Monday, September 7, 2015, 2:07pm
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be doing some guesswork when they prepare for the New England Patriots offense Thursday night, mostly because there exists zero minutes of tape on Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler together.
Gronk didn't play a snap in the preseason. Chandler only played versus Carolina. Adding the 6-foot-7 Chandler alongside Gronk, who is arguably the most dominant player at any position, could transform the Patriots offense. It's possible that the identity of the 2015 Pats is built around the double tight end set.
"We'll see; we haven't seen that yet this year," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "We'll see how, each team will probably have its own game plan to deal with whatever personnel we have out there, different combinations of people that we can have. It's hard to talk about just one or two players (without) the other three guys -- how are they aligned formationally? So I don't know. We'll try to create situations that stress the defense and if they overplay one thing and underplay something else, then hopefully we'll go to that softer point. I mean, that's what we're trying to do anyway. It's kind of a basic philosophy."
Brandon Bolden has previously filled the role of starting running back, but never consistently. He has registered only three career games of 10+ carries.
This past year, Bolden never carried more than five times in a game; in Week 16 against the Jets, when LeGarrette Blount was injured, Bolden carried five times, Jonas Gray carried six times and Shane Vereen carried six times.
We could see a similar distribution between Bolden, James White and Dion Lewis Thursday (although the overall number of attempts might be slightly higher, because the Jets dominated time of possession in that Week 16 game).
Pittsburgh ranked 6th in rush defense and 27th in pass defense a year ago, so the Pats -- also thin at wide receiver with Brandon LaFell on PUP and Reggie Wayne cut -- could feature lots of Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler. If Travaris Cadet is available, he could figure into the passing game, too. This may not be a 25-carry game on the ground.
The position that must sort it self out is the pass-catching, change-of-pace back. Whoever it is should have a fairly significant role in the offense. Right now, the first choice has to be Lewis, who displayed terrific change-of-direction and underrated power when given the opportunity in the preseason. Lewis can pass protect and has enough punch to run between the tackles.
The good news is once Blount returns Week 2, if healthy, the story said he should lead the team in attempts, yards and TDs for the season. In terms of pass catching, White has proved slippery in the open field, as well as Lewis. And Cadet hasn't proven anything as a member of the Patriots, which should be an indication of how much the team likes him. They kept him around despite not seeing him at all in the preseason due to a hamstring injury, the story went on to say. After what should be a committee approach Week 1, signs continue to point to Blount as the main back, but there remains three pass-catching options which could cause headaches for fantasy owners.
Saturday, June 20, 2015, 10:53am
Fred Davis’s tenure in New England didn’t last long.
Davis, the tight end who signed with the Patriots last month, was released by the team today. The Patriots apparently decided after this week’s minicamp that Davis simply didn’t fit on a tight end depth chart featuring star Rob Gronkowski and veterans Michael Hoomanawanui and Scott Chandler.
Scott Chandler isn't a "move" tight end, though. At 6-foot-7, 260 pounds, he's similar to Gronk. He's a massive in-line tight end and a matchup problem for all safeties.
The addition of Chandler could mean more snaps at wide receiver for Gronk. The Pats offense was particularly effective a year ago when both Gronk and Julian Edelman were split together on one side.
Keep an eye on Fred Davis here, too. In the midst of the Deflategate madness, the Pats signed the troubled tight end to a one-year deal. It's a flier, for sure, but Davis is a "move" tight end with plenty of talent and plenty of past off-the-field issues.
Chandler is no slouch. He produced in spots for the Bills and while he doesn't fit the profile of a typical "move" TE, the Pats could elect to use Gronk in that role while leaving Chandler inside.
Davis was suspended in 2014 following multiple off-the-field incidents. The Patriots have been aggressive at the tight end position this offseason by signing Scott Chandler and now Davis. It appears the team would like to get back to more of those two-TE sets they ran with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The 29-year-old Davis has receiving chops -- he caught 59 passes for 796 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games in 2011, and had a 48-509-6 season in 2009.
Chandler is a decent tight end, but the Bills are looking to upgrade to Clay, who is a better receiver.
Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:02pm
Bills TE Scott Chandler (illness) was removed from the injury report Friday.
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6:14pm
Bills TE Scott Chandler (illness) was removed from the injury report Thursday.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 5:57pm
Bills TE Scott Chandler (illness) did not practice Wednesday.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 14. Per the Denver Post, Thomas “ran pass routes during the open viewing session, more activity than he had shown earlier in the week.” But there is “no guarantee” that he returns this week, so owners should get a Plan B ready since the Broncos play in the late round of games. Scott Chandler, Tony Moeaki, Anthony Fasano, Vernon Davis, Mychal Rivera, Tim Wright, Brent Celek, Levine Toiolo or either of the Green Bay tight ends play at the same time as (or later than) Thomas.
“It’s a groin, and with those you’ve got to be careful, you’ve got to be smart,” Watkins, who hasn’t practiced since leaving Wednesday’s session early, said Friday. “You really don’t know whether you’re right or not, so for me it’s just listen to the trainers and listen to the coaches.”
Coach Doug Marrone said Watkins’ inability to practice for most of the week is cause for concern regarding his availability for Sunday.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to make a decision,” Marrone said. “If you put a player out there, what you’re saying as a coach is that you feel 110-percent confident where he’s at. And Sammy hasn’t been out here, so I don’t know.”
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 10:19pm
There has been steady improvement with each passing day for Bills tight end Scott Chandler since he returned from a groin injury a week ago. On Thursday Chandler was working the middle of the field effectively getting separation and EJ Manuel was finding him.
Chandler pulled in three passes in the practice session during team work. His best came on an early crossing route. Manuel led him with the throw and Chandler rolled up another 15 yards after the catch for a 25-30 yard pass play.
He also caught two more passes in the span of three plays as he was frustrating Pittsburgh’s safeties with his size and strength.
Chandler is a low-end TE2.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 11:20pm
Tuesday night's practice saw the return of Bills tight ends Scott Chandler and Tony Moeaki, as well as wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. None had played in Sunday's preseason game due to injury. Moeaki left practice about halfway through and came back without pads. Word after practice was that Moeaki didn't suffer a new injury and that the team only planned on having him participate in individual drills. Goodwin, meanwhile, was limited in team drills.
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