OWINGS MILLS, Md. – In his introductory press conference Monday, new Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Sammy Watkins wasted no time giving a critical review of the NFL’s 32nd-ranked passing game and how to fix it.
Watkins said he believes Lamar Jackson could become an “elite” quarterback in the NFL if the Ravens’ wide receivers get a better divorce for him.
“It takes guys who have to be open to being great and looking great and being the Patrick Mahomes of the world and being Tom Brady,” Watkins said. “You have to have that No. 1 receiver or that No. 2 or that No. 3 these days to go out and be successful and literally throw the ball with your eyes closed and be unconscious. If I can go out and can be healthy and the other wideouts can make plays … we can be a balanced offense. [If] we open when we have to open, I think Lamar can throw for those 4000 meters or those 4500 meters [or] 5,000 [yards] – whatever these guys put up. I think he can be that quarterback and be elite in this game. “
Watkins signed a $ 5 million deal with the Ravens on Friday after the team failed to lure JuJu Smith-Schuster and TY Hilton to Baltimore. It has been suggested that free agent receivers do not want to play in the Ravens’ heavy attack. Baltimore’s wide receivers have had the fewest catches and receipts in each of the past two seasons.
Watkins responded with this observation.
“To be fair, not everyone was open. I think that’s a critical part of this offense,” Watkins said. “We can blame the offensive coordinators, but as players we have to do our job.”
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Ravens’ wide receivers opened up more than some might think. Baltimore wide receivers averaged 3.33 yards of separation on arrival of the pass, ranking fourth among qualifying quarterbacks.
But Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, wants to become a more efficient pitcher. He was ranked 22nd in passing yards in each of the past two seasons, with 3,127 in 2019 and 2,757 last season.
Baltimore added Watkins to the team with young wide receivers in Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay.
After signing a contract with the Ravens, Watkins spoke to Jackson and said to him, “This is your show. I just want to be a part of it. You’re a special talent and I just want to come over here and try to help as far as I can tell.” like making plays for you. “
Watkins, 27, is now on his fourth team and acknowledged that after three seasons in Kansas City, he wanted “a new landscape.” He said he already feels at home with the Ravens because of his familiarity with the coaching staff. His best season in the NFL was with the Buffalo Bills in 2015, when Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was the play-caller there. Watkins’ personal receiver coach Keith Williams is now the pass play specialist.
With the combination of Roman and Williams, Watkins believes he can live up to the expectations of a top five overall pick in the 2014 draft.
“I think it’s time for the world to see Sammy Watkins, the one who played in college and ran around the field for fun,” said Watkins. “I think I’m that guy. I just need to put together a healthy season and get out there and do some victories and have fun and enjoy the process.”
Watkins has not received more than 60 catches or 700 yards in his last five seasons. The biggest problem was durability.
He has only played one season of 16 games, which was his 2014 rookie year. In the past six seasons, Watkins has missed a total of 26 games due to calf, ankle, foot and hamstring injuries. He was out of play for the Chiefs eight games last season (including two playoff games) due to calf and hamstring problems.
“It was always about my availability,” said Watkins. “That has been the beat throughout my career. I think I am as elite as any other receiver in the game in terms of looking for a match and playing the game the way it should be played – blocking, running Great routes, getting open I just didn’t put it all together This is crucial – my seventh year now – where I can hopefully put everything together, stay sane, get out and hit a ball and be elite. “
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