Since the hiring of Chip Kelly, much has been made about the Eagles' offense. From DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy to the offseason additions of Zach Ertz and James Casey, the fanbase and local media have been buzzing about the prospect of Kelly's offense in the hands of Philadelphia's play-makers. However, one of the holdovers from the Andy Reid Era has been given very little dialogue among the public, as if he has no future or upside with the new coaching staff in town. That player is Brent Celek.
In case you aren't already aware, Celek enters this season with four years of starting experience and has been one of the most reliable targets on offense for at least five seasons. Still, the fanbase and media have chosen to follow the talents of McCoy, Jackson, Ertz, Casey, Jeremy Maclin, Damaris Johnson and others, while disregarding Celek's above-average ability to get open and make plays. Bob Ford of Philly.com went as far as to say the Eagles view Celek as a "blocking tight end."
While the Eagles, in reality, may not view Celek as purely a blocker, the notion of disregarding his pass-catching ability is frankly absurd. Since Celek took over as a full-time starter in 2009, he has placed among the top 15 in receptions, top 15 in touchdowns, top 10 in 20+ yard receptions and top 10 in receiving yards at the tight end position in three of the last four seasons. Since being named a starter, he has been no worst than 18th in the league in receptions and total yards.
The Cincinnati alum signed a six-year extension in 2009, just two years after being drafted in the fifth round by the Eagles. His work in the 2008 playoff run was nothing short of awesome. Celek's blocking has greatly improved over the last five years and his ability to get up from big hits and play tough is unparalleled on the Eagles' roster.
While the additions of Casey and Ertz are impressive, let's not forget that Celek has more experience than both combined and has been a key player for the team for a long-time. He may not be flashy and he may not be the most versatile guy on the block, but he is dependable and plays with the right attitude. He also does this on occasion:
So when you are talking about the Eagles' firepower with your buddies, remember that Kelly has a subtle but durable and dependable toy in Celek. He will likely be a full-time starter for this season and is a veteran on a very young team. Kelly and Co. will depend on Celek to be a leader in the locker room and a play-maker on the field.
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