In an effort to bolster the offense, the Bills brought in some new running backs and wide receivers in the off season. But they stayed with a familiar face atop the tight end portion of the depth chart, re-signing Scott Chandler to a two year contract.
The 6 foot, 7 inch Chandler has been very productive in his three full seasons with Buffalo. His number of catches and receiving yards have gone up each season going from 38 for 389 in 2011 to 43/571 in 2012 to a career high 53/655 last season. Chandler led the team in both categories.
That probably won't happen this season but Chandler is hoping to provide as much help as possible for second year quarterback EJ Manuel. During an interview on WGR on Thursday, Chandler said he definitely sees growth in the Bills young signal caller.
"Its not a small amount of growth, it’s a very large amount of growth" the former Iowa Hawkeye said. "Its tough for people to just come and watch and see that all the time. Just his confidence in the offense, he understands whats going on now. I think sometimes last year he kind of had an idea of what he was supposed to do but as the quarterback you need to know what everybody has to do and that’s tough to do as a rookie. That guy has an incredible work ethic and he worked very hard this off season. From the spring to training camp and even throughout training camp, he’s continued to grow and excel and I can’t say enough about him. He’s our guy"
The Bills believe Manuel will thrive, in part, due to the new weapons on the roster, most notably Sammy Watkins. Even though Watkins has yet to play in a regular season game, Chandler says the Clemson University product is the "real deal".
"You see the way he works, the way he wants to get better, you see the plays that he makes" Chandler said. "Obviously he needs to make those plays in regular season games and hopefully playoffs but he’s made them pretty consistently in practice. You watch the way that he runs routes and you can tell that there are details he’s paying attention to and he does things the right way."
Perhaps Chandler will once again play a key role in the red zone offense. In 2011 and 2012, Chandler caught nine touchdown passes in the red zone but last year he had just one.
You can hear the entire interview with Scott Chandler: