The tight end position has largely been one of frequent change this summer for the Bills. Injury, suspension and other factors have all played a role in forcing the personnel department to shuffle the deck a few times. With Buffalo's home opener just a few days away Chan Gailey and his offensive coaching staff are hoping they've drawn a good hand with new addition David Martin.
Martin, who is entering his ninth NFL season, hasn't played since 2008 as a knee injury suffered last September cost him the 2009 campaign. Now healthy again, the veteran tight end is eager to hit the ground running with Buffalo.
"They just came calling right away and it was the right situation," Martin said of his signing last weekend. "Talking to them I'm here to play ball and I know this division pretty well, so it's a good opportunity for me to try to help this team win."
And Martin will be given that opportunity right away. One of only two tight ends on the roster with starter Jonathan Stupar, Martin will be called upon early and often in Sunday's opener.
"He's going to have to (contribute)," said Gailey. "There's no question about it. He's not here to stand over there by me. He's here to be on the field and be a part of our football team."
Martin is considered a very good athlete with receiving ability. He's been a productive blocker showing a good ability to sustain to the end of plays.
Working to his advantage is his intimate knowledge of Buffalo's opponent this week in the Dolphins, a team he was a part of for the better part of the last three years, logging 65 catches for 753 yards and five touchdowns. Where his task becomes challenging is understanding the offensive concepts of his new team in a matter of days.
"It's a different situation, trying to come in and learn this offense in a week's time is going to be pretty hard to do, but the guys are helping me out a lot and pushing me through and getting me to know what I need to know especially for this ball game," Martin said. "I'm just trying to study as much as I can and be as ready as I can."
Martin will initially resort to translating the Bills terminology to similar plays that he's executed in Miami's scheme, until he gets a better handle on Buffalo's play call language.
The tight end may also prove helpful to the Bills defensive staff with a good working knowledge of Miami's offensive playbook, though defensive coordinator George Edwards likely has good familiarity with it as well having worked for the Dolphins the past five seasons.
"I don't know how much help I can be," said Martin. "Whatever it is, if I can help anyway to help this team win I'll do it."