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.
Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:19pm
Eagles TE James Casey (knee, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 5.
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:31pm
Eagles TE James Casey (knee) took full practice reps again Thursday.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 6:31pm
Eagles TE James Casey (knee) practiced fully Wednesday.
Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:33pm
Eagles TE James Casey (knee, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 4.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 2:01pm
A tight end has to have a total skill set in this offense. And the Eagles have three of them and the coaching has taken the best of what each player does to create a promising symmetry that is as central to the scheme as any personnel grouping.
Brent Celek is the veteran force, the ultra-tough guy who someday will go down as one of the best in franchise history. He's worked so hard over the years to make himself a strong blocker to help in the running game and in pass protection, and at the same time continues to find cracks and crevices in defensive coverage to make himself a reliable target for quarterback Nick Foles.
Of the three, Celek is the most "traditional" tight end for a position that has morphed over the years. Today's tight end is more defined as a receiver proportioned to tower over defensive backs and to run past linebackers. Celek is 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds and he is still capable of big gains, but in his eighth season Celek is properly called a "move-the-chains pass catcher."
The Birds also have Zach Ertz and James Casey. Casey was mostly invisible last season and will still be behind Celek and Ertz this year. While Ertz is getting most of the attention in terms of fantasy value, Celek can't be forgotten and it's very possible he continues to be a factor in the offense. This could limit Ertz's potential again this year. But Ertz has six catches for 86 yards so far in preseason games and still looks poised to have a big year. Of the two, Ertz is the guy to target, at least leading into the season
Brent Celek is the starter and that's not expected to change this year. In a way, Celek and Zach Ertz are playing two different positions. Kelly explained that Ertz [as well as James Casey] is being used as a "move" tight end in this offense. That is similar to the way Aaron Hernandez was deployed in New England -- as more of a "Joker" that lines up in various spots and is used primarily as a pass-catcher. Celek is more of the traditional "in-line" tight end where blocking is a bigger priority.
Celek could very well end up with more snaps, but that doesn't mean that Ertz won't be featured prominently.
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there.
A closer look at the 2013 numbers shows that Eagles TE Zach Ertz played 45 percent of the snaps during the second half of the regular season, compared to 36 percent over the first eight games. Twenty-two of his 36 catches came in the second half of the year, as did all four of his touchdowns.
Asked how he sees his role expanding this year, Ertz replied, "I think you kind of saw it the second half of the season what went on, I was used all over the field, so hopefully it's more of that."
HC Chip Kelly explained that Ertz [as well as James Casey] is being used as a "move" tight end in this offense. That is similar to the way Aaron Hernandez was deployed in New England -- as more of a "Joker" that lines up in various spots and is used primarily as a pass-catcher. Brent Celek is more of the traditional "in-line" tight end where blocking is a bigger priority.
It's not really about taking snaps away from the vet at this point -- Ertz and Celek are playing two different positions in a way -- it's more about using packages where they are on the field together. Chances are we'll see a good deal more of Ertz, who averaged 13 yards per reception in '13.
It's going to come down to whether Kelly wants to play Ertz ahead of one of his receivers (Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper or Jordan Matthews) or ahead of Celek. Only four of those five players can be on the field with LeSean McCoy. A rotation could lead to plenty of passing downs for Ertz, but his upside will depend on his playing time.
“There are three players that I told that they would be great players in this league: I always told Alge Crumpler that he was going to be great, I always told Shady McCoy that he was going to be a great player in this league, and I always told Roddy White. And now I’m saying Zach Ertz. And I think in time, he will be one of the best tight ends in this game.”
Ertz had all of five NFL catches at that point. Still working through a learning curve — steepened by his inability to participate in the offseason program because of graduation rules — the Stanford product played a limited role initially. He was featured more as the year went on and ended with 36 catches for 469 yards with four touchdowns. While we still have a ways to go before determining whether Vick’s intuition is correct, it’s fair to say that there are encouraging signs.
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. Brent Celek is signed through 2016 and he's a far better run blocker than Ertz. James Casey is signed through 2015, and he ate into Ertz's snaps when the Eagles tried to run more. Ertz has top 5 fantasy TE potential, but his run blocking is holding him back.
Friday, October 18, 2013, 7:10pm
Thursday, October 17, 2013, 6:26pm
Friday, October 11, 2013, 7:17pm
Thursday, October 10, 2013, 6:41pm
Thursday, August 29, 2013, 11:26pm
Brent Celek is inching up the TE rankings.
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