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Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin aims to put rough start behind him

The numbers don't paint a pretty picture.

Through three games this season, Buffalo Bills No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin has six catches for 58 yards. That ranks tied for 146th in the NFL in yards and tied for 142nd in catches. Not the stuff of a No. 1 by any stretch.

That lack of production has drawn the ire of Bills fans, who have vocally made their opinion of Benjamin's performance known on social media.

"I got all that as soon as I got drafted," Benjamin said Thursday. "They said, 'He's big, but you know, he's got problems dropping the ball.' I mean, everybody drops the ball in this league. That's just part of it. Guys that you're playing against on the other side, they get paid to play this game, too. I've just got to go out there and keep working, man."

That's what Benjamin has done as the Bills prepare for their trip to Green Bay in Week 4.

"I think he's had probably his best week of practice so far," coach Sean McDermott said. "I would say yesterday, and then he put today right on top of yesterday. I've been extremely pleased to this point with his week of practice and preparation."

Benjamin has one touchdown catch this season, but has let two potential others slip through his fingers. Against the Vikings in Week 3, he was open on a slant close to the goal line, but couldn't finish the play.

"I'm thinking more about catch it, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown," he said. "Instead of just saying, 'Catch the ball.' It's little things like that. In that split second of thinking, it can (be the difference) between a drop or a catch."

The problems for Benjamin started before the regular season. In the second preseason game against Cleveland, he was targeted deep by AJ McCarron, but the ball went right through his hands.

"I'm thinking first down, touchdown, instead of going up and getting the ball," he said. "More my stats than for the team. I've got to think more for the team and what's going to help the team."

It's human nature that Benjamin would be worried about his own numbers. He's in a contract year, and naturally wants to have his best possible season.

"It was kind of hard the first couple games. Of course it's a distraction sometimes, but I think the coaches are doing a great job with me, talking to me about it, just saying, 'You know, just go out there and play — showcase your skills and don't worry about the money of it,' " he said. "That's what coach McDermott has talked to me about."

So Benjamin's approach this week is simple: "Just catch it," he said. "Everything else is a bonus."

"In order for us to get better as a football team, we need our individual players, each of them getting better," McDermott said.

Benjamin agreed with McDermott's assessment that he has had his best week of practice so far, saying he feels as good physically as he has since coming into the NFL in 2014.

"I mean, I'm just going out, going hard, playing fast for Josh (Allen) so we can get on the right timing," he said. "I feel like I've been doing a lot, taking care of my body. Mentally, watching film. Doing things right, staying late, doing all the things that I need to be doing to be successful."

A three-man quarterback competition meant Benjamin didn't have as much time to build chemistry as a usual starter and No. 1 receiver get.

"But this is a league where, they want to know what you can do now," Benjamin said. "No matter how much time you had to work with a guy or all of that. One thing that's good, coach McDermott keeps telling us, 'Don't worry about the clutter.' Don't worry about what people are saying outside the building. At the end of the day, we're the ones that have got to go out there and play. As long as we got the confidence to go out there and play fast, execute the plays, we'll be all right."

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