ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- In the wake of Sammy Watkins' quiet outing on Monday night against the New England Patriots -- he wasn't targeted in the first half and did not catch a pass until the fourth quarter -- Rex Ryan has expressed multiple times a desire to have his star wide receiver see more action in the Buffalo Bills' offense.
However, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who attempted more passes to receivers Chris Hogan (six) and Robert Woods (four) than Watkins (three) in Monday's game, did not seem eager Wednesday to "force the issue" with Watkins, as Ryan suggested in a radio interview on Tuesday.
"Coverage dictates where the ball goes, ultimately," Taylor said. "But [there are] definitely some of those matchups that you like to have and sometimes when your matchups present themselves then you take advantage of that. But I’m not going into a game trying to force it to one guy or another. Like I said, the coverage dictates where the ball goes."
Asked initially about having any disappointment in not targeting Watkins, Taylor responded, "You definitely want to get your playmakers the ball and Sammy is one of our playmakers. So whatever I could do to try and get him the ball definitely benefits us as a team."
Watkins called the coverage Monday night from cornerback Malcolm Butler and the rest of the Patriots' secondary "pretty good" but still felt like he was open.
"Most definitely," he said. "Anybody that watches film, I get open. There's so many different things, ways that other guys are open. There's plays that [Taylor] might be getting sacked. So you can't look at one particular play. 70 other plays are out there. [Ten] other guys are on the field. So it could be something that goes wrong that I don't know. I'm just out there running routes, trying to get open. So my job is to get open, that's it."
Watkins, who told The Buffalo News last month that he wanted 10 targets a game and grumbled to the Bills about not getting enough looks, believes more production from him would have helped the Bills' cause in their 20-13 loss to the Patriots.
"Most definitely, but at the end of the day, it's not just because I'm not getting the ball," he said. "There are other players that could have made plays and had an opportunity to make plays. And we didn't make them. So I can sit here and say I need the ball 10 times but at the end of the day, would that win us the game? We don't know."
Added Watkins: "I think for the most part, it's not about me. I don't want to make it about me. It's really about winning. We didn't win. Of course everybody is frustrated and we can point fingers on, 'He didn't get the ball or this person didn't get it,' but at the end of the day, we have to clean it up and we have to get prepared for [Kansas City]."
Watkins on Wednesday referenced the relative inexperience of him, Taylor and the rest of the offense playing together -- especially in practice, because Watkins and Taylor have dealt with several injuries this season -- as one reason why the passing game isn't always clicking.
"It's chemistry," he said. "At the end of the day, it's trust. Everybody can't look at why I'm not getting the ball, or am I open. Everything happens with trust. This is our first year together. So everybody can't look at us and expect us to be on the same page as [Tom] Brady is with his guys or any other quarterback that had plenty of time -- four, three years -- with those guys. We're still young as a whole group."
Running back LeSean McCoy noted that targets aren't always an accurate indicator of Watkins' contributions, since he can also draw double coverage and open opportunities for other receivers.
"I mean, don’t get me wrong -- myself, and the teammates would love to have the ball in Sammy’s hands," he said Wednesday. "I mean, who wouldn’t? But then again, that’s not my call. I mean I would give myself 35 carries. You know, so I don’t really make that call. But obviously we would love to have Sammy catching passes."