The passing of the torch many predicted for last season never really came to fruition. Celek was on the field for 827 of the offensive snaps, or 69 percent of the time, compared to 603 snaps (50 percent) for Ertz. It really does come back to blocking. Ertz was called on as a run-blocker 161 times last season to Celek's count of 443.
Ertz knows the only way to take over the lead role in this run-heavy system is to improve that area of his game, and he's worked towards that end. His busy travel itinerary this offseason in the name of getting better included a stop to study under former offensive line coach Hudson Houck.
It stands to reason that Ertz will see a jump in playing time as he continues to develop into a more well-rounded tight end. While Celek's snaps might very well drop as a result, Kelly is a huge fan of the nine-year veteran and will likely still deploy him quite a bit. It wouldn't be all that surprising, then, if we saw an increase in the number of two tight-end sets in 2015.
This makes a lot of sense and is something many predicted would happen when Kelly took over the team a few years ago, however it never really came about. With the loss of Jeremy Maclin at WR, the Birds are a bit unproven at wideout, and if Ertz is indeed improved and can earn more playing time, Celek can still hold his own at the position as both a blocker and receiver. We still rank Ertz higher on our TE list, consider him a mid-range TE1 option, and think this is the year he finally busts out a bit. However, it looks like Celek is going to remain a factor.