Coming off a career 2009 season in which Eagles TE Brent Celek caught 76 passes for 971 yards and eight TDs at the age of 24, it was believed that he might join the elite ranks of receiving tight ends for the next several seasons. But Celek's numbers took a dip last season, by a factor of nearly a half in every case.
One reason was the switch from Donovan McNabb to Michael Vick at quarterback. For years, McNabb befriended his tight ends on the field — before Celek it was Chad Lewis and L.J. Smith — and often used them as reliable chain movers. Once Vick entered the lineup, the passing game became more vertical to the wide receivers, and the short stuff often went to the backs (LeSean McCoy led the team in receptions with 78 last season).
After a bout of the drops early last season, Celek was overlooked in the offense for the most part. Other than a 10-catch game in the Week 16 loss to the Vikings, Celek never had more than four receptions in any other game.
But the recent lockout workouts with Vick, Celek and other Eagles could help get the two in better harmony, and we hear the Eagles have tried to find better ways to keep Celek a viable part of the offense. They like the TE position and think Celek and promising but raw Clay Harbor could form a nice pass-catching duo.