Bills coach Doug Marrone wasn’t willing to disclose a timetable on Monday for wide receiver Sammy Watkins’s return from bruised ribs, but it wasn’t because he was keeping a tight lid on negative information about the first-round pick’s condition.
Brown reports that Watkins took part in individual drills with the rest of the receivers, but that he was moving at less than full speed while going through them. Watkins did not go on to run routes with the rest of the group against air.
It wasn't full participation but definitely a step in the right direction for Watkins. We can assume by this the injury is not too serious, even though it is a rib injury, and that Watkins is at least on target to play Week 1.
Monday, August 18, 2014, 7:59pm
"When (Sammy Watkins) comes back, I don't know," coach Mike Marrone said, per the team. "Unless I know for sure, I'm not going to comment."
Monday, August 18, 2014, 11:49am
A wealth of new talent at wide receiver has been getting a good deal of the headlines at Bills training camp. Despite the addition of receivers like Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams along with the emergence of fellow second year WR Chris Hogan, Robert Woods is leading the team in receiving through the team’s first three preseason contests.
Simply put when it’s come to game time, Robert Woods has been at the forefront of the passing game. More importantly Woods’ consistency has earned the trust of QB EJ Manuel during some of the game’s most critical moments.
“It’s big,” said Woods. “Just trying to be consistent and make the most plays on the field when I have the opportunity to. There are catches here and there, but as a wide receiver I just want to keep making those plays all game. I’m just trying to show my consistency and show the coaches I can do that every down.”
The new talent has had a positive impact on the passing game. Woods, who started each of the 14 games he played in last year, has yet to start in any of the preseason games. Nevertheless he leads the team with 11 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown to lead the receiving corps. Not starting has not shaken Manuel’s confidence that Woods will be on the field with the rest of the first team when the games count.
Woods was dropped to the second team in a surprise move when the Bills played the Giants back on Hall of Fame weekend. He's continued with the second team as Mike Williams moved to the first team. Woods will likely still see time as a WR3, but with Watkins suffering a rib injury, that time could increase.
The good news? The ribs are not broken. The bad news? The ribs are still bruised.
The team announced after the game that it’s only a bruise, according to the Buffalo News.
Coach Doug Marrone specifically used the term “contusion” when describing the injury, which is the same thing as a bruise but sounds fancier. The Bills won’t be very fancy if the injury slows Watkins down into the regular season.
“Only a bruise” sounds better than “broken,” but anyone who has had bruised ribs knows that running, walking, moving, and/or breathing can be quite painful while the bruise heals, the story pointed out. If Watkins misses time, it looks like Robert Woods, who was expected to be starter but appears to have lost his job to Mike Williams, would start opposite Williams. The good news is Watkins has three weeks to get ready for Week 1.
The rookie, who was selected No. 4 overall, was on the end of bone-crunching hit by way of fellow rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier. Watkins immediately grabbed his side and walked slowly to the locker room with trainers.
The 6-foot-1, 211-pound receiver was replaced by Robert Woods, who would likely see time if Watkins were to miss any regular season games. Rib injuries are very tricky so we'll wait to hear more details about the extent.
Friday, August 15, 2014, 11:56am
Bills WR Mike Williams has come on strong in training camp and is the No. 2 receiver. That was Robert Woods' role last season, but now Woods is locked in a battle with Chris Hogan to round out Manuel's top trio of pass-catchers.
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 10:21pm
Buffalo’s other starting receiver (Mike Williams) took a little longer to get warmed up, but once he did it was tough for the Steelers’ defensive backs to come up with a way to stop him. Whether he was shielding the DB from the ball, out jumping a DB for a ball or getting separation, Williams was making plays for Manuel.
He caught four passes during the team portions of practice, which mainly worked against the edges of the Pittsburgh defense.
Williams has seemingly passed Robert Woods on the depth chart, meaning that he could be fantasy relevant this season.
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 10:19pm
There has been steady improvement with each passing day for Bills tight end Scott Chandler since he returned from a groin injury a week ago. On Thursday Chandler was working the middle of the field effectively getting separation and EJ Manuel was finding him.
Chandler pulled in three passes in the practice session during team work. His best came on an early crossing route. Manuel led him with the throw and Chandler rolled up another 15 yards after the catch for a 25-30 yard pass play.
He also caught two more passes in the span of three plays as he was frustrating Pittsburgh’s safeties with his size and strength.
Chandler is a low-end TE2.
After two preseason games, and three weeks of training camp, the chemistry between QB EJ Manuel and veteran WR Mike Williams is starting to develop.
In Friday’s preseason win in Carolina, the pair connected for a 28-yard pass play down the middle when Manuel threw it high and Williams went over DB Josh Norman to bring it in.
