When the Bills loaded up the offense with a bunch of weapons, it became inevitable that someone would complain publicly about not getting the ball as much as he wanted it. Most expected the griping to come from someone like running back LeSean McCoy or receiver Percy Harvin.
Surprisingly, it’s coming from receiver Sammy Watkins.
“Everybody looks at you getting zero catches, zero yards but when you look on film 90 percent of the time you’re open,” Watkins told Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News.
“I need the ball at least 10 times — I need 10 targets — and I’ll be fine with however many yards I get,” Watkins said; he has only seven catches for 99 yards and one touchdown in three games this season.
And it’s more than just chatter. Watkins said he raised his concerns with agent Eugene Parker, in the hopes that Parker would voice the concerns to the appropriate people in the organization.
“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,” Watkins said. “You’re making me look bad and you’re making yourself look bad. Why not make both of us look good?'”
Watkins wants the ball when he’s open, and he believes that he’s always open whenever he’s facing single coverage.
“That’s what I get mad at, when I don’t get looked at,” Watkins said. “I can look at film and his 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 pointed out that other top receivers get that kind of treatment.
“Their quarterbacks go to them in every one-on-one situation,” Watkins said. “Force the ball. The only things that’ll happen are I catch it or knock it out.”
Watkins seems to be satisfied with what he was told by the team — but apparently not sufficiently satisfied to him his complaints to himself.
“I was told, ‘Look, you’re going to get the targets that you need. You’re going to start getting 100 yards every game,’” Watkins said. “That’s really the focus: winning. If I get 80, 90, 100 yards, we’re winning the majority of our games. That helps, not only me, but the whole offense click. Then I start getting more double-coverage and you run the ball to the right and Percy’s going over the top. That’s the biggest thing.”
Actually, the biggest thing is that the team is winning. But with coach Rex Ryan saying he won’t muzzle his players, Watkins apparently believes he could air out the dirty laundry of a team that doesn’t need to have its offensive players crowing about not getting the ball more than they’re getting it.
Especially with plenty of other guys on the team who will see fit to follow suit, especially if Watkins’ complaints get him more touches.