RB, WR, TE Review: Inside Celek’s Big Day
Here’s a review of the Eagles’ running backs, wide receivers and tight ends after having re-watched Sunday’s win against the Ravens. Click here for the offensive line review.
LeSean McCoy – Marty Mornhinweg called a great game. The Eagles had 16 passes and 19 runs in the first half. They finished with 38 called passes and 34 called runs. McCoy’s numbers were not eye-popping: 25 carries for 81 yards (3.2 YPC). But it looked like he made the most of his opportunities against a tough Ravens defense. We’ve discussed the loss of Jason Peters. But Jason Kelce is a key to this team’s rushing attack. Losing him definitely hurt. McCoy fumbled for the second time in as many games. That has to stop. He only fumbled once on 273 carries last season. McCoy had a nice 7-yard run in the second and produced a great individual effort, making people miss with a 20-yard gain later in the quarter. He also had a good 11-yard run in the fourth. As a blocker, McCoy had ups and downs. He did just enough in blitz pickup to give Vick time to find Brent Celek for 23 yards on the first play from scrimmage. He completely missed on his chip in the third, allowing Dannell Ellerbee to sack Vick. In the fourth, he had a couple of tremendous blocks. One on the safety and another on Ray Lewis, allowing Vick to take off for 8 yards. McCoy had two catches for 8 yards. He dropped a third-down pass from Vick. McCoy played 86 percent of the offensive snaps, the exact same number as last season.
Bryce Brown – Brown has talent, but looks like a guy who hasn’t played much football the past three seasons. He was on the field for eight snaps and had three carries for 7 yards. From this perspective, the botched exchange that resulted in a fumble was on Brown. As a blocker, he missed a blitz pickup, but Vick stepped up and hit Celek.
Stanley Havili – He played 21 percent of the snaps, more than last week. Havili had two carries for 1 yard. He had a nice lead block on McCoy’s 4th-and-1 carry in the red zone in the first. In protection, Havili was OK in blitz pickup on third down in the fourth. He initially slowed down the linebacker off the edge, but then allowed a hit on Vick.
DeSean Jackson – Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say he’s playing some of the best football of his career. Consider this: Vick threw to Jackson eight times. Seven of those were completions for 114 yards. Jackson is not just running go-routes. He had a nice 17-yard grab on a Vick sprint-out in the first. He had a 10-yard catch on 3rd-and-4 in the second. He got open on an 8-yard out on 3rd-and-6 in the third. He held on for a 49-yard bomb with Ed Reed closing in the fourth. And he had a 14-yard catch to get the final drive started. If you watch the replay, check out the reaction of the defensive players after Jackson caught the 49-yarder. They were going nuts on the sideline. Jackson only came off the field for eight snaps. I’m guessing he opened things up for Celek too. I’ll take a look at that when the All-22 is released Wednesday.
Jeremy Maclin – He toughed it out and started before suffering a hip contusion while blocking for Celek in the third. Maclin was only targeted once, but it was a big one, as he came up with a 23-yard touchdown catch. In a matter of one or two seconds, Maclin made the decision to get down so that his knees would be in bounds. The Eagles might want to give him next week off so that he can heal up. We’ll see as the week goes on though.
Jason Avant – He had two balls thrown his way and caught both of them. Avant’s great hands were on display as he snatched a 16-yard pass from Vick in the first. He also made a nice 17-yard grab in the fourth.
Damaris Johnson – He played 22 snaps. Johnson lined up in the backfield and looked good, picking up 6 yards and a first down on a run around the left end in the first. He only had one ball thrown his way, but it was a 13-yard gain where he beat 2011 first-round pick Jimmy Smith.
Mardy Gilyard – He was active, but played special teams only.
Brent Celek – Guess which tight end led the NFL in yards after the catch last season. Rob Gronkowski? Nope. Jimmy Graham? Try again. It was Celek. And that ability was on display once again Sunday. Celek had a career game with eight catches for 157 yards. And by my count, 67 of those yards were after the catch. The first defender is rarely able to bring him down, and Celek has been a weapon in the Eagles’ passing game since the sixth game of the 2011 season. Great effort on a 19-yard catch and run on 3rd-and-20 in the first. Later, he almost had his helmet knocked off by Bernard Pollard, but held on to the ball as the crowd went nuts. In general, I’m anti-hurdle, but Celek’s leap over Ed Reed worked perfectly. And his teammates loved it. If you watch the replay, check out their reaction on the sideline. Celek stood up and took the blame for Vick’s second interception. He’s the kind of teammate who would do that regardless, but if you watch the replay, Celek had Lewis on his left, so Vick had to throw it high to the other side. The ball bounced off of Celek’s hand and was picked off by Reed. Celek had a lot of good moments as a blocker, mixed in with a couple miscues. Let’s start with the good. Nice job in protection on Vick’s 10-yard completion to Jackson. Nice block on McCoy’s 7-yard run. Good job on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the third. And again on McCoy’s 5-yard run. Celek did a good job on McCoy’s 6-yard run as well. On the flip side, he missed his block on a Havili run that went for no gain. There was confusion in the third as safety James Ihedigbo went right past him and dropped McCoy for a 2-yard loss. Overall, outstanding game for Celek.
Clay Harbor – He played a lot (36 snaps, 45 percent). Harbor had one catch – a 19-yard grab on the final drive. He held up well as a blocker too. Specifically, Harbor did a good job on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the third.