The Buffalo Bills went 6-10 last year – a record that may be a tad misleading. After all, the Bills lost by two points to New England, and they also lost to Cincinnati and Atlanta in overtime. Thus, 6-10 could have easily been 9-7.
Needless to say, hopes are high in Buffalo this season – and that’s saying something, as the Bills haven’t made the playoffs this century.
Is this the year they finally dethrone the Patriots or at least earn a Wild Card spot?
“Yeah, I think so,” Bills wide receiver Robert Wood said on The Morning Show. “I felt like last year (we’re) a couple plays (from) the playoffs. This year, we’ve just got to execute those plays. You can’t have those mental errors and some of those turnovers. It’s a very tight game. This is the NFL. So you’ve got to make the best out of every opportunity you have, and I think that’s the difference of us making the playoffs and us not.”
To be fair, Buffalo performed pretty well last season given that it had a rookie head coach, Doug Marrone, and a rookie quarterback, E.J. Manuel. Woods expects big things out of both in 2014.
“During practice, (Marrone is) the overseer of it all – working with everybody, keeping eyes on the whole team,” Woods said. “Then we get into team meetings and he breaks down what he sees (in terms of) energy and effort and even execution. When he needs to hop in and put his voice in, he definitely does.”
Manuel, meanwhile, showed flashes last year but was limited to 10 games due to a sprained LCL in his right knee. Still, the 24-year-old should have a bright future ahead.
“You can already a see a difference from last year with his play,” Woods said. “(We’ve) just (got to) keep moving forward, get our timing down with a year of experience and just put some more work in. I think you’ll definitely see a better E.J. Manuel.”
Of course, having Sammy Watkins at your disposal certainly helps. The Clemson product was selected fourth overall in this year’s draft and projects as an immediate difference-maker in the NFL.
“(I have) very high expectations (for him),” Woods said. “So far, he’s looking great. (He’s) catching everything, running past guys, looking strong. It’s just great to have another great receiver on the other side to make plays. E.J.’s going to put the ball out there. We just got to make plays for him.”
Woods, 22, and Watkins, 21, could be quite a duo for Buffalo – both this year and beyond.
“Yeah, I would say he’s special,” Woods said of Watkins. “Some of the catches he’s made, it’s just pure strength with his hands. He’s definitely (accelerating and) running by people and definitely making people miss.”
Woods hopes to improve on a solid rookie season in which he caught 40 balls for 587 yards and three touchdowns, and with Stevie Johnson in San Francisco, Woods figures to get more opportunities.”
“It means more slot roles,” Woods said. “A lot of (moving) around and just being a quick target on the inside.”