The Bills expect to have their top two receivers on the field together for the first time in almost three months Sunday when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers at New Era Field.
Top wideout Sammy Watkins missed weeks 3 through 11 due to a stint on injured reserve before returning for the Nov. 27 game against the Jaguars. Second receiver Robert Woods sprained a knee ligament during the Bengals game on Nov. 20 but is expected to return this week.
"He looked better in practice than I thought he would look," offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said Thursday after Woods' second day back to practice. "I’m anticipating him playing some this week. Not sure how much, but I was pleased with what I saw in practice."
Lynn took over for Greg Roman after the Bills fell to 0-2, so Sunday could also be his first time calling plays with both players available. Having them back should also make things a little easier on quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
'We're all excited," Woods said. "Me, Marquise [Goodwin], Sammy, Tyrod; just to be back full force, it's been a while since we've all been on the same field together. But we're ready to go. We know what we can do. We just want to go out there and do it already."
Since he mentioned Taylor, Woods was asked how he felt the injuries to wide receivers should affect the quarterback's evaluation.
"I mean, we were talking about it earlier: At one point in time I was the only one on the field who spent time with Tyrod this offseason, with (the injuries) and Marquise doing track. It is what it is. Guys miss OTAs, some guys have been banged up, but we've been together, we've been moving the ball well, putting up points. I don't really think of the evaluation on Ty's part. But I think we're moving the ball well and putting up points."
Watkins, meanwhile, said his foot and body have been feeling great and have allowed him to stay on the field longer during practice. He reiterated that dealing with the foot injury is mostly a mental challenge that he feels he's getting better at handling.
"We do a different things to help it out as shoes, cleats, tape and stuff, but other than that it's kind of a mindset of playing fast, playing physical. Once I do that I'm fine. But if I go out with the mindset I'm hurt, I play slower, I don't play physical, so I'm trying to keep the positive mindset of it."
Both Woods and Watkins were limited in Thursday's practice, as was expected. Cornerback Ronald Darby (concussion), tight end Charles Clay (knee) and left tackle Cordy Glenn (back) were also limited. Linebacker Lerentee McCray (concussion) was the only player out of practice.
The Bills still have an opening on the 53-man roster after Percy Harvin was placed on the non-football injury list earlier this week, and Ryan said Thursday that with McCray out, that spot will likely be filled by practice squad linebacker Bryson Albright.