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#16 - Who will become a playmaker on offense?

Posted Jul 13, 2013

Buffalo's offense is looking for playmakers to step up, but who will they be?


Every summer leading up to training camp Buffalobills.com asks 25 of the most pressing questions facing the team as they make their final preparations for the upcoming regular season. This year we want your opinion on what the most likely answers to these questions will be. After reading each daily installment as the Bills get set for Year 1 under head coach Doug Marrone, go to the Bills daily fan poll leading up to report day at training camp and vote. You could be eligible to win tickets to night practice. Here is the latest daily installment as we closely examine some of the answers the Buffalo Bills have to come up with between July 28th and the Sept. 8th home opener.

On the offensive side of the ball there are a few proven playmakers. Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson and C.J. Spiller are typically the first three names that come to mind. Though he’s coming off offseason surgery Scott Chandler has established himself as a playmaker as well with a dozen touchdowns the past two seasons. What Buffalo’s offense is looking for are a couple of more playmakers to add to the list, and there are some bona fide candidates that appear poised to emerge in 2013.

Cordy Glenn
An offensive tackle is rarely viewed as a playmaker, but knowing whoever mans the quarterback position will be executing a brand new offensive system with brand new teammates around him, Glenn’s play at left tackle will be of paramount importance.

The good news is Glenn as a rookie showed himself more than capable of “making plays” in both the run and pass game. His kick out block against the Chiefs in Week 2 at the five-yard line where he mirrored a defensive back and then rode him through the back of the end zone to allow C.J. Spiller to score is a play not many tackles can execute.

His pass protection was above average despite surrendering six total sacks last season on 469 pass plays in 2012. Expected to improve in 2013 with 16 games NFL starts under his belt, Glenn could be the most important playmaker on offense that few notice.

Marquise Goodwin
His stature might not be big and his role as a rookie in Buffalo’s offense might not be that big either, but his potential to turn in big plays is significant. Goodwin routinely got behind defenders and quickly proved that his speed must be respected.

Goodwin saw the kind of impact that his deep speed could have just in creating opportunities for other wideouts.

“Just getting downfield and opening routes underneath helps,” Goodwin said. “Once we get enough people to respect us downfield then the underneath routes will come extra easy.”

Goodwin’s impact in his rookie season could prove to be greater on special teams in the return game than on offense, but he has the home-run ability to turn in a big-time play at any moment.

Chris Gragg
He’s unlikely to be the starting tight end knowing Scott Chandler is expected to be full go for training camp, but Gragg showed in the spring practices that he can play a niche role whether he’s lined up detached or brought on as a red zone threat.

“I think the coaching staff likes me,” said Gragg. “I’ve just got to keep getting better every day and go into training camp and try to make this 53-man roster. That’s my plan.”

One of the fastest tight ends in the draft, a solid camp and preseason could land him even more opportunities in the passing game.

T.J. Graham
After being one of the most consistent performers in the spring workouts, Graham might be the most likely candidate to excel as he enters his second NFL season. Graham credits receivers coach Ike Hilliard for helping him to sharpen his route running. He’s also worked hard to get off press coverage more effectively and not surprisingly feels he’s moving quicker on the field.

“Last year, I don’t think I pressed vertical as well as I should have.  I didn’t get that burst of speed coming out of breaks that I should have,” said Graham. “Now I feel like I’m a lot faster, a lot swifter and I can transition that onto the field.”

Few offensive players turned in more plays than Graham in the spring. If he can carry that into training camp he’ll provide a valuable additional threat for opposing defenses to monitor.

Robert Woods
He’s been widely called one of the most NFL ready receivers in this year’s draft class. If that proves true, Woods could be making a whole bunch of plays for Buffalo’s offense. Woods felt he made good progress in getting a handle on the offense. He’s fully aware of what he has to show on the field to convince Buffalo’s quarterbacks that they can trust him.

“Once I understand my job and my assignments I’m able to play a lot faster and better, which puts confidence in the quarterback and the offensive coordinator to call plays and look my way,” Woods said.

Woods displayed the football savvy superior to that of most NFL rookies. The receiver’s lengthy college experience and instincts should lead to numerous opportunities to make things happen in the Bills passing game.