In this article series I will take a look at some of the free agents that the Patriots have brought in during the 2015 off-season and show what I think they can bring to the Patriots. You can find the previous articles here
Scott Chandler is a Y tight end which is the classic type of tight end, like Gronkowski, who can both block and receive passes, and who mostly lines up on the besides an offensive tackle. The opposite would be move tight end which is almost more of a very big receiver. The best recent examples of move tight end would be Jimmy Graham and Aaron Hernandez
As a receiver
At 6′,7″(2,01m) Chandler is the Patriots tallest tight end with a slight advantage over Rob Gronkowski(6′,6″). He uses this height well as many of Chandler’s receptions comes from getting behind the linebackers in the seam and where the QB throws over the defender. He’s not a very fast tight end, but he does have a stutter step fake at the top of his route, which can freeze the linebacker long enough for him to get some separation.
As you can see in this play against the Patriots in week 6(2014) he runs a post route with the defender trailing close albeit without seeing that the ball was thrown, but because of Chandler’s height the QB could throw a high ball that went over Wilson without putting Chandler in a disadvantage.
Here is another route down the seam vs the Jets in week 7(2014) where he gets behind the linebackers for a touchdown. The Bills have a trips formation to the left with Chandler on the line. Both receivers go outside which leaves Chandler one on one with the linebacker. As he comes to the linebacker he does a quick stutter fake which freezes the LB long enough for Chandler to get behind him.Here is the same play from the end zone cam. His hands are a bit inconsistent as he can come down with catches when running down the seam and getting hit right after the catch, but sometimes he can drop easy passes, or if the defender competes for the ball. Here he finds the hole between the defenders in the middle, but drops the catch. Here is another example of a catch he should make. He runs an out and gets hit immediately as he tries to catch the pass. But you want your big receivers to be able to fight through contact and grab these kinds of catches.
As a blocker
This is Bills vs Lions in week 5(2014). Here you can see how the defensive end has the C-gap between the T and TE. Judging by the other parts of the offense, and the first step of Chandler you can see that he tries to hook block the end and turn him to the outside. But he fails as the end gets there faster and with more power. But Chandler does have the awareness to use the ends momentum and push him more to the inside as he tries to get to the outside to make the tackle.
As a blocker Chandler is OK. But you can’t leave him on defensive ends and hope that he can take full control over them. The Bills often took Chandler out on clear running plays and used other tight ends.
You won’t mistake Scott Chandler for Gronkowski any time soon. He’s not fast enough or physical enough to be a premier tight end. But that’s not what he needs to be. He only needs to be the backup tight end, and I think he will be the most complete Y tight end of our backups as he is a better receiver than Hoomanawanui and a better blocker than Wright. Having him on the roster should let the Patriots continue to have a route running Y tight end in case Gronkowski misses time. I don’t see Chandler getting too many yards, as there are only so many balls to go around and the Patriots already have Edelman, Gronkowski, LaFell, Wright, and Amendola. But I think that he will be a good threat in the end zone and down the seam as defenses struggle to cover two large tight ends like Gronkowski and Chandler. He should also give the Patriots more of a real passing threat in YY packages than what Hoomanawanui have brought.
What are your feelings on the free agency signings for the Patriots so far and the signing of Sheard? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.