It's no secret that the Patriots are paper thin on offense right now. With Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman nursing injuries that'll keep them out this week against Philadelphia, and Danny Amendola's status still up in the air, New England needs to have its lesser-used players step up.
One of them is tight end Scott Chandler. Chandler hasn't lived up to expectations in his first season as a Patriot, but part of that is due to him being used as an extra blocker as a result of a shaky offensive line.
With Gronk set to miss this week's game, Chandler has a great opportunity to step up and produce. Here are a few things to know about the 6-foot-7 tight end.
- Chandler had a lot of success in Buffalo running seam routes, aka going down the middle of the field. Now that Chandler is the No. 1 tight end, he may get more looks on these types of routes. He's been targeted five times this season on seam routes and has caught two passes for 22 and 25 yards respectively. His biggest strength, however, is running hitch and comeback routes. He's caught six of seven passes for 62 yards on these routes.
- Chandler's biggest issue is that he's struggled to hold on to the ball. Phil Perry of Comcast Sportsnet New England has him listed for five drops on 33 targets, and Kevin Duffy of Masslive.com has him pegged for eight drops on 34 targets. Either way, he's got to do a better job of holding on to the football.
- When he's been used as an "in-line" tight end, Chandler has caught 10 passes on 15 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. Against a weak Eagles pass defense, expect to see Chandler used more in this role. Gronk-like numbers probably shouldn't be expected, but it's possible that Chandler could have a big day if he's targeted on the kinds of routes that fit his strengths.
During the preseason, it looked like Brady and Chandler had been building a nice rapport. That unfortunately hasn't materialized to this point, but here's hoping they regain chemistry on Sunday.
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