Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bills' TE Chandler should open up offense

In case you haven’t noticed, the Buffalo Bills have a tight end who can catch.

Scott Chandler put on a game-changing performance against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, recording five catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns. The 26-year-old caught just one ball for eight yards last year, and the two scores doubled the touchdown total of all four Bills tight ends who made receptions in 2010.

Standing 6-feet-7 with proven hands, Chandler’s presence in the middle of the field will undoubtedly open things up for Buffalo’s passing offense, which already consists of a promising young group of wideouts.

“I think it adds a dimension to our offense,” Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. “We really didn’t use the tight end a lot last year. He’s doing a good job with it.”

Bills coach Chan Gailey, however, is keeping it all in perspective. He understands that Chandler won’t always have such a favorable matchup. After all, offensive production from tight ends often comes in waves.

“(Last week) was one of those games where they decided to leave him one-on-one in some spots or open up the zones for him in spots or not cover him in one spot at all, and Fitz found him every time,” Gailey said Monday. “That may happen again, it may not. We may go three games and it might not be, but one or two and then all of the sudden he has another game like that.

“The one thing that’s good about where we are right now is we have confidence in a lot of people. Fitz recognizes the mismatches and the weaknesses and doesn’t mind throwing there. We’re not trying to throw it to a certain guy. We’re taking what the defense gives us.”

The Oakland Raiders, Buffalo's Week 2 opponent, took notice of Chandler’s performance last week.

"The young man ... is a match-up nightmare and made a lot of plays against Kansas City," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said Wednesday. " It will be a tall chore for our defense, but I think we’ll be looking forward to it.”

The addition of a touchdown-scoring tight end is one that all three of Buffalo’s division rivals have exploited over the last few years, and with much success. If Chandler continues to be productive, Chandler, New York Jets’ Dustin Keller, Miami Dolphins’ Anthony Fasano and the New England Patriots’ duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez could form one of the best divisional receiving tight end groups in the league.