Both Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins have called up Keith Williams, formerly of Nebraska, to help work on various aspects of their game.
Sammy Watkins needed help putting on the brakes.
The Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver is a big target at 6’1 and 211 pounds. His size and speed make him one of the NFL’s most dangerous targets, especially after the catch, where he almost becomes like a running back in the secondary.
For such a big target, however, Watkins says he wanted to work on his game this offseason by learning how to stop. That’s quite a challenge since, as he says, ” I’m a big guy. I run hard, fast and physical and you have to learn to control that speed.”
Watkins spoke to reporters on Monday from Chiefs training camp and said he “feels great” at this point in the preseason. He’s fresh off of an offseason in which he says he finally listened to trainers for a change and the results have yielded great dividends. In addition to listening to the Chiefs staff, he also sought out some additional help. That whole stopping thing.
“Thanks to Tyreek [Hill], he had a guy that specialized in braking and running routes and stuff like that. I went and seen him for five or six days and he taught me how to stop,” said Watkins on Monday.
The “guy” in question is Keith Williams, former wide receivers coach for the University of Nebraska. Williams has worked with Hill in the past and now Watkins is clearly a fan as well.
The Chiefs receiving tandem are only a couple of the pro football receivers calling Williams for additional help on the side. Ryan Grant of the Oakland Raiders and Brandon Reilly of the Detroit Lions are also clients, as are Kenny Stills, Davante Adams and several more.
Watkins says it’s Williams’ ability to “connect” that makes him special.
“He can connect with us,” says Watkins.” He teaches differently than coach. We’ve got great coaches here, but he can kind of talk to you and break everything down and walk through stuff. Out here it’s more competing and grinding, but with him, it’s more teaching and talking. He kinda just helped me out within those five days.”
It’s great to see star players making further investments in their game. It’s easy to forget that Watkins is still so young (he just turned 26) and that these investments could yield tremendous results down the road. Certainly Hill’s growth is as impressive as any receiver’s in the last couple years as he’s went from electric weapon to top-tier receiver by working on his blocking, route running, and tracking.
Watkins had 40 catches for 519 yards and 3 touchdowns last season for the Chiefs.