Celek feels that this Lockout is actually beneficial to him personally. He is spending his down time working on what he feels are his greatest areas needed to improve. He described the pattern of working out with multiple Eagles players. They are running and working out two days out of the week, then two more days they are throwing with Vick and running routes. With Celek’s time in between, he spends more time in the gym, working with teammates Winston Justice and Todd Herremans. Brent wants to come back next season faster and stronger than he was last season.
As many remember, Celek’s season last year wasn’t nearly as impressive as the season before. In 2009, Celek was a Pro Bowl caliber tight end with 76 catches for 971 yards and 8 touchdowns. The 8 touchdowns and 971 yards were second in Eagles history for a tight end only behind Pete Retzlaff’s career year in 1965. Celek’s 76 receptions is also second on the Eagles all time list. Keith Jackson’s 81 receptions in 1988 is the only number ahead of Celek.
Brent came into 2010 with high expectations from coaches, fans, and most importantly, himself. In Celek’s first two seasons, he wasn’t much of a threat in our offense so in 2009, he didn’t get a lot of attention with double coverage or safety coverage. In 2010, coaches realized that Celek could kill them if he got his hands on the ball a few times. Play callers knew that linebacker coverage on Celek wouldn’t be enough, so he was often being shut down by a safety or even a third or fourth cornerback. While consistently notching 2-4 catches per game (with exception of the week 16 Minnesota game with 10 catches), Celek finished with only 42 receptions. His average yards per catch dropped from 12.8 in 2009 to 12.2 in 2010. His 12.2 yards per catch is still good for 7th in the league among players with 40 or more catches. Celek’s 511 yards was good for 5th on the Eagles roster and his 4 touchdown catches was third.
Celek, who is under contract until the 2016 season, is still a major contributor to this offense even after his numbers dropped drastically in last season. Since Celek knows he is being covered by faster defensive backs now, he is working on his speed. Look for his numbers to go up again in the 2011 season, if there is a complete one that is.
When Brent was asked about the Lockout, the frustration on his face was evident, as it is with any player who talks about the two sides butting heads. Celek agreed with Roger Goodell’s statement earlier in the week, the NFL is losing fans in this whole dispute. Celek said that fans would be much happier if the NFL came out and said “We are working on this and we will have an agreement by the time the season comes around.” Coming from a fan’s perspective, that would be a lot more reassuring than hearing the court disputes, “Players win this” or “Owners win that”. “The way I see it,” says Celek “we will probably miss at least 1 or 2 games.” This statement, which is the first from an Eagles player saying that there is a good chance we will miss games, had the Daily News Live crew, stunned and at a loss for words. Celek even had disappointment on his face when he broke that news.
Celek, Vick, Maclin and the rest of the teams will continue their player only workouts in South Jersey until they are allowed to come together with coaches.
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