Bill Wippert/AP
Bill Wippert/AP

The Sammy Show

It might be a smidge too early to hand him the rookie of the year hardware, but wide receiver Sammy Watkins is generating buzz with the Bills. Plus, a reader mailbag with questions about the NFL in L.A. and another team name change

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Over coffee Monday morning, Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley told me a story about first-round receiver Sammy Watkins reporting, alone, for an offseason practice at the Bills training center at 6:45 a.m. “He wanted to get his footwork that he’d been taught right,’’ Whaley said. “He was out there, alone, before anyone else got there. This is one dedicated player.”

You always want to be careful about rookies in training camp, particularly when it’s not even August, and particularly when they’re playing without full pads and thus not in full contact. So I reminded myself Monday afternoon, midway through Watkins’ second NFL training-camp practice, that this all meant nothing.

But Watkins owned this practice.

He showed why Whaley surrendered first- and fourth-round picks in the 2015 draft to move up five spots in the first round last May so the Bills could pick him. Smart? We’ll see. The price was beyond exhorbitant, particularly for a team that still plans to key its offense around the running game. Watkins’ talent is tantalizing. And for a team languishing in sub-mediocrity for the past 14 seasons, his arrival’s been like a B-12 shot: energizing.

More Bills

Pittsford, N.Y., summer home of the Bills, was the first stop on The MMQB's 2014 Training Camp Tour.


Peter King:

Welcome to Camp Hope

Bills Camp Postcard

I’ll tell you about four plays that took place in a span of five minutes during an 11-on-11 scrimmage Monday afternoon, in Clemson-style summer heat and humidity here in central New York.

One: At the snap of the ball, the 6-1, 205-pound Watkins charged off the line at starting left corner Leodis McKelvin. He steamrolled McKelvin. Flattened him. As McKelvin fell, he dragged Watkins with him. Had this been a game, McKelvin would have been called for holding. Watkins was in the right, blasting McKelvin in the five-yard bump zone. And McKelvin did all he could, holding on for dear life and taking Watkins down with him.

Two: On the next snap, Watkins charged off the line and McKelvin gave him his space, and Watkins pivoted left, alone across the middle. McKelvin was six yards behind Watkins when E.J. Manuel found him, wide open, running free on a crossing route.

Watkins rose above everyone else in the first two days of Bills practice. (Bill Wippert/AP)
Watkins rose above everyone else in the first two days of Bills practice. (Bill Wippert/AP)

Three: Jittering off the line, Watkins got free of the corner (I didn’t see who it was) and Manuel lofted a perfect ball 35 yards down the right sideline into Watkins’ hands.

Four: In traffic over the middle, four players jumped for a high ball. Watkins, a good three feet off the ground, came down with it.

Watkins got poked in the eye late in practice and was down for a few moments. Good for the Bills he got up and seemed fine.

I don’t know if Manuel and Watkins are going to be able to keep up the playmaking pace. Manuel has to have faith in Watkins and second-year receiver Robert Woods to make plays down the field, even when they’re covered. We’ll see if he can do it. But on a broiling July Monday, Watkins was the goods. He has surprising power for a player his size, and he’s not afraid to use it, and he’s not intimidated by good veteran corners. I left here liking what I saw out of a player the Bills need desperately to catch the Patriots.

Now for your email as we hit the camp trial:

ON THE HALL OF FAME GAME. How does the league pick the teams for the Hall Of Fame game?  While the players might not enjoy the extra game and week of training camp, I’d suspect there are plenty of coaches who would welcome the extra time.

—John Hayes

John, the NFL and the Hall of Fame try to put teams in the game based on inductees that season. For instance, this year, the Giants (Michael Strahan) and Bills (Andre Reed) are playing. The Hall figures that many fans going to Canton to see their heroes likely will want to watch the first game of the preseason too.

