James Casey' Return Adds Extra Element for Philadelphia Eagles' Offense

By Matt Lombardo
Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the worst kept secret in the NFL is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly‘s affinity for tight ends.

After keeping four on the roster (Brent Celek, James Casey, Zach Ertz and Emil Igwenagu), seeing all three or four on the field at once certainly appears to be a plausible option for the first-year head coach.

On Thursday, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur confirmed that Casey, who played in just two of the team’s preseason games after battling knee and hamstring injuries this summer, will return and be active on Monday night.

“James is doing a good job, most likely he’s going to be active and we’ll use him,” Shurmur pointed out Thursday at the Novacare Complex. “One thing about our roster is that anyone who is active should prepare to play the whole game. We’ll just have to see how many of our personnel groups involve him. He’s done a really good job.”

In limited action, Casey, signed as a free agent from the Houston Texans this offseason, posted two catches for 10 yards this preseason. It’s expected that he will line up not only at tight end, but also as the team’s H-back, a role that he thrived in during his time with Houston.

Pushing the five-year veteran is the team’s second-round draft choice Ertz, who stood out with his sure-handedness during training camp. He wound up with six catches for 63 yards during the preseason. However, true to form under Kelly, it seems the depth chart is all but meaningless at the tight end position.

“You have your starters and you have guys who are role players, so I wouldn’t say Zach is ahead of James at this point.”

Regardless of who is first in line behind Celek on the depth chart, the multi-faceted tight end group certainly gives new wrinkles to Kelly’s offense.

Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.

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