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.