Chris Kluwe is planning to sue the Vikings for defamation among other accusations. (Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
Chris Kluwe is planning to sue the Vikings for defamation among other accusations. (Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

ON CHRIS KLUWE. I really like the column. Thanks for writing it. With respect to Chris Kluwe, I follow him on Twitter, and find him to be an interesting person (even if I do not agree with some of his ideas). My perception is that he struggles to communicate effectively, and he does not respect others’ points of view. His dialogue (again, based on Twitter and some of his columns which he has written) then turns extremely juvenile and divisive, to the point of name-calling. He also derides entire groups of people. With this in mind, my question is, did he exhibit this sort of behavior in the locker room? Would this have also been a factor in his release?

—Andy Thomas

I was not in the Vikings’ locker room much when Kluwe played there, Andy. But I think there’s a lot of juvenile behavior in locker rooms. I don’t believe anything he did in the locker room had anything to do with his release.

ON THE BALTIMORE PASS RUSH. You wrote Monday about the Ravens: ‘A few too many questions on defense for my liking, particularly rushing the passer.’ Wait, what? Of all the questions the Ravens have on D, you go with rushing the passer? Not the secondary, which has only two good corners and a bunch of undrafted free agents, formerly undrafted or late-round picks, and washed-up veterans battling for the nickel, dime, and fifth corner spots, and a free safety battle between a former Rams backup and a third round pick? Instead, you think the biggest question on defense is that they ONLY have Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs as their pass rushers? Huh?’

—Ben

Okay. I won’t have any concerns about a team that averaged 2.5 sacks a game last year, with the two leaders of the pass rush turning 32 and 30 this year.

ON THE WASHINGTON TEAM NAME. This has to have been suggested before, but how about Washington rename its football team ‘Americans.’ Not ‘Native Americans’ but ‘Americans.’  And keep the logo the same. Suddenly, the perceived bigotry of the former nickname and logo, becomes the ultimate tribute using the new combination. Thoughts?

—Kevin G., Vista, Calif.

TALK BACK

Got a question for Peter King? Submit it, along with your name and hometown, to talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in next Tuesday’s mailbag.

I don’t see it working, Kevin. Part of the protest against the name is the logo, so I think Native American groups would want to make a clean break with the name and all the marks.

ON THE FUTURE OF THE NFL IN LOS ANGELES. The NFL wants back in the City of Angels, correct? Reports are surfacing that the shield is looking at putting the shovel in the dirt themselves (it’s about time). Then why not go in with a team and build Super Bowl City? Construct a Disneyland/Universal Studios-esque tribute to the game with a stadium (named the Super Bowl) with a mixed use development of hotel, restaurants and retail to play annual host to the actual Super Bowl. The game was born in LA, so there is historical precedent for it to be played there every year. Super Bowl City would be a virtual 12-month ATM for the league and teams that call LA home. It’s time. Let’s make it happen.

—Daniel Olson

I’ve thought for a long time the league will investigate something like what you’re saying—a combo platter of football and entertainment. That’s why I think the area around Staples Center and LA Live is the best spot for a stadium and the home of Los Angeles football.  

MORE ON THE WASHINGTON TEAM NAME. Love the column, disagree with PC reasons for forcing the Redskins to change their name, but let’s assume you’re correct and the NFL gets the Redskins to change their name by 2016. Isn’t it only logical (and to be blunt, equally PC) for the league to force Kansas City to change the name of the Chiefs at the same time? When the NFL makes a decision on issues, they seem to do so in a comprehensive, fully committed, best-interests-of-the-NFL fashion. I can’t imagine them leaving the name Chiefs in place to come around and bite them in a second round of bad publicity. That’s not their style at all.

