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Watkins Feeling More Comfortable, Building Rapport with Goff

Posted Aug 22, 2017

WR Sammy Watkins has experienced a hectic couple of weeks since arriving in L.A., but he's feeling more comfortable and confident in the Rams' offense.

Any trade can be difficult on a player. Among the many challenges, there’s a new playbook to learn, new teammates to build chemistry with, and a new city to live in.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been through that gauntlet since being traded to the Rams on Aug. 11. But on Tuesday, Watkins sounded like a man trying to keep life as simple as possible when as he acclimates to his new environment.

“I haven’t really put too much thought about where I’m going to stay at, or been out in L.A. really,” Watkins said. “Just been trying to really handle everything dealing with football, so I’ll probably be squared away in the next two or three weeks, find a place. But right now I’m just focused on football.”

So far, that approach has paid off. Head coach Sean McVay has said since the trade that getting Watkins up to speed will be a challenge. As McVay put it Tuesday, the entire offense has already been installed.

“Now we’re going through different phases of our offense and what we try to do is try to create some of those pressure situations in practice where it’s a sudden change and different things that you really can’t anticipate — where [if] it’s on the script, they know the plays that are coming,” McVay said. “So, for Sammy that possess a little bit bigger learning curve.”

Still, McVay said he’s been impressed at Watkins’ ability to process the information he’s been given and excel on the field.

“I’ve been really pleased with Sammy up until this point, and he did a good job today making a handful of plays,” McVay said. “We anticipate him being a big contributor to what we hope to do offensively.”

Watkins made his Rams debut last Saturday against the Raiders, making a pair of receptions. The wideout admitted he definitely felt “some jitters” during the contest.

“I was definitely comfortable, but at the same time, you kind of run to the line thinking like, ‘Oh, what do I have?’ So I couldn’t really play fast as I wanted to,” Watkins said. “But that just comes with reps and having more time with the QB, with the offense, and just playing more.”

Watkins gave credit to fellow wide receivers Robert Woods — his teammate in Buffalo for three seasons — and Cooper Kupp for aiding him whenever he feels unsure at the line.

“I don’t know every play, so sometimes I don’t know them and guys just give me a cue, give me a signal, and that’s definitely been helpful,” Watkins said. “And, with [Woods] it’s just helpful, because every day he comes prepared to practice, practice hard and I try to build off that.”

“‘Coop’ does a great job,” Watkins added. “If I don’t know anything, I definitely look to my right and he’ll signal something out to me. He’s definitely been helping me.”

It’s one thing to know the plays, but it’s another to build chemistry with the quarterback. While Watkins and Jared Goff have connected on some nice plays in practice — not to mention Goff’s well-thrown deep ball to Watkins in Oakland — the wideout knows a true rapport takes time to establish.

“I think the more reps you get with him, the more he can trust you and the more comfortable he is with throwing the ball to you, and the more you get open,” Watkins said. “That’s the best thing ever, just to have a guy that doesn’t even look your way — just look the safety off and throw you the ball — because he depends on you to be at the right spot. So, that’s the page that I’m trying to build and I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

But then there’s that often-asked question, what number will Watkins wear in the regular season? Temporarily sporting No. 2, Watkins isn’t thinking much about this, either.

“I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m kind of open to anything,” Watkins said. “I don’t want to wear 80s but I’m willing to keep it in the teens.”