In Sunday’s after practice at training camp, Manuel and Williams were at it again. EJ found Williams in the end zone during red zone work in one of the early 11-on-11 sessions. And Williams was targeted several times in later red zone work as well.
Williams says he wants to be the quarterback’s go-to guy in the red zone, and he practically guarantees success when he’s thrown the ball.
“I always tell them there’s a 96-percent chance–the other 4-percent is their fault,” he laughed. “I always tell them, throw it to the clouds, I’m going to find a way to bring it down.”
Williams was projected to be a WR3 behind rookie Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. But Woods was a surprise second teamer when the Bills opened the preseason against the Giants. The way it looks now, Williams and Watkins could potentially be the outsider starters to open the season, which would bump up Williams current ranking a little. It's something to continue to monitor through camp.
Saturday, August 9, 2014, 11:50am
He’s not going to be a starting running back in Buffalo, but Bryce Brown’s performance against Carolina Friday night was anything but a surprise to head coach Doug Marrone. As he sees it, he’s got the luxury of having a starting caliber back in Brown, who at best sits third on the depth chart.
Brown led the team in rushing Friday night and averaged almost six yards a carry against Carolina’s second teamers. That’s why Marrone wasn’t shocked to see Brown do so well.
“In my mind Bryce Brown is a very talented running back that has the potential to start in the NFL,” said Marrone. “So I think what happens a lot, when he is in the game I think he is one of the better players on the field. So, his production is not surprising for any one of us.”
Brown has the skills but is still a little raw, which is why the Eagles moved on from him and traded him to Buffalo. Brown seems firmly planted as the Bills RB3 behind C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
Friday, August 8, 2014, 1:27pm
After starting 14 games last season, the Bills' 2013 second-round pick wasn't on the field with E.J. Manuel and the Bills' first-team offense in Sunday's preseason opener. Woods has seemingly been overtaken by newcomer Mike Williams and slot receiver Chris Hogan on the Bills' depth chart, and coach Doug Marrone said this week he wants to see Woods play "more with a chip on [his] shoulder."
Up to that point it looked like Mike Williams was going to be the WR3, but Woods, who did score a TD that game, was out with the second team while Williams was with the first.
Friday, August 8, 2014, 11:43am
And when he came back to the NovaCare Complex this spring and took third-team reps behind Foles and Mark Sanchez, Barkley wasn’t willing to admit that he wasn’t in the picture to be Foles’ backup.
About two weeks into training camp, Barkley is seemingly echoing an alternate sentiment. He’s still confident, he’s still diligent, still steadfast in his belief that he can be a franchise quarterback in the league if given the opportunity.
It’s just probably not going to be here in Philly.
Barkley was thrown to the wolves a couple of times last season and it wasn't always pretty. He never really had a chance to prepare a week for a game because Michael Vick or Nick Foles would always be ready the following week. This summer, Barkley is likely auditioning for a chance to play somewhere else.
No one really expects him to play tonight in their opener against the Bills, with coach Ron Rivera saying yesterday he wanted to make sure Newton could “protect himself.”
“It’s like a thump from your mom when you said something that you weren’t supposed to, she’ll thump you dead in your ear or on your head,” Newton said, via the Charlotte Observer. “It’ll hurt for that little second but it’ll go away after 2-3 minutes. It’s a reminder that, hey, you better check yourself.”
After having surgery in March to tighten loose ligaments in his ankle, Newton’s clearly not ready to run as he normally would, with few such chances in training camp. He said he can tell there’s still something there. If it limits his running, and without a new group of receivers, Newton's stock could drop a little as a result of this news.
"I don’t know if I want to get it down to three. I’ve never been a guy that has three backs playing in the game," Marrone said. "I’ve always believed, and you guys know, in the two backs. It’ll come down to two backs; the two backs going in there."
Perhaps it's time to pump the brakes on talk of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon being significant contributors. If Marrone wants his game plan to include only two running backs then Spiller and Fred Jackson are the overwhelming favorites to land those roles.
If true, this good news for both Spiller and Jackson, who figure to combine to see the vast majority of touches in the Buffalo backfield. Last year, Jackson saw 253 touches, or 46% of the team's RB touches. Spiller saw 235 (43%), but was dinged up for most of the season. We currently have Spiller projected for 283 touches and Jackson for 194. Jackson may have some upside from there, making him an ideal RB4 still available in the 8th or 9th round.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 11:21pm
Bills WR Robert Woods' place in the offense has become a topic of conversation since he wasn't on the field with the first team offense Sunday night. Marrone said the Bills played Woods into the third quarter to get a look at him in the slot, although it may still be troubling for the second-round pick that Chris Hogan was the slot receiver with the first team Sunday night. On Tuesday night, Woods' snaps with Manuel continued to be limited. For one stretch in a red zone drill, it was Hogan, Sammy Watkins, and Mike Williams as the top combo.
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