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.
Chris Brown of the Bills website reports that Watkins was in pads and participating in practice on Tuesday, three days after he injured his ribs early in Saturday’s preseason tilt with the Steelers.
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.
When asked about Sammy Watkins' potential production as a rookie, Bills.com writer Chris Brown used A.J. Green as a benchmark: "He is dependent on quarterback play and such, but I think A.J. Green is a good indicator as to what Sammy can be in his rookie season. Green was also the fourth pick in the draft and he played with a young quarterback at the time in Andy Dalton. Green had 65 catches for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns as the number one receiver in the Cincinnati offense. I don’t think those are unrealistic numbers for Watkins."
While a 1,000-yard season is certainly in the realm of possibility, seven touchdowns may be a stretch for the Bills, who had 16 passing touchdowns in all of 2013. We currently have Watkins projected for 70.7 catches for 989 yards and 5.3 touchdowns.
After the season, BuffaloBills.com writer Chris Brown said on WGR 550 the coaching staff was unable to convince Steve Johnson to buy into the team concept.
"I don't know that anybody felt on the staff thought that they could effectively get in his head, relate to him, know what he was feeling, thinking all the time" Brown said of Johnson on Jan. 3, after the team fired receivers coach Ike Hilliard. "I think it's because Stevie's just a different breed of cat.
"I don't think it's any reflection on this coaching staff. I think this coaching staff did a really good job of kind of aligning themselves with the players, where they felt they were all in this thing together and they were all allies. ...
"But I think Stevie's a hard guy to reach, and when you're trying to build a thing where it's all for one and one for all, and it's hard to reel a guy into that, it makes you wonder just where they feel they're going with him."
The article discusses how HC Doug Marrone has since reached out to Johnson to clear the air. This is a situation to keep an eye on this offseason. Johnson was the #56 WR in 2013.
Bills beat writer Chris Brown on the team's RB competition: "Chan Gailey and his offensive staff know they have to get both players on the field a lot and get them both involved in their attack. This is where having a veteran offensive play caller and designer is an advantage. I think you’ll see a good number of split backfields with both Jackson and Spiller out there simultaneously. I think there will be a good amount of pre-snap motion with either Fred or C.J. motioning out of the backfield and lining up somewhere else. And while game to game the amount of work each of them get might not be in perfect balance I believe come season’s end, barring any injuries, that both will be integral components in the offensive production."