Should the Buffalo Bills replace T.J. Graham?

Jared Wickerham

Let's take a closer look at Buffalo Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham, who is the subject of a lot of vitriol from the fan base.

Good morning Buffalo Bills fans, and happy Friday!

If you were wondering, yes I'm still here. I must tell you, I had my doubts especially after my last post; I just knew that I was a goner. I was really close to being the guy who got fired on his first week on the job.

As mentioned in previous post, I have decided to take topic suggestions for the Morning Joe! series. When agreeing to become a contributing writer on Buffalo Rumblings, I made a promise to myself that I will reach back in to the community and give opportunities to the many people who post in Fan Post section. There is a lot of good stuff out there that doesn't get the recognition it deserves, because it's not on the front page or it gets buried underneath other posts. I feel like the Joe! series is the voice of the people, so it's only fitting that you all have a voice when it comes to what I discuss.

Last week, our very own 'cush2push' asked me asked me on twitter (@Doctork44) to do a "Joe-style" review of his T.J. Graham analysis. If you haven't check out his two FanPosts (Part 1 and Part 2), do so. He did a phenomenal job of breaking out every single Graham target last year. The last time I checked, I think the two post combined had 15 recommendations, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoyed it.

When agreeing to do the review, I told cush2push that I'll do the review differently from any other film review, and he said, and I quote, "That's kinda what I'm hoping for". So with that being said, let's go!

Before I give you all my review, I want to say this first. Going in to the Graham review, I really had no real feelings about his play on the field. I watched the All-22 film throughout the season, but I never really paid attention to what Graham was or wasn't doing. Cush's video only shows the plays in which T.J. was targeted. This is very important to keep in mind as you begin to form your own opinions of T.J. as you determine whether he needs to be replaced or not.

So how is this review going to be different? First off, I need for you all to review the three videos below first.

Are you finished? What did you see? I think we may have sen the same things. Let me tell you what I saw.

What I saw

Targets
  • T.J was targeted on 58 passing plays, which accounts for 11% of all the quarterback targets (522). T.J. was the fifth receiving option in the pass game, behind Stevie Johnson (150 targets), Robert Woods (85 targets), Scott Chandler (81 targets) and Fred Jackson (65 targets).
  • Of the seven primary receiving targets on the Bills, Graham had the worst catch to target ratio of 39.7%.
  • Of the 58 targeted passes to T.J., I counted 29 good throws and 29 bad throws (50%), and three dropped passes.
Routes

Routetree_medium

via www.unswgridiron.org

  • The four most popular routes that T.J. was targeted on was the curl/hitch route (16 targets), streak/fly route (14 times), slant route (12 times), and the drag/quick in (6 times).
Protection

When evaluating the targeted passes to T.J., I made sure that I paid attention to the offensive line protection. Of the 58 targeted passes, only on seven occasions would I say that the protection was bad. Meaning 88% of the time, the Bills' quarterback had ample time to make an accurate throw to Graham.

Final Analysis

As mentioned earlier, I came in to this review with no real prejudices. I looked at the film and noticed that there were a lot of crappy throws made to T.J. by all the Bills quarterbacks.  It did appear that he did have a lit bit of connection with Thad Lewis. T.J. looked good on drag routes and slants. He also was able to beat his man on the fly routes, but on many occasions the quarterbacks failed to deliver the ball accurately. I counted 3-4 touchdowns that T.J. could've scored if the ball was delivered accurately. The hitch routes seemed to be a very effective route for T.J. as well, as he was able to use the threat of his speed to back off the corner backs from press coverage.

T.J. did have his struggles. Too many times I noticed him catching the ball with his body and not his hands. In the last video against New England, you noticed this actually resulted in a turnover. He still struggles to consistently run good routes. On a couple of his routes, his footwork was porous and he failed to come back to the ball on several of his comeback routes resulting in a couple of turnovers.

Should the Bills look to replace Graham at receiver?

I can't answer that question based on these videos. The Bills ran 522 plays in 2013, these videos are only looking at 58 of them. What did T.J. do in the other 464 pass plays that didn't come his way? What did he do in the run game? However, there is something seriously wrong, when you have your No. 2 receiver being targeted the fifth-most times amongst all receiving options. What's the use of a drafting a guy in the first round to replace T.J., when you have quarterbacks who can't deliver the ball consistently and accurately?

Okay Bills fans, tell me what you think now of T.J. Graham and the possibility of the Bills bringing in his replacement.

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