Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia on the state of the team's tight end corps:
Brent Celek played 69 percent of the snaps last year and finished with 32 catches for 340 yards and a touchdown. Celek was very good as a run blocker, and it's no secret that Chip Kelly thinks the world of him.
Zach Ertz is one of the best receiving options on the team, having finished with 58 grabs for 702 yards. The feeling here is that he was underutilized (50 percent of the snaps) in 2014.
Celek is 30 years old and certainly does not provide the same threat as a receiver that he once did. But it's impossible to overstate how much Kelly loves him. This is still a run-based offense, and Celek is the best blocking tight end on the roster. He carries a $5 million cap hit, which doesn't seem unreasonable. In other words, I don't think he's going anywhere.
Many (including yours truly) thought Ertz would take a bigger chunk out of Celek's snaps last year. Ertz will have to continue to improve his run blocking to earn Kelly's trust. But his role should continue to expand in his third season.
Ertz's run blocking improved dramatically this year, per the grading of the analytics sites. Still, Kapadia's comments about Kelly's affection for Celek do not indicate that the team is ready to give Ertz significantly more playing time. Ertz finished as the #13 TE in standard formats even though he played just 50 percent of his team's snaps.
Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:02pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (neck, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 16.
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6:14pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (neck) took full practice reps again Thursday.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 5:57pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (neck) practiced fully Wednesday. Celek will be fine to face Washington. He’s a desperation start given his decent rapport with QB Mark Sanchez.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 14. Per the Denver Post, Thomas “ran pass routes during the open viewing session, more activity than he had shown earlier in the week.” But there is “no guarantee” that he returns this week, so owners should get a Plan B ready since the Broncos play in the late round of games. Scott Chandler, Tony Moeaki, Anthony Fasano, Vernon Davis, Mychal Rivera, Tim Wright, Brent Celek, Levine Toiolo or either of the Green Bay tight ends play at the same time as (or later than) Thomas.
On Wednesday, head coach Chip Kelly was asked why TE Zach Ertz isn't seeing the same time he was when the season started.
"Brent Celek is doing a hell of a job," Kelly said. "It would be an injustice to tell Brent he has to sit because we want to put someone else in the game."
"He is an outstanding blocker," Kelly said of Celek. "He might be the best blocking tight end in the league. He is a sure handed receiver. You saw against Carolina he had over 100 yards receiving...It doesn't have to do with Zach, it has to do with how well Brent is playing."
Friday, November 14, 2014, 6:06pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (ankle, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 11. Celek is worth a look in deep leagues given his apparent rapport with Mark Sanchez and the Eagles’ willingness to leave Zach Ertz on the sideline.
Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6:29pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (ankle) took full practice reps again Thursday. Celek is worth a look in deep leagues given his apparent rapport with Mark Sanchez and the Eagles’ willingness to leave Zach Ertz on the sideline.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 5:52pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (ankle) practiced fully Wednesday. Celek is worth a look in deep leagues given his apparent rapport with Mark Sanchez and the Eagles’ willingness to leave Zach Ertz on the sideline.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz has started to see his role in the offense slowly decrease each week. The tight end was targeted 10 times in the first two games of the season, and was targeted eight times in the team's loss to the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago. Since that loss, Ertz has seen the ball come his way just five times in the past two weeks, a lack of action that has the tight end searching for answers.
"I asked them to put me on punt return, just so I could get out on the field," Ertz said. "I thought I did a good job with that."
One issue that could be keeping Ertz off the field is his blocking. His ability to hold his own on the offensive line was a major sticking point for coaches this past training camp. So far this season Ertz has been in on just 102 plays where he is asked to block.
"I don't know to be honest," Ertz said on if blocking was the issue. "I thought I blocked well tonight. I thought I played very well."
The story went on to say that, by comparison, veteran tight end Brent Celek — who caught five catches for 116 yards against Carolina — has been asked to block 266 times this season, meaning at this point, the team trusts Celek to block more than they do Ertz. With the Eagles line getting healthy, it's probably no coincidence Celek was more involved in the passing game in Week 10, something everyone thought would be said of Ertz. Right now, it seems like the team is going with the more versatile Celek who has always been able to block and catch. Whatever the issue is, Ertz seems bothered by it based on his comments in the story. It's going to be tough to trust him in fantasy lineups until we start to see more targets.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 7:41pm
Look at the numbers, and Brent Celek is having the worst season of his career.
Watch him actually play football, and he might be having the best year of his career.
Celek, who averaged nearly 600 receiving yards in his first seven NFL seasons, has just 90 yards through eight games this year. He doesn’t have a touchdown, his per-catch average of 6.4 is half his career average, and he has just two catches longer than eight yards halfway through the season.
And, yeah, he’s playing better than ever.
Celek, one of the most productive receiving tight ends in the NFL since 2009, has morphed into one of the league’s finest blocking tight ends by necessity.
With an offensive line in shambles – the Eagles have used 13 different O-line combinations so far, and that number will go up this weekend – the Eagles have desperately needed Celek on the line of scrimmage and not running pass patterns.
This likely won't change. The Eagles expect G Evan Mathis back in Week 10, however G Todd Herremans has been placed on IR Tuesday.
Friday, October 31, 2014, 5:43pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (back, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 9.
Thursday, October 30, 2014, 6:15pm
Eagles TE Brent Celek (back) was added to the injury report Thursday after taking limited practice reps. Midweek downgrades are generally a bad sign. If Celek isn’t able to practice on Friday and/or can’t play in Week 9, it would be a big boost for Zach Ertz and James Casey.
Monday, September 8, 2014, 12:02pm
If the regular-season opener was an indication, Zach Ertz appears primed for a huge season.
Ertz had three receptions for 77 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown that cut the Jaguars' lead to 17-14 in the third quarter.
As a rookie, Ertz compiled 36 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 8:03pm
Matthews said his work ethic, his willingness to come to work early and stay late, is owed, in part, to watching veterans like Johnson and Green prepare in the offseason. They told him “don’t take a play off, not in practice or the game.” It’s the kind of advice you’d expect from players of that caliber, even if the Eagles would prefer Matthews to remember that the season is only just starting, and it’s a long one.
“The biggest thing with Jordan, and there are some other guys on the team like him, we have to make sure we manage him because he’s got such a high motor,” HC Chip Kelly said. “Whether it’s in meetings or on the practice field, we have to make sure he understands we’re playing a 16-game season here.”
Gonzalez believes the Eagles need Matthews to contribute right away. He points out that after Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, they’re pretty thin at receiver. Josh Huff is still recovering from a shoulder injury. Brad Smith is solid on special teams but has never been a consistent offensive receiving threat. And Jeff Maehl rounds out the group. He has four receptions for his career. While this isn't breaking news, it's best to take a wait-and-see approach with Matthews. He likely didn't get drafted in typical leagues. The Eagles are expected to use a lot of TEs Zach Ertz and Brent Celek as well. With RB Darren Sproles also around, there are a lot of targets.
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