Not since the days of Jay Riemersma have the Buffalo Bills possessed a tight end that could be a legitimate threat in the passing game.
When Scott Chandler emerged early last season, catching four touchdowns in the first three games of the season, people started to believe the Bills finally had an answer at the position.
Chandler's six total touchdowns last year tied coach Pete Metzelaars' team record set in 1992.
After looking at the numbers, it's still hard to believe Chandler has what it takes to become elite. Catching a five-yard touchdown is one thing, but being a legitimate threat in the passing game is completely different.
One reason Chandler succeeded early in the season was that he hurt teams that were below average against tight ends.
According to FootballOutsiders.com's Defensive Efficiency ratings, the Chiefs, Patriots and Redskins were all in the bottom half of defenses defending the tight end position in 2011. The Redskins and Patriots finished 28th and 29th, respectively, against tight ends in 2011.
While he did manage to catch four touchdowns in those games, Chandler only managed 31 yards per game in those contests. That number is just slightly above his season average of 27.78 yards per game.
Should the Bills look to acquire another tight end?
Even against poor defenses, Chandler was unable to separate himself enough to make a major impact.
In games where he didn't score a touchdown, the highest amount of yards in a game he recorded was 71 against the Miami Dolphins. Due to the fact that the Bills were down for most of the game, you can attribute the increased number of passes to Chandler's increase in production.
Another troubling statistic is that Chandler recorded less than 16 yards receiving in five of the 14 games he played last season. In addition, in six games last season, Chandler recorded two or less receptions.
I'm not sure if the numbers reflect Chan Gailey's offensive scheme that may shy away from using a tight end, or if Chandler isn't suited to be an NFL tight end, but his numbers don't show that any major improvement is on the way.
If the Bills prefer to use the 6'7", 250-pound Chandler as a threat in the red zone due to his size, that's one thing. But to think that Chandler can become a threat at the tight end position throughout the game is another story.
The Bills will continue to look for a tight end until they aggressively pursue one via trade or the draft. While elite tight ends are hard to come by, they can vastly improve a passing game.
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