The Philadelphia Eagles high-powered offense is well known, boasting the likes of Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. One of the people that often times gets left out of the discussion is tight end Brent Celek. Although he is frequently overlooked, Celek is a key component of the Eagles offensive attack. As such, he should see an increased role throughout the Eagles 2012 campaign. Despite suffering a mild MCL sprain at the beginning of training camp, he should be ready for the beginning of the regular season.
Celek’s real value comes in the short to intermediate passing game. Maclin and Jackson clearly have the ability to stretch the field, but the completion percentage for deep passes is much lower than shorter routes. Additionally, if the long throws are covered, Vick needs a safety valve to which he can dump the ball off and still gain positive yards. If the opposition wants to play their safeties deeper to account for Maclin and Jackson, it will leave holes in the middle of field for Celek and McCoy. To the same extent, if Vick gets in a groove with Shady and Celek and the defense begins to cheat towards them, things will open up downfield for the speedy receivers. McCoy is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, but is also needed to block in the Eagles’ scheme. When not tasked with blocking, Celek will normally get matched up against a linebacker, which is matchup he should win more often than not.
Completing a few shorter balls to Celek early can benefit Vick enormously by getting him into the rhythm and flow of the game quickly. It will also get his confidence peaking from the start, which hopefully allows him to make better decisions with the ball throughout the entirety of the game.
Celek has also been underutilized in the red zone, which is an area in which the Eagles have been woefully lacking in recent years. His combination size, speed and strength will create matchup problems for a lot of teams in the league.
Last year, Celek caught 62 passes for 811 yards and 5 touchdowns. His longest reception was 73 yards.
Celek has all the tools to be solid contributor on a Philadelphia offense already loaded with talent. It’s up to the coaching staff to figure out how to utilize his talents in the most effective manner.