I am writing this FanPost today to explain to my fellow Rumblers why I think Doug Whaley should pursue Brandon Pettigrew in Free Agency. Every team is made up differently and has different fundamental needs. Most people seem to think that we need a Jimmy Graham type TE, we probably do but there is serious logic why pursuing an overall balanced TE makes more sense:
1) We are one year into the Marrone regime and if there is one thing we can be sure of is that they like to run the ball. Folks, we are a run-first team and that is perfectly OK with me. We are a cold weather outdoor team that runs the ball (very effectively) - makes perfect sense. Russ has reclaimed our 8th home game for us (thank you Russ).
2) We are a team with a young developing QB. Our protection up front is so-so, especially on the right side. Getting a strong blocking TE makes a ton of sense. Our incumbent (Chandler) is fairly weak in the blocking game.
3) We had considerable success with a very slow moving TE, that was nowhere near the blocker that Pettigrew is. And I believe that Pettigrew is also a slightly faster and better pass-catching TE than Chandler.
4) Our success in 2014 is based on our ability to get Spiller going. CJ needs a big year for us to have a chance at the playoffs. A big Blocking TE (that is also a threat in the passing game) is a RBs best friend. It keeps things loose and opens up holes everywhere.
The knock on Pettigrew the past few years has been drops, which seemed to appear after his ankle injury. Unlike the Lions which are a pass first team that would benefit from a WR-type TE, The Bills are a run first type team that definitely benefit from a big all around TE like Pettigrew. And I think the drops can be fixed, they only appeared recently after all.
With Spiller & Jackson in the backfield and both very good pass receivers, Pettigrew would be a perfect addition. His excellent blocking would improve protection for our sophomore QB, vastly improve the run-blocking for our run-first oriented attack and provide a great 6'5" target for our QB in the middle of opposing defenses.
Instead of paying for a Scott Chandler who is slower and much less of a blocker, getting Pettigrew would be a big improvement. Meanwhile, we still have Gragg and Moeaki that can be our stretch the field TEs or if the possibility presents itself in the draft, maybe we can draft a WR-type TE. But for the sake of our run-first system, getting a proven TE like Pettigrew in FA would be a great addition!