—John McMillan, 
Toronto

Could be. There is no question a portion of the Native American populace wants to eliminate any reference of their people as mascots. And I agree with that. But I don’t sense much of a groundswell against “Chiefs” because of the perceived nobility of the name.

mmqb-end-slug-square

More from The MMQB
84 comments
SeanPatrickBurke
SeanPatrickBurke

LA does not support football. THERE IS NO NEED for a team there!! The NFL is beyond successful- why expand to a market that consistently fails to show interest in its football teams! How many chances can one city get? 

wesblanch
wesblanch

Your response to the need to rename or not rename the KC Chiefs...points out the problem to me with the whole issue. WHO decides what is Politically Correct? What "critical mass" of criticism warrants change? When are Scandinavian descendants going to rebel against the Vikings? What about all the New Englanders who suddenly tire of being called Yankees? (I know I switched sports.) And also in MLB--the Atlanta Braves. And I'm sure there are more that SOMEONE is offended by. 

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

Peter, you're SURE the logo is "part" of the problem? It seems like you're guessing on that one (the Redskins case). I can see if *some* natives are offended because they don't like to see themselves as some sort of warrior cartoon...but then do Swedes get upset at "Vikings"? Are cowboys offended by "Cowboys"? And I know a lot of Natives get upset at people donning headdresses, et al, as those articles are supposed to be sacred. But you're the first person I've heard say this has to do with eliminating Natives as team mascot themes.

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

Andy Thomas---"he doesn't respect others' points of view" about Kluwe is a catch-all statement. What if your argument garners no respect, like, having a viewpoint based strictly off faith?

Ocean_State_Patriots_Fan
Ocean_State_Patriots_Fan

I think it’s important to recognize that the groundswell in media reporting on the Redskins name change “controversy” does not equate to a groundswell of support among the general public—or even Native Americans—for such a change.The only credible polls—i.e., those using scientifically sound polling methodologies—of which I'm aware continue to show overwhelming support nationwide for the Redskins nickname.But let there be no mistake about this political football:If the Redskins nickname is retired one day, the Chiefs nickname will be the next “hors d’oeuvres” on the PC menu.As we’ve seen, that which is noble today may be ignoble tomorrow.



Redskins
Redskins

Chris doesn't have a Kluwe!

TimWeaver20
TimWeaver20

No comment about Dungy?  I thought Peter had bigger nads than that.


Dungy is a hypocrite bigot.  He had no problem with Tebow or Vick being huge distractions.  Or Manziel.


And he's lucky people gave Jackie Robinson a chance instead of whining about "distractions."  Plus, he ignores the fact there was a time when black coaches were a "distraction."


Dungy is a disgrace.

nooch
nooch

So peter you're offended by the Redskin name and logo, but you seem to give a player and friend of yours a pass when it comes to making jokes about molestation by a homosexual pedophile? What gives? I know its not the same thing but I dont think I'd give Kluwe any more friendly press if I were you. Seeing how you're on a high horse about insensitivity and all

Wombat
Wombat

Peter, I would respect your opinion about the Redskins name issue if I thought that you, (or any other PC activist), really cared about the feelings or welfare of Native Americans. Instead of voicing your dislike of the team name why don't you research some decent Native  American charities that are working to better the lot of the Native American. Even in this enlightened day and age Native Americans as a whole have a standard of living that is much, much less than that of the other average Americans of other races. Anyone wanting to help this group please quit espousing the "shame" or the Redskins name and try sending a donation to groups like NAHA, (Native American Heritage Association), or Catching the Dream, (Native American Educational assistance). Something like this ir REAL help to Native Americans and not just some PC platitudes to make yourself feel better...

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

Peter, besides you, who considers "chief" a noble name? I have often heard it used in an ironically humorous way, as when my pediatrician called me "chief" as a kid. Have you polled all of those Native American groups that you often refer to in these columns about perceptions of this term?

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@wesblanch  I've read at least a hundred variations on your stupid little rant.  Your comparisons are extremely moronic and you don't even manage to be funny.  I'll bet you think Rush Limbaugh is hilarious.

MattCote
MattCote

@wesblanch The Yankees are in New York, not New England. Please get your reference correct, we New Englanders do not like being linked with New York.

eddie767
eddie767

@RedskinsRedskins That just rolls off the tongue, but it's the team i follow. Or, we could just say Skinz. HTTR all day!!!

