With a down year in 2015, Charles Clay looks to rebound with a more productive 2016. Below is how that will happen.
Last year, Bills fans had high hopes for production at tight end. Tight end Charles Clay came to Buffalo from Miami with a large contract and many Bills fans were excited to see him produce. The Bills have not had a legitimate tight end for quite some time and Clay looked like the answer to that problem.
Clay ended last season with just 528 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Not a huge impact for someone who was signed to a 5 year, $38 million contract with $24.5 million guaranteed. We tend to expect more out of someone who signs a large contract but they may not always be the one to blame.
Clay was hot and cold throughout the year but the Bills couldn’t seem to keep steady production over the middle. A new quarterback and a new offense seems to have attributed to this. New faces getting used to each other also may have been an inhibitor but the Bills should have smoothed all that out by preseason, shouldn’t they have?
Regardless, I believe that this year Charles Clay will have a much more productive season. Here are a few reasons why…
Tyrod Taylor struggled to pass the ball consistently over the middle of the field this past year. It was definitely not his strongest area throwing the ball. The statistics show he was absolutely more comfortable throwing outside the numbers rather than inside the numbers. Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan had this to say regarding that during a WGR 550 Interview in June.
"“The thing that jumps out to you is using the middle of the field…But there were some plays to be made in the middle of the field that last year, quite honestly, we weren’t as proficient at as it looks like we’re getting ready to be this season.”"
Although Clay may not have been the target over the middle of the field every time, he is the target the majority of the time.
It was noted multiple times during OTA’s that Tyrod Taylor was clearly working to get better at over the middle of the field throws as Tyler Dunne noted in early June.
Another big handcuff for Charles Clay’s production in 2015 was the fact the Bills utilized a 3rd receiver and running back in the passing game very often.
The Bills may have three or four receivers fighting for the 3rd receiver role but they also have a talented tight end that can help fill that void. Look for Clay to receive a lot more targets this year.
Charles Clay can absolutely produce more in 2016. Clay is a great blocker as well as a great receiver. I think as Bills fans we need to realize a certain reality. In the NFL, there is only a small handful of high-producing tight ends.
With the type of offense Greg Roman uses, we are running the ball more than we are passing it. The Bills were the only team in the NFL with a passing play percentage of less the 50% in 2015. That was down nearly 10% from 2014.
Roman has recognized that this offseason and I still look for Charles Clay to see more targets.
Do you think Charles Clay will produce more in 2016? Leave your opinion in the comments section below.