It was the last remaining hurdle prior to the regular season for Sammy Watkins and his surgically repaired foot. Game action. On Friday night at FedEx Field, Watkins got a couple of series worth of work. In his estimation it was enough to remind him of the game speed at which he'll need to operate come Week 1 at Baltimore.
"It felt pretty good. I think I needed it. It's something I wanted to do," said Watkins. "I knew I needed it. Things were moving a little faster than I had seen in practice. It was live and that's the type of reps that you need coming off an injury or not playing as much."
Watkins was targeted by Tyrod Taylor, who made an effort to get the receiver involved early knowing their time on the field together would be short. He did not have a reception.
"It's fun to be targeted and not even be open," said Watkins smiling. "That just shows me he's looking at me. It's good just to go out there and compete against a great team and see where you're at and what you need to do. I had fun out there. Just to go out there and run around and run routes it felt good.
"I wish I could've played more of course. I felt like I was getting in a groove on the second series, kind of feeling myself out and slowing myself down and calming down. Now I just have to prepare the right way."
Watkins understands that those two series of work Friday might be all the preseason game exposure he gets. So the task now is to replicate game speed in practice as much as he can knowing the season opener is two weeks away.
"If I don't play (next Thursday at Detroit) then I've got to work harder in practice and I've got to do extra things to get on the same page with Tyrod and get confidence in myself in being able to play the whole game," he said.
One thing he anticipates doing is running extra routes after practice with Taylor throwing him passes.
"Things like that I need to do with Tyrod," said Watkins. "Not to say we're not on the right page, but to get more reps for myself full speed and for him to have the right timing full speed is definitely what we need to do."
The Bills top receiver credited receivers coach Sanjay Lal for breaking down his route running and starting over coming back from his foot surgery in the spring. Even though his reps in training camp have been limited and his game exposure even more so, Watkins believes he's ready for the regular season.
"I think I'm fine," he said. "My route running is fine. My foot is fine. Now I've just got to get prepared and get set for Baltimore."