Here's the Bills news of note for Dec. 13th.
1 - Watkins plans to play to the endThere have been instances where teams who fall out of playoff contention before the close of the regular season use the remaining games to either shut down injured players for the year or give younger players an opportunity to see more playing time. When it comes to Buffalo receiver Sammy Watkins and his much publicized surgically repaired foot, he plans to finish out the season on the field despite the team's infinitesimal playoff chances.
"We've got to keep fighting. We've got three more games," he said. "I feel good. I'm trying to finish my season off to start next season on a good note."
"I know Sammy wants to play," said head coach Rex Ryan, who confirmed Watkins will be in the lineup Sunday. "I think it tells you a lot about him as a football player and a competitor."
2 - Cardale defends TaylorQuarterback Tyrod Taylor has been under siege publicly for his performance in the last two games for the Bills, both losses. It has prompted discussion about a potential change at the position in Buffalo's lineup, which was only pushed along when head coach Rex Ryan uttered the response of, 'We'll see,' when asked if he would make a quarterback change heading into the final three games, though the response appeared sarcastic in nature.
The speculation was that Cardale Jones would step into the lineup in place of Taylor, but Jones is not even expected to dress this week against Cleveland according to Ryan. Jones isn't bothered being lumped into the quarterback conversation knowing outside speculation won't impact any depth chart decisions. * *
"It's not difficult for me at all because the ones that are mentioning my name are the media and quite frankly you guys are irrelevant with what goes on with our team," said Cardale Jones to reporters Monday afternoon. "It's not fair on Tyrod. It's not fair on our coaches. This is the NFL. It's hard to win games here. It's our job to win games, but things aren't always going to go our way. I'm not going to speak for the offense. I'm going to speak for our room. It's not fair on the quarterback."
When asked how comfortable he would be starting in the next week or two, Jones said his time with the starters has been minimal and would require a ton of repetitions.
"I would still have to get comfortable with our starters. I still have to get a lot of extra work with Sammy (Watkins) and Robert (Woods) and our receivers and learning a center and how he snaps the ball under center. It would still be pretty difficult to get ready in a week, especially with the guys I would need timing with."
The suggestion was made that perhaps EJ Manuel would be a better play option.
"I'm not active," Jones said. "That would be the most logical thing to do because he's the next guy up."
Ryan confirmed that Manuel will continue to serve as the backup to Taylor this week.
3 - Open lines of communicationThe reports that first surfaced on Sunday about Rex Ryan's job security have only fueled speculation about where things stand with ownership and the Bills front office. As Ryan described it the lines of communication remain open as they always have.
"I talk to the Pegulas every week," said Ryan. "I talk to them on Fridays, immediately after the game and I'll talk to them on Mondays. That hasn't changed one bit, but we won't talk about speculation."
Ryan also said he and GM Doug Whaley have frequent conversations about the roster and player performance.
"We speak even on a daily basis if there has to be a (player) move or we're thinking about something or we're talking about practice," Ryan said. "Sometimes it's not in person if Doug is on the road, and it might be a few days. But anytime there's a football decision that needs to be made, or this guy coming up or down, we communicate several times."