Bills receiver Sammy Watkins was honest about his feelings surrounding a lack of targets, and the hot takes are pouring in.
Before we throw our hat into the ring, here’s eight-time Pro Bowler and NFL Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe on SiriusXM.
“Now I lobbied John (Elway) in the huddle, that’s different. Didn’t nobody know about that, I’m telling you now. My job is — when you put me in the situation — to go make plays. That’s my job. My job is not what to tell you what I can get open on. My job isn’t to tell you to throw me the football. But keep your mouth shut. Go to the person that you have the problem with.
“This is Tyrod Taylor’s first year starting — he’s not a seasoned vet like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. He’s not gonna be able to go one, two, three, checkdown, throwaway. Right now he’s in a situation where he’s looking for his first receiver or he’s taking off running if he’s not open. Give him time.
But I want Sammy Watkins to be quiet, get on the football field and give them a reason to give him ten targets again. The mistake he is making, because they moved up to select him, he feels that there’s some kind of obligation that the team should give him, because you traded up to get me. Nah, you earn that, bro. Where you got drafted has nothing to do with how many balls I’m gonna throw you, you gonna earn it. And you talking about it doesn’t help the case.”
His point about Taylor is not a bad one. We discussed something similar here. But here’s the part where we’ll come out and defend Watkins a little bit.
We ask our athletes to be honest. We want them to connect to us on a personal level and relay the day-to-day frustrations of their lives. Then, when they give us that morsel of honesty, we jam it back down their throats.
Watkins, who, if you ask his position coaches in high school and college, comes across as one of the most genuine players in football. He jokes around, but is always studious and always works hard. He was drafted by Buffalo, a team that traded a small fortune to get him, with the expectation that he’d be the dynamic playmaker he always was. Jerry Reese, the man who ended up drafting Odell Beckham, had Watkins higher on his draft board. This is what Watkins thrives on, and this is what he’s used to.
At least to one person, this is the frustration showing through in the Buffalo News piece from Thursday. He’s just a competitor sounds like the ultimate banal platitude, but there are times when it’s true. Watkins knows how to shoulder teams to victory. This time last year, the 3-2 Bills had targeted Watkins 44 times, resulting in 24 catches for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He won games for the Bills. He was more than just a decoy.
Now, a year later, all of that has changed. For the first time he’s dealing with a different reality, and maybe even some unkept promises. He’s a little frustrated — can you really blame him?