ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Monday was quite the roller coaster of emotions for Bills fans as an initial report from the New York Daily News claimed the team was considering shutting down wide receiver Sammy Watkins for several weeks, after he experienced foot pain in the aftermath of Sunday’s loss. As the layers of the story were slowly pulled back we quickly learned that pain is normal for someone that’s gone through Jones Fracture surgery as Watkins did, and that Buffalo’s plan for the 23-year-old did not involve shutting him down at this point.
Watkins reassured everyone that he’ll be good to go for Thursday’s home opener against the Jets, but today was listed as a non-participant in practice by the Bills. Now, Watkins was seen working inside with the training staff ahead of practice, then carrying his helmet at the conclusion of practice, so that designation isn’t entirely accurate. What we came to find out via a team official was that since Tuesday’s practice was a walk through for Thursday, Watkins was able to do just that, walk through. If today had been a regular practice though, the third-year wideout would not have been able to participate and therefore, by league rule he has to be listed as a non-participant. The fact that Watkins wouldn’t have participated in a normal, more physical practice two days before a game is certainly alarming.
Tyrod Taylor doesn’t think there’s any reason to worry though. “From conversation with him, I mean he seems like he’s ready to go mentally and physically,” Taylor remarked. “He was limited but it really wasn’t a physical practice for us today so if it was anything, if it was any day for him to be limited, it’s probably today. It’s more mental than anything.”
Come Thursday night we’ll see how effect Watkins can be, if at all.
Taylor was also badgered about the team’s inability to throw the ball downfield in Baltimore this past weekend. His explanation, “They did a good job of playing their safety pretty deep. Of course, they sent some heat as well too on some of our longer third-down conversions. That kind of pushed the pocket and made me have to move a couple of times.”
While the second-year starter remains confident in his offensive line, it’s no secret that they’ll have to play better against an even scarier Jets defensive line if they want to move the ball more efficiently.
“It doesn’t effect my psyche based upon our performance last week,” center Eric Wood explained. “I feel the same way; they got a talented front, we gotta be on our techniques or else they can embarrass you like I’ve seen them do to other teams.”
“I believe that we learned from our mistakes, I think we showed that last year and moving forward, we have the right type of guys to bounce back,” Taylor said. “It’s a tremendous amount of talent in our locker room. It’s just about us getting on the same page, going out there and execute.”
Executing could be a little harder if the Bills are without LT Cordy Glenn, who did not participate in practice today after reinjuring his left ankle in Week 1. Rex Ryan didn’t rule out Glenn for Thursday just yet, saying that they would see how he progresses over the next few days. If Glenn cannot play Cyrus Kouandjio would start in his place and backup guard Ryan Groy would be available to play tackle in an emergency situation.
Other news on the injury front…DL Jerel Worthy and S Colt Anderson were also non-participants during Tuesday’s practice, but again with it take that with a grain of salt. Also, TE Charles Clay, CB Kevon Seymour, QB Cardale Jones and TE Jim Dray were all limited.
Word around the locker room…
- Not really in the locker room, but during Rex Ryan’s press conference he mentioned he had his lap-band removed a while back in support of his brother, so the duo could work on their weight together. Comically he added that his record from when he was bigger is much better than his record since he got the lap-band inserted, adding “anything for the squad.”
- As bad as things got for the offense on Sunday, LeSean McCoy wants fans to know there’s no reason to panic. “The offense played bad. You got to move on,” the veteran back asserted. “It’s a long season and this is the type of league it is so we’ll come out here this week and if we have a great game, you won’t even talk about last week. That’s how it works, so we can’t look back, man. Always got to look forward.” In a short week it may be tough to get the offense bursting into life, but McCoy is right. Getting that first win will change the narrative.
- The least surprising news of all time: players aren’t big endorsers of Thursday night games. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams thought back through his career to try and remember when Thursday night games began, noting that the quick turnover takes a toll on your body and that the product ends up sloppy. The Bills are certainly fortunate to get their Thursday night game out of the way in Week 2.
- Cardale Jones is very confident Ohio State is going to beat Oklahoma this weekend. When I asked him if the Bucks were gonna win he winced at me and said “man, of course!” Hope he’s right. Go Bucks!
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