Tight end play time with Chandler absent

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 12:09 pm

The Bills did not have Scott Chandler make the trip to Indianapolis in the preseason opener as a precaution with the top tight end coming off ACL surgery in the offseason. Mike Caussin was also out with a hip injury. Here’s how the playing time for those behind him on the depth chart played out Sunday against the Colts.

Chris Gragg – 57 plays
Nick Provo – 32 plays
Lee Smith – 16 plays
Dorin Dickerson – 15 plays

Seeing the rookie Gragg get the most time is not very surprising. He had a pair of receptions for 14 yards in the game, which might not seem like much until you realize that he was asked to run block on 27 plays. Clearly the coaches wanted to get a gauge on his run blocking.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-26

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2013 – 11:50 am

Training camp is here as the players will be voluntarily reporting to camp today. The official report date is Saturday with the first practice Sunday night. We’ll have full coverage on Buffalobills.com with daily video reports (Bills Roundup), daily written practice reports and feature stories both written and video. As always this Inside the Bills blog will be updated constantly each day with extra news and tidbits of Bills information that you’re always looking for.

Continue to send any question you might have during the course of training camp and leading up to the season at my email AskChris@bills.nfl.net or on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

For now let’s get to your latest edition of questions from those two places.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Who do you think will make the bills at 5th/6th receiver?


CB: I think the best candidates for those roles entering training camp are Da’Rick Rogers, Chris Hogan and Kevin Elliott. Those three turned in the most plays in the spring practices. Obviously that can change because when the pads go on the game gets considerably more physical and it can change how effective a receiver is depending on his character makeup and mettle.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills

With the Patriots turmoil do you see us closing the gap significantly this season? Will it be a competitive game week 1?


CB: Greg Bedard on the new Monday Morning Quarterback Column site did a great piece on how Bill Belichick has successfully navigated the Patriots through crises before from the QB change from Bledsoe to Brady, to the predicted revolt after Lawyer Milloy was released days before the season started and signed with the Bills, to Brady’s season-ending ACL injury back in 2008.

I think their depth of talent is thinner than it was during those setbacks, so the Patriots might slip a bit, but I don’t foresee a collapse. New England is a very consistent organization and Belichick is a master adjuster. He will only be more motivated to succeed with outsiders doubting his club.


3 – Chris,
Straight to the point: Of the 5 teams we play on extra rest how many of those games are played at home and by home I mean in Buffalo not Toronto? Clearly playing the Jets twice one of them will be away just curious about the rest of ’em.

Thanks for digging into the schedule you found some pretty compelling info that truly should be addressed. I may with my spare time look at schedules past for this discrepancy. I agree this is an issue worth citing. Keep up the great work!

Dominic Spaccio
Montour Falls NY

CB: Two of the five games in which their opponent coming off extra rest is at home. Those two are the Jets and Cincinnati. The Bills also face Atlanta at home after the advantage of their own bye week is neutralized by the fact that the Falcons are coming off a Thursday night game and will have 10 days rest between games while the Bills have 14. The Dolphins, Jaguars and Jets will come off extra rest to face Buffalo in their own home stadiums. Here’s the full story for those that missed it.


4 – Chris,
I understand that the GM has final say on draft day, free agent signings and undrafted signings. The GM assembles the talent pool.  What about the other end of the process – cutting from 90 players to 54 (or whatever the number is)?  It seems to me that whereas the GM is in the best position to draft (having scouted all year), the coach might be in the best position to make final cut decisions having worked closely with the players.  How do the Bills handle this?

Patrick in Indianapolis

CB: Roster decisions concerning player cuts are typically handled by the coaching staff with the head coach making the final call. General managers and personnel directors assemble the talent, but the coaching staff decides who he wants to keep.

That’s not to say that a general manager doesn’t have input, he does, especially on close calls for final roster decisions. That’s when a GM might be asked to offer an opinion.


5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can the Bills use Gragg, in a similar way the Patriots used Hernandez? Using his speed to play a TE/WR hybrid?


CB: I think Gragg, who ran a 4.5 40-time at the Combine, best of all tight ends, is capable of lining up in a detached role almost like a tight receiver. So yes, I think he could be a hybrid type option in the Bills passing game for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. It just depends how he fares when the pads go on at camp. He certainly flashed as a receiving threat in the spring practices.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Rooks on offense working on chemistry

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2013 – 10:39 am

Buffalo has a host of rookie talent on the offensive side of the ball from their 2013 draft class. As we profiled in out Top 25 questions until training camp it appears that more than one or two of those rookies could contribute early. One is TE Chris Gragg, who has made a strong effort to establish an on field rapport with fellow rookie QB EJ Manuel.

“I think me an EJ work good together,” Gragg told Buffalobills.com. “Ever since rookie training camp we’ve been here doing stuff, and sometimes we stay for extra work to work on some stuff. Once we got our timing down I think everything has been going good.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gragg recovered from knee injury

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2013 – 6:14 pm

Bills seventh round pick Chris Gragg is a TE-H-back type out of Arkansas who had a knee injury, but showed he recovered from it in pre-draft testing at the NFL Combine.

Gragg ran a 4.5 40-time, had a 37.5 inch vertical and a 10’5″ broad jump, showing his explosion was still there. I’d expect him to be used as a move tight end in Buffalo’s offensive system.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another Arkansas prospect to watch

Posted by Chris Brown on March 15, 2013 – 9:50 am

With Bills GM Buddy Nix and Assistant GM Doug Whaley in attendance at the Arkansas pro day their eyes are likely to be transfixed on QB Tyler Wilson, but there are a couple of other prospects that will merit a second look.

One of them is Arkansas TE Chris Gragg, who has had his share of injury problems including a knee injury this past September that compromised his production along with the rest of the Razorbacks offense. But his workout at the NFL Combine last month has unquestionably boosted his draft stock.

Gragg (6’2 3/4″ 244) ran the fastest 40 time among the tight end group with an impressive 4.5. No other tight end ran a sub 4.6. He also had the best broad jump at 10’5″ a full half-foot better than Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert (9’11”).

Gragg also put up the highest vertical leap among the tight ends posting a 37.5 inch leap. He had a respectable 18 reps on the bench, the third fastest three-cone drill time among tight ends. The only time that was near the bottom of the tight end group was the shuttle.

His durability will still be questioned and likely keep him a day three consideration, but he might be a fifth rounder now instead of a sixth rounder. Gragg is a former receiver, but fits the NFL as an H-back type.

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Posted in Inside the Bills