There is a lot of news leading up to training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles. When it comes to tight end, the name everyone is talking about is Zach Ertz and his potential breakout role. But there’s another Eagle who deserves as much recognition: veteran Brent Celek.
It’s easy off the bat to see why Ertz is ready for a career breakout season. He’s young and has taken steps to improve his game. However, he isn’t the starter. That role goes to Celek. Even at the age of 30, Celek has the athleticism that makes him one of the best tight ends in the league. The Eagles have become more of a running team under head coach Chip Kelly and with uncertainty at quarterback, it’s of the utmost importance that the team has a reliable tight end. Celek will answer the call.
The Eagles drafted Brent Celek in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. It was no surprise that then head coach Andy Reid and Celek formed a fantastic report. 2009 was Celek’s best season to date and one of the best for an Eagles tight end. His record setting 76 receptions for 971 yards and eight touchdowns placed him in the top four tight ends in the league that season. Since then Celek has continued to perform for Philadelphia and prove that he is a leader for the team’s offense.
“Brent Celek is doing a hell of a job. It would be an injustice to tell Brent he has to sit because we want to put someone else in the game.”
There’s case to be made as to why Celek deserves to still be the number one tight end. Chip Kelly time and time again has expressed his support of Celek. According to Bleacher Report, last November Kelly remarked on Celek’s performance saying “Brent Celek is doing a hell of a job. It would be an injustice to tell Brent he has to sit because we want to put someone else in the game.”
In a strictly numbers game, Kelly would be wrong. Last season saw Ertz with 58 receptions for 702 yards and three touchdowns. Celek had 32 receptions for 340 yards and just one touchdown. Ertz, at 6-5 and 250 pounds is the type of athletic tight end that makes plays and is more of a receiving threat than Celek. But numbers alone aren’t why Brent Celek is bound to be the Eagles starter.
Celek’s experience and consistent strength as a blocker makes him one of the best in the league. His numbers have dropped off in the past few seasons but that’s due to him being used less in the passing game. He’s still a competent tight end and one that is respected by both players and coaches. There’s no doubt that Celek’s numbers will take a hit as he gets older but with two years left on his contract, he’ll be able to pass on his wisdom and skill to Ertz.
Brent Celek is still an able receiver. He’ll still take snaps during training camp and the regular season. He might not post a 1,000-yard season ever again but don’t be surprised if he still posts numbers over 500. Zach Ertz‘s time will come but for now, Brent Celek is the team’s go-to guy.
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