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Only change Watkins wants is winning culture


Sammy Watkins is close to wrapping up his third NFL season. Still a young player in the league he has seen enough to know the merits of continuity. That's why, despite rampant media speculation about Rex Ryan's future, he's hopeful there are no changes to the coaching staff. In fact the only change he'd like to see is with the team's culture.

"I know questions are going to be asked about Rex," said Watkins Wednesday of the media speculation about the future of the Bills head coach. "That's not my focus. I know if we win out there's a possibility that he stays so that's the goal that we're pushing for. That's the goal."

Watkins made it clear he has no inside information on the future of Ryan and his staff. He is only speculating himself, but he does believe a strong finish by the team could be a good endorsement for his head coach. The receiver also knows if the team can't stack some wins down the stretch the organization could hit the reset button and that's not what he wants.

"Everybody wants to be successful. You want the wins and the numbers and all that, but you know if everybody leaves here, then most likely it's going to be a new start," he said. "You don't want to start over."

The reason why Watkins is resistant to change is it's hard on players to change schemes, work with a host of new players and be a consistent winning club in a league where more stable franchises do most of the winning. He's already on his third offensive coordinator in three seasons after Anthony Lynn was appointed as Greg Roman's replacement in Week 2.

"For a receiver that's kind of hard," said Watkins. "We'll be in the same situation that the Browns are in or any team that has younger guys. For me it's going with what we've already got and moving forward."

Watkins doesn't deny that when players see the reports like the one that surfaced last Sunday about Ryan's coaching future, that they openly discuss what might happen. At the same time he wants to do whatever possible to prevent that kind of change and turnover.

"Of course guys sit and talk and wonder what the situation is going to be like," he said. "We know if we lose what the situation is going to be like. For me I'm trying to be here forever. So I'm not trying to start over with a whole team with how many free agents we've got. So my job is to go out there and sell out and try to win out for myself, for my name and this team. If anybody is not thinking that way then it's a problem."

And that's part of the issue as Watkins sees it. It's less of a coaching issue and more of a winning attitude issue. Veteran Richie Incognito talked last week about improving the team's mental toughness so they can better respond when adversity strikes in games.

For Watkins, who wants to spend his entire career in Buffalo, he'd prefer to stay the course and change the collective approach in the locker room. He believes there's a good number of players with the right mindset, but feels there needs to be more.  

"This was a team I always wanted to be with and a team I liked. So I'm going to sell out no matter what," he said. "And I want to be here for the long run and I want to win and I want a championship. So I prepare myself that way. When the time comes where we do start to win, because it's going to happen, I've got to be prepared for it. We've got to get the right mindset around here and change the culture.

"Right now everybody is on the hot seat. Even me. I've got to win out or I might have a different mindset. My goal is to keep winning and play the game the way it's supposed to be played.

"We've got to go out there with the mentality that we're going to try to blow this team out. Our effort has to be there, our game plan has to be there and our focus has to be there."

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