We’ve all seen the on the field outburst. There’s Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods jumping up and down, or flailing his hands after his quarterback throws to another receiver. Woods doesn’t say many things publicly, or to the media, but his on the field demeanor when he’s not getting the ball when he’s open (or thinks he is) is apparent.
With Sammy Watkins being ruled out, and Percy Harvin left stateside for Sunday’s game, Robert Woods is set to take the snaps as the Buffalo Bills number one receiver for the first time in his career in London of all places.
The Bills selected Woods in the second round of the 2013 draft after many draft pundits thought he possessed first round skills. He’s never truly broken out as he’s has had to play second fiddle to other receivers (namely Stevie Johnson his rookie year and Watkins the past two) since he came into the league.
So far the most targets Woods has seen in a game this year is five. He’s reached that total twice against both the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants. In both games Watkins missed significant time as he sat after the first quarter against the Dolphins, and missed the entire Giants game.
Those combined ten targets produced seven catches and 71 yards of offense.
Going against an average Jacksonville Jaguars secondary, that has yielded 10 receiving touchdowns this season, it would appear that the emotional Woods looks primed for a breakout performance.
When Woods receives 10 or more targets in a game, which has only happened four times in his young career, the receiver averages six catches for 69 yards.
His best output with double digit targets was last year against the New York Jets. There he hauled in nine catches off 11 targets for 118 yards and a touchdown. Head Coach Rex Ryan should remember how badly his Jets team got gashed along the right sideline and try to employ Woods similarly.
This isn’t to say that Woods is a dynamic receiver like Sammy Watkins or Percy Harvin. No one will confuse Woods for Harvin as he isn’t a burner, or even Watkins with athletic catches, but what Woods does best is get into open space and exploit holes in opponent’s coverage.
The knock on him is that much like his emotions, Woods the receiver can be inconsistent, thought that is starting to change. His catch percentage has greatly improved since his rookie year, but he still has the occasional bad drop.
He is an ideal secondary receiver that if given the opportunity can produce big games, which is exactly what has to happen on Sunday across the pond if the Bills are to be victorious.
Now is the opportunity for Woods to show what he can do as a featured weapon. If he can supplement some of the production with the loss of Watkins and Harvin, it will further demonstrate that he deserves more of those targets that he’s been outwardly wanting.