So, who else lols whenever you see a pundit on ESPN say that "the Eagles don't like to run the ball. McCoy isn't good up the middle, they want to air it out." Dilfer on Sportscenter today made me spit my coffee. I just find it funny that they don't want to believe that we are far and away the best running team in the NFL (20 yards/game more than the #2 team, the Oakland Raiders on the back of Darren McFadden).
What's even more interesting, that d-jackfan10 pointed out in another thread, is that Andy may be the highest Yards Per Carry coach for runningbacks of all time. I mean. Holy shit guys. We are the best running team in the game and our star halfback has 28 and 30 carries in his last two outings. Talk about changing of Big Red's tide.
Pictured: A rumbler, tumbler type of TE. Not a smooth, fluid type.
-To business: I'm intrigued by our TEs right now. What people seem to think is that Celek has been in to block a lot this year. Wrong. He has gone out on more pass patterns per game than any other year. In fact, after his breakout year in 09, the trend started. Last year, he had more plays without "chipping" than the previous, and for most of this year, way, waaay more than last.
The trend broke last night. As Andy said in the presser, "Brent [at least] chipped on every single play." Huh. How about that. His numbers are directly correlated to the amount of time he does blocking. If anything, this is a restatement of things we know. He is not an elite athlete - he is no Vernon Davis or Jimmy Graham. Celek is at his best when utilized like a true TE. He was used that way last night, and we saw what that brought to the West Coast Offense.
You guys might remember the days of people saying, "Donovan McNabb runs his offense best when he gets the ball to the TE." It isn't just 5, it is the system. We run a more wide open version of the system with more spread elements, but the system is at its core the West Coast Offense.
-As for our other budding TE, Clay Harbor, all I can say is 'wow.' That guy has surprised me. He is quietly one of the better (if not one of the best) blocking TEs in the league right now. Not bad for a guy who played WR in college. Physically speaking, he brings more to the table as a receiver than Brent. Smoother athlete, faster (pre-draft 40-yard-dash time of 4.58 vs. Brent's 4.79), and stronger (30 reps of 225 lbs [also, the most for any tight end in the 2010 draft] vs. Brent's 19).
Clay's ability to wham block has been one of the reasons we've run so well. The dude delivers a hell of a pop and can handle DEs/OLBs one-on-one rather well. For a particularly good example, check him out here on the left side of the formation taking in Brian Orakpo one-on-one in pass pro for 4 secondson a boot to his side.
Meanwhile, he is a fluid athlete, up there with the great L.J. Smith (whose number he hilariously sports).
Domo points out here that we've been using two tight end sets more than ever to the aid of the run game, but I think we are only beginning to see what these two guys are capable of doing. I contend that Harbor in motion or even from a three point stance is our best big bodied WR. (Fun fact, his vertical jump is 40 goddamned inches. Wow.) We have yet to see what the emergence of a stronger run game and these two TEs will amount to, but I have a feeling that it will be fun as hell to watch.