It was a tale of two seasons for Watkins, who averaged 4.8 catches for 74 yards and 0.63 TD in the first eight games; he was the #12 fantasy WR going into his team's Week 9 bye. Over the final eight weeks, he averaged 3.4 catches for 49 yards and 0.13 TD, and was the #48 WR from Week 10 to Week 17. The timing of his hip injury (Week 13 vs. CLE) is interesting, because Watkins was already in a slump, posting just 10 catches for 94 yards in the three previous games. Matt Cassel brings some stability at quarterback, but he's no better than Kyle Orton, so we're not expecting a huge jump for Watkins in OC Greg Roman's run-oriented offense.
E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel are the lone holdovers from the previous coaching staff, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their immediate futures with the team are predetermined. New OC Greg Roman said Manuel, the team's first-round pick in 2013, will get his chance to start fresh with the new coaching staff.
"I'm not going to get into specifics. but I definitely think he's done some very good things and displayed some good traits. We just have to get his level of consistency a little bit greater. Really, he and everybody else, once we get thru this evaluation process, we're going to have a very clean slate, once we get going because what they might have been asked to do or done in the past is really not relevant to what we may or may not ask them to do. So to sit here and pontificate about this that and the other, is a little premature."
Manuel was the #19 fantasy quarterback when he was benched after Week 4. To that point, he had averaged 6.40 YPA and had thrown five touchdowns versus three interceptions. The team elected to move on to Kyle Orton.
He was a late signing at the conclusion of the preseason, a veteran presence that Bills head coach Doug Marrone felt had to be on the roster at the most important position. Come season’s end Kyle Orton made 12 starts going 7-5 for the Bills. On Monday he announced this season would be his last in the NFL.
“I just have been going at it for 10 years and it’s just a family decision and I’ve decided to get home and be a dad and call it a day,” said Orton.
Orton, who was contemplating retirement this past offseason signed with the Bills and had a player option to return for the 2015 season, but wanting to be close to family again has his mind made up.
“I think I’ve been away from my parents since going to college, so 14 years,” he said. “Anytime you have a chance to end on a good note and go home and spend time with family that’s really important to me and my wife and we’re just excited to move on.”
He also said there is no NFL scenario that will change his mind to retire at this time.
Orton’s retirement leaves the Bills without a veteran at the quarterback position. E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel were the only other quarterbacks on the roster. The time Orton spent with Manuel this season however, has him optimistic about the former first-round pick’s future with Buffalo, the story said. However it remains to be seen if the team will turn back to Manuel and give him another chance.
(New York conducted a walk-through on Saturday)
T Oday Aboushi (shoulder), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), G Willie Colon (knee), WR T.J. Graham (neck), LB David Harris (shoulder), RB Chris Ivory (shoulder), S Jaiquawn Jarrett (calf), RB Chris Johnson (knee), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee), WR Greg Salas (wrist), QB Geno Smith (right shoulder), CB Darrin Walls (calf)
DE Jarius Wynn (knee)
CB Ron Brooks (groin), RB Fred Jackson (groin)
K Dan Carpenter (right groin), WR Marquise Goodwin (ankle), WR Chris Hogan (hip), DE Manny Lawson (ankle), QB Kyle Orton (toe), RB Frank Summers (neck), G Kraig Urbik (shoulder), WR Sammy Watkins (groin)
Bills RB Fred Jackson is questionable. He's indicated he's going to play, but with the game now Monday night he becomes a bit more risky. It's not a great matchup against the Jets rush defense, but either way owners will need to be prepared just in case Jackson doesn't go. Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown would at least be serviceable backups if needed. Also for the Bills, Watkins and Orton are probable.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Bills QB Kyle Orton (toe) was removed from the injury report Friday after taking limited practice reps Thursday. Orton looked dreadful against the Dolphins last Thursday night, but has a much better matchup against the Jets. It also helps that the game is indoors.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Bills QB Kyle Orton (toe) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Orton looked dreadful against the Dolphins last Thursday night, but has a much better matchup against the Jets. The Bills haven’t actually practiced this week, but Orton is expected to play.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:11pm
Bills QB Kyle Orton (toe) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Orton looked dreadful against the Dolphins last Thursday night, but has a much better matchup against the Jets. Buffalo is expected to see another 1-3 feet of snow tonight, so Sunday’s game is in doubt.
