Heading into the second half of his rookie season, WR T.J. Graham would welcome more opportunities, but at this point it’s tough to say just how many he’ll get over the final eight games.
Head coach Chan Gailey clearly feels there has to be air tight trust between Ryan Fitzpatrick and his receivers, knowing very often the design of the offense is for Fitz to deliver anticipation throws. He’s expecting the receiver to be in the spot when the ball gets there and thus delivers the ball before a receiver is even out of his break.
If the receiver can’t be trusted to read the defense the same way the quarterback does and be in the right spot to make a play on the ball, a coach is going to be hesitant to put him on the field. And it appears that might be the case with Graham.
“The one thing you can’t do is force things,” said Gailey. “I go back to the analogy I used earlier in the season. C.J. was in the same spot, lots of talent, just hadn’t quite learned all the nuances of the game yet. You try to put him in there too much then you’re putting him in a bad situation.
“With the passing game it’s even more so because now not only are you putting him in a bad situation, but if the understanding isn’t there you’re putting Fitz in a bad situation. You’re trying to get the ball here and T.J. doesn’t understand what you’re trying to get done with a route or a concept and it doesn’t come out right. You want to involve him and we want to keep trying to work with him, but we’ve got a ways to go.
“He’s very talented, he’s going to be a very good player, but he’s not there yet. We’ll continue to work with him.”
Ironically, Graham’s most extensive playing time came in the first meeting with the Patriots when he got 60 snaps. Here are his snap counts by game this season.
Wk 1 – 0
Wk 2 – 29
Wk 3 – 40
Wk 4 – 60
Wk 5 – 38
Wk 6 – 54
Wk 7 – 50
Wk 8 – 35
Tags: Chan Gailey, Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Graham
Posted in Inside the Bills