Monday, August 18, 2014

Manuel sure Woods will see plenty of playing time


Coming into this season, it seemed like Robert Woods playing with the Bills' first-team offense was a foregone conclusion.

Last year's second-round pick, the rookie receiver finished third on the team in receiving yards, hauling in only 10 yards less than the team's No. 1 wideout, Stevie Johnson. Moreover, he averaged more yards per catch than any other full-time Buffalo receiver at nearly 15 yards a grab.

Following the acquisitions of Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams, however, Woods has been mainly relegated to the second-team unit this preseason, with Chris Hogan seeing most of the first-team snaps in the slot during three-receiver sets.

According to his signal-caller, that's likely to change come Week 1.

"Woody is going to play in my opinion," E.J. Manuel said this week, via "I don’t think there’s ever going to be a game when he’s not playing. I assume that he’ll be out there when we first go out as the first group.

"He’s such a versatile receiver. You could put him in the slot and put him outside. That’s on [Offensive Coordinator] (Nathaniel) Hackett and [Head Coach] (Doug) Marrone to make that decision, but I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’ll be on the field."

Woods showed that versatility in the team's last preseason game, pulling down three receptions for nearly 50 yards with the first-teamers following an injury to Watkins. Woods averaged more than 16 yards a catch in the game, a number aided by his 30-yard reception in the second quarter. 

This preseason, the sophomore leads the team with 11 catches for 129 yards. He addressed his time with the second-stringers earlier this month, saying simply, "it is what it is," and that he's out to show he's worthy of starting spot.

"Every time I come out here I just try to prove a point. Every day is an example and just proof why I’m here."

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