Bills’ Watkins upset over lack of targets: ‘You’re making me look bad’
Sammy Watkins is undoubtedly the best wide receiver on a Buffalo Bills roster that includes Percy Harvin and Robert Woods. Only, Watkins doesn’t feel like he’s being treated like it.
The Bills gave up a first-round pick and fourth-rounder in 2015 to trade up five spots and select Watkins fourth overall last year, which showed just how highly coveted he was out of Clemson. Now in his second year in the NFL, Watkins has struggled to stay on the field and make a significant impact — and he’s not happy about it.
"That’s what I get mad at … when I don’t get looked at," Watkins told Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News. "I can look at film and (the QB’s) eyes go straight that way and I’m not getting looked at, at all. That’s when I get frustrated. When I have one-on-one coverage, go to me. I don’t care what’s going on over there. I don’t care if he’s open. When I get one on one, just target me."
Watkins has caught just seven passes for 99 yards and one touchdown in slightly more than two games. In the season-opener, Watkins was held without a catch for the first time in his career. Following a strong rookie season, Watkins had high hopes for 2015, but a lack of time on the field and targets from Tyrod Taylor have derailed those hopes.
"Everybody looks at you getting zero catches, zero yards, but when you look on film 90 percent of the time you’re open," Watkins said. "I understand that these guys are young and they need some time to trust me. Once we get that trust, it’ll be different. But for me, I need the ball at least 10 times — I need 10 targets — and I’ll be fine with however many yards I get. And that’s what I addressed in talking with my agent. We reached out to a couple people and tried to pull some strings like, ‘Hey, I need my targets. You came up to draft me and I’m not getting targets — that’s a problem.’
"You’re making me look bad and you’re making yourself look bad. Why not make both of us look good?"
It’s clear Watkins isn’t happy with his role in the offense, but when digging deeper, Watkins is being targeted as often as the rest of the Bills’ receivers. In Watkins’ first two games before injuring his calf in Week 3, he was targeted 10 times, tied for the most on the team. Still, that’s not enough for Watkins’ liking.
"I enjoy spreading the ball around. It makes my job easier," Watkins told the Buffalo News. "But at the same time, for a guy you go up in the draft to take as your No. 1 receiver, you would love those 15 targets that Julio [Jones] gets, those 20 targets that Odell [Beckham] gets. Of course I’d have 100 yards every game and a TD if I’m getting 20 targets."
Watkins said he expects to play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’s unclear if he actually will. He doesn’t seem worried about reinjuring his calf, saying "if it pops, it pops," but his head coach Rex Ryan thinks differently.
"Yeah, we’ll make sure that it won’t be his decision, obviously, if that’s what he’s saying," Ryan said via Mike Rodak of ESPN. "We’re gonna make sure that … we’ll lean on the experts."
If Watkins isn’t getting enough targets, maybe it’s because of the way he’s practicing. Check it out in the video above.