Sports

WR Watkins 'frustrated,' but still believes in Rams' offence

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2017, file photo, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins (12) runs a route during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Watkins is hoping to fill a bigger role on the Rams’ offense going forward after catching just 14 passes in their first five games. The new receiver expressed his frustrations with his role on social media after going without a catch in Los Angeles’ loss to Seattle last weekend. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2017, file photo, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins (12) runs a route during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Watkins is hoping to fill a bigger role on the Rams’ offense going forward after catching just 14 passes in their first five games. The new receiver expressed his frustrations with his role on social media after going without a catch in Los Angeles’ loss to Seattle last weekend. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Sammy Watkins realizes the size of his next NFL contract depends partly on his numbers for the Los Angeles Rams this season.

The receiver insists he's more interested in the numbers in the Rams' win column.

"No, I think I've got enough money," Watkins said with a grin Wednesday. "For me, I just want to have fun and ball. I want to be a part of this team. It's a great team. I know where they're about to be at with Coach (Sean) McVay and his staff, and I just want to be a part and make plays, just score touchdowns and be a part of it."

Watkins acknowledges he has been "frustrated" about his relatively small role for Los Angeles (3-2), which gave up a second-round pick to acquire the speedy pass-catcher from Buffalo during the preseason. But Watkins insists he doesn't feel forgotten by Jared Goff and McVay, who have struggled to get the ball to Watkins early.

Watkins has 14 catches for 211 yards and two TDs in his first five games with the Rams. He failed to make a reception against Seattle last Sunday, going without a catch for just the second time in his four-year, 42-game NFL career.

"I don't know a wide receiver that's not frustrated throughout the game if you're not getting the ball, but that's the game," Watkins said. "Each week, it could change. They had certain coverage that took me away, and that's part of the game."

But Watkins expressed some of his frustrations on social media after the Rams' narrow loss by responding to tweets from retired Rams receiver Torry Holt, who questioned why Watkins wasn't more involved.

"Something gotta be going on," Watkins tweeted, along with an emoji of a face with the mouth zippered shut.

Watkins' tweets led to a conversation with McVay, and both parties came out of it publicly happy.

"Sammy is a player that wants to be involved," McVay said. "I really respect the way Sammy handled our conversation, in terms of taking the accountability to know that it's about snap-in and snap-out (readiness), and really the tape is what tells the story. Sometimes when you don't get your number targeted, it can be a little bit misleading, and what I appreciate about Sammy is I think he took it the right way."

Watkins has just 14 catches, but the number that should concern Watkins more is 20 — the number of times he has been targeted by Goff and McVay's offence in five games, including just four times on Goff's 47 passes against Seattle. That's a tiny number for a playmaking receiver expecting to put up significant stats in the final year of his rookie contract.

After the game, Watkins thought he had been open regularly against Seattle. After watching tape, he revised his opinion.

"They had certain coverage that took me away, and that's part of the game," Watkins said. "When you really watch film and look at film critically, certain things (are more obvious). Sometimes it's on the line, sometimes it's on wide receivers. There's not a perfect play out there, so I can't say I'm open. There's a lot of other things that's taking place on the field."

NOTES: Pharoh Cooper will replace Tavon Austin as the Rams' punt returner after Austin's two-fumble misadventures against Seattle. Receiver Cooper Kupp also will work at the job in practice. ... S Lamarcus Joyner hopes to return from his hamstring injury Sunday at Jacksonville, but isn't certain. He was limited in practice Wednesday, while LB Mark Barron didn't practice due to a knee injury. McVay hopes Barron will play Sunday.

___

More AP NFL: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

More on Metronews.ca