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Ocean_State_Patriots_Fan  Keep on pretending that there are a bunch of "credible polls" backing up the fetish you have for a racial slur.  But that's a load of crap.


I'm just disgusted that we're both Patriots fans.  Bob Kraft would change the name if he owned the Racialslurs because he isn't a dimwitted racist child. 

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

@TimWeaver20 What a foolish comment.  Dungy is saying what 31 other organizations were thinking: he didn't want the distraction that would come if (or when?) Sam had to be cut from the team because he didn't have the skill set to make the team.  

Vick was a criminal who was seeking redemption, and the hype around him died down quickly after he proved he could still play.  Tebow was one of the most effective college quarterbacks in recent memory, certainly one of the winningest, and the distraction around such a highly-rated player (at the time) was a tradeoff some teams - and coaches like Dungy - were willing to tolerate.

Sam, on the other hand, has been reported by many draft experts as a marginal player.  Every front office in the league agreed wholeheartedly (as evidenced by the fact that they all passed on him 7 times (6 in the case of the Rams).  Because Dungy recognizes that, you call him a disgrace?  That's irrational at best, and foolish in the extreme.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@TimWeaver20 There's another article at si.com where your comment will be considered relevant.

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Wombat  Why do seemingly educated people like Wombat fight so vociferously on behalf of a racial slur?  Does it really mean that much to them?  Is it because they miss the old days when they could toss the "N" word around in public?  I guess that's it.  All this whining about "PC" is just a cover for a bunch of Angry White Guys who miss the days when no one dared to question anything they said or did.  All they have left is their beloved Washington Racialslurs... and, of course, the Republikkkan Party.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@Wombat I agree with your point. Brad Pitt's Make It Right foundation, which has helped fund building of houses in New Orleans, is now working in Montana, building twenty houses for Native Americans on two sites in that state. This looks like a good cause that actually seeks to improve people's lives.

usameos6
usameos6

@Wombat Thanks for posting this - it's amazing that someone being born on a reservation in the United States today has a 10 year shorter life expectancy than someone being born in Haiti.  

TomGascich
TomGascich

@SkokieDog The nickname "Chiefs" was given to the Kansas City football team in honor of ex-KC mayor H. Rowe Bartle, who was instrumental in bringing a football team to KC.  Bartle's nickname was "The Chief".  A lot of people outside of KC don't understand that.

Mike26
Mike26

@MoeLarryAndJesus Has there been a single time when you've actually TRIED to make a relevant, intelligent comment?  If so, please link to it for me and others.  Your posts get more off-topic, irrelevant and plain idiotic because you almost NEVER have an original thought - it's just a put-down of someone else's thoughts.  Until you decide to post like an educated adult, you'll continue to be skewered  - which sadly you seem to enjoy.  What an unfortunate life you lead...

David2
David2

@JMillerNC  To be fair, Sam's measurables and natural position are what prevented a lot of teams (especially those running a 3-4) from considering him at all, not the circus that would surround him.  

Mike26
Mike26

@MoeLarryAndJesus @Wombat Moe, all you're doing is using the same old attacks that others have already made - and many of them as irrelevant as ever.  Your seeming lack of education and poor social development shine through quite brilliantly in nearly every single post you make.  Disagree with an idea by discussing the differences, not just attacking the original idea like a middle school bully wannabe, which is pretty much all you do.

Wombat
Wombat

@MoeLarryAndJesus @Wombat Also, more to your point... I don't care if they change the name or not... If it offends someone then change it but please do not then walk away saying to yourself "I have helped the Native Americans" and puff out your chest in pride. You have essentially done nothing of substance. Children are not getting medical help, not getting educations, standards of living are much lower than the norm, and even life expectancy in many cases is much less... If you are so proud of your stance on such things then let's see you do something about it!