Monday, November 17, 2014, 1:25pm
The Buffalo Bills aren't making another change under center.
Veteran quarterback Kyle Orton will remain the starter instead of going back to EJ Manuel.
“Right now I’m sticking with Kyle,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “We’ll go with who gives us the best chance to win.”
The Bills have gone 3-3 with Orton and went 2-2 with Manuel.
“It’s a groin, and with those you’ve got to be careful, you’ve got to be smart,” Watkins, who hasn’t practiced since leaving Wednesday’s session early, said Friday. “You really don’t know whether you’re right or not, so for me it’s just listen to the trainers and listen to the coaches.”
Coach Doug Marrone said Watkins’ inability to practice for most of the week is cause for concern regarding his availability for Sunday.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to make a decision,” Marrone said. “If you put a player out there, what you’re saying as a coach is that you feel 110-percent confident where he’s at. And Sammy hasn’t been out here, so I don’t know.”
Buccaneers beat writer Pat Yasinskas: Coach Lovie Smith has been coy about his plans. My best guess is Mike Glennon will get at least one more start because Josh McCown returned to practice only this week and was out for more than a month. I think Glennon has played well enough to be the full-time starter, but I'm not sure Smith sees it that way. McCown was Smith's hand-picked quarterback and the two have history together from their Chicago days. Smith's history has shown he prefers to go with veterans. Back in Chicago, he once benched Kyle Orton, who was playing well, as soon as Rex Grossman got healthy. It wouldn't surprise me if Smith goes back to McCown.
In the portion of practice open to reporters Wednesday -- essentially just warm-up drills -- Dixon lined up with the first-team next to Kyle Orton, while Brown was paired with EJ Manuel and the second team.
That doesn't mean Dixon will receive more touches than Brown but it's further indication he's ahead of Brown on the depth chart.
This indicates that the Bills don't currently view Brown as the "starter," and that Dixon is likely to get first crack at the carries in the Buffalo backfield. The team has split carries between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, and is likely to do so again with Dixon and Brown. We're expecting Brown to be more active than Dixon in the passing game, but Dixon may see more carries and get the goal line work. In short, it's unclear which back has more fantasy value, and it may depend on your league format (i.e. Dixon in standard, Brown in PPR).
Monday, October 6, 2014, 12:28pm
The most intriguing part of Sunday's game, from a playing-time perspective, was Bills WR Mike Williams not being the exclusive third option at receiver. Until this point, we've seen little of Goodwin in the offense and even less of Hogan. But the Bills shuffled all three of those players through as their third receiver against the Lions.
Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:19pm
Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 5. Watkins continues to play through the rib injury. Kyle Orton taking over at quarterback should be a good thing for Watkins.
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:31pm
Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) took full practice reps again Thursday. Watkins continues to play through the rib injury. Kyle Orton taking over at quarterback should be a good thing for Watkins.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 9:38pm
"We just had a different approach to practice," wide receiver Sammy Watkins said, according to ESPN.com. "(Orton) demands what he wants out of us. He's more of a veteran guy. The way he talked, the way he handles business, the way he looks at plays and breaks down defenses, it's kind of different than EJ.
"He reads it quicker, the ball is coming out faster. That's just some things that we have to adjust to."
Wide receiver Robert Woods has also picked up on the change.
"His directness in the huddle," he said, "telling us what to look for and be ready for when we're breaking the huddle when he calls the play."
The hope is that Orton infuses life into the Bills' passing game, which would help Watkins, Woods and the rest of the Buffalo receivers.
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