelphia Eagles are preparing for the Bills. They'll put Watkins on such a level.
And this is the stratosphere Watkins seeks.
"I'm just trying to get to that elite category if I'm not already there," Watkins said. "Just trying to play my game and every week impose my will on the opposing secondary. Just keep playing hard. I think I'm finishing blocks. I'm running great routes and just trusting my preparation."
Watkins is seeing this kind of treatment from defenses, too. The double-teams are adding up; safeties are tilting his way more. And whenever Watkins is singled up outside, Buffalo is trying to take advantage deep. While frustrating, Watkins noted that this has opened up opportunities in the run game. He lists the benefits.
Lanes open for LeSean McCoy. Robert Woods in one-on-one coverage. Charles Clay being "wide open."
"Yeah, I'm not getting the ball," Watkins said, "but when I have my opportunities, those big plays I catch, I'm good with those."
The last two weeks, Watkins has caught nine passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns.
So what is that next step? That final hurdle to truly be in that Julio and Dez and "Megatron" conversation. One key to Watkins is movement. By motioning and lining up at different spots — and running routes beyond the go-to "go" route — he can continue this ascension.
"I'm working on it now. I'm moving in a lot of different directions," Watkins said. "Moving all over the field, motioning in, running just about every route. Slot routes. Across-the-field routes. Deep balls. Just trying to move where I can't get doubled every play, to where it creates different match-ups on a linebacker, on a nickel, that's what we're doing."