Wombat
Wombat

@MoeLarryAndJesus @Wombat Wow MLJ, do you purposefully miss everyone's point so that you can "troll" for arguments? Are you just that small and mean spirited that you can't see the hypocrisy of campaigning against a team name in the name of "the good of the Native American People" when there are REAL issues to be addressed? Are you so indoctrinated into the partisan politics of our world today that you can't see when someone DOESN'T GIVE A DAM about Democrat or Republican? These people really need help and all anyone today can say is Redskins is insulting! You sir are a sad symptom of our times! 

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@TomGascich Thank you for the historical clarification. I didn't know that. Did the ex-mayor have an arrowhead on his watch fob too? I'm just asking, since the team's symbols tend toward a Native American theme. 

And I'm confident that ex-mayor Bartle did much more that was positive for the people of Kansas City than Rahm Emanuel is doing for the populace of Chicago, where a wild animal is the (socially acceptable) team mascot, and violent crime is routine, along with bogus tickets from red-light cameras. 

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Mike26 @MoeLarryAndJesus  Mikey, you're incapable of recognizing intelligence since your IQ of 26 is negligible.  Now resume your regular role here, which is whining like a spoiled little girl every time Peter K. makes a political comment that annoys your tender teabagger sensibilities.

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

Hopefully we don't have to have multiple insulting posts fly back and forth between the two of you.

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Wombat @MoeLarryAndJesus  Actual adults can do more than one thing at a time and care about more than one issue at a time, Dumbat.  Your obsessive right-wing babble about this issue makes me want to puke in your shoes. 

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Wombat @MoeLarryAndJesus  Maybe there's more than one REAL issue, chuckles.


So what are YOU doing to help these people?  Nothing, other than defending a racial slur over and over again. 

Wombat
Wombat

@BillRobinson Nope... sadly it was me this time... I lost my head thinking I could have a reasoned discussion with him... Ah well... never again. Sorry for taking up forum space with it.

Wombat
Wombat

@MoeLarryAndJesus @Wombat Ah MLJ I am done with you. You are definitely a sad little person with only one song to sing. Well, you will sing it alone. 

Wombat
Wombat

@MoeLarryAndJesus @Wombat Once again, chuckles I don't care one way or the other about the name... change it. I just hold that most of the people calling for a name change will disappear after it happens and do nothing else for these people... If you are truly concerned about the Native American situation then do more than change a name...


Also, were I to want to be prideful in my giving I would compare charitable works with you but that is counter productive... I doubt you will see that because if you DO give I see you as the type that then announces your giving to the world for your own aggrandizement.  I hope I'm wrong but I see no evidence to the contrary in how you treat people here...



Mike26
Mike26

@MoeLarryAndJesus  Please discuss in detail all these other REAL issues that you speak of in passing.  I'm intrigued by your inner knowledge of NA issues.

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Mike26 @MoeLarryAndJesus  Of course.  I've been right about you since the beginning.  You're basically a 300 pound male Sarah Palin in overalls and with a lot of missing teeth.

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

I understand. Sadly, I then read the barrage of inane comments I was afraid of. Been there, done that. :)

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Wombat @MoeLarryAndJesus  The one-song singers here are you and Mikey.  You just can't stop whining whenever PK makes it clear that he doesn't worship at the altar of Zombie Reagan.


Get over it. 

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Wombat @MoeLarryAndJesus  The point, Dumbat, is that changing the name doesn't preclude doing those other things, too.


When you right-wingers stop whining full-time maybe you'll even find time to do a few of them.  Unlike the Tea Party-dominated Congress you love so much, which is doing less than nothing.

Mike26
Mike26

@Wombat  I can't support you in this venture Wombat - trying to consort with MLJ in a meaningful way when it's obvious he's clearly incapable of intelligent discussion.  What are you thinking?

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Buck2185 @Wombat @BillRobinson  That's the kind of comment Mikey and Wombat will say doesn't amount to pure, undisguised bigotry.  But they're wrong.  Buck, you and your kind are dinosaurs on the road to extinction.  The world will be a better place once you're all gone.

Wombat
Wombat

@Mike26 @Wombat I have clearly lost my head... I am out now and will leave him to his own sad devices...

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