Rams WR Watkins eager for fresh start, grass field in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sammy Watkins was thrilled when the Buffalo Bills threw to him repeatedly in the opening minutes of their exhibition opener earlier this week.

Only later did the Los Angeles Rams’ top new receiver realize what else might have been going on.

“I just thought I was catching it hot,” Watkins said with a grin Saturday. “I mean, they were targeting me pretty quick, and after the game, I was (thinking), ‘Oh, I probably was out there auditioning.'”

If his last game for Buffalo was indeed a tryout for potential employers, the Rams clearly thought he passed.

Los Angeles traded a second-round draft pick and cornerback E.J. Gaines to the Bills for a sixth-rounder and Watkins, who immediately becomes the top target for Jared Goff on the Rams’ long-struggling offense.

Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft, had only been to Los Angeles a couple of times before getting traded. He traveled from western New York to California on Saturday, landing on a gorgeous 85-degree day to check out the Coliseum before the Rams’ preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

“Just being in LA can help me out,” Watkins said. “Nice city. Nice weather. And just to be in this city with the players, just trying to chase a goal and win a championship and go to the playoffs. It’s a blessing to be here, to be on real grass eight or nine games out of the year.”

Watkins’ occasionally injured legs will benefit from the Coliseum grass, and the Rams intend to benefit greatly from Watkins’ speed and skill. He is expected to provide the deep threat that was among many things lacking for Los Angeles last season, when the Rams had the NFL’s worst offense for the second straight year.

Watkins praised Rams receivers Robert Woods, who left Buffalo as a free agent to join Los Angeles earlier this year, and Tavon Austin.

Newly-acquired Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins looks on before a preseason NFL football game…

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