RB, WR, TE Review: How the Eagles Used Celek
Here’s a player-by-player review of how the Eagles running backs, wide receivers and tight ends performed Sunday against the Steelers.
LeSean McCoy – Numbers don’t come close to telling the whole story. McCoy had 16 carries for 53 yards (3.3 YPC) and four catches for 27 yards. Those stats don’t jump off the page, but he was outstanding. McCoy picked up 8 on a 2nd-and-1 run in the first and had a nice carry around the left edge for 6 yards. He came up huge on the fourth-quarter scoring drive. On the Eagles’ first fourth-and-one, it looked like he had nowhere to go, but McCoy picked up a first down with a great second effort. If he doesn’t make that play, the Steelers’ offense takes over at the Eagles’ 30 with 13:05, up 13-7. McCoy later converted a second fourth-and-one on the drive. He also had made safety Ryan Mundy look silly with a 6-yard run in the fourth. Great design and execution on the touchdown catch in the third. McCoy let Jason Worllds rush Michael Vick unblocked, but turned around quickly, caught the ball in the flat, put a great move on Larry Foote and got in the end zone. As a blocker, McCoy had ups and downs. He was asked to pick up Lawrence Timmons (a tough assignment) and got blown up in the first as Michael Vick threw the ball away. McCoy whiffed on his block on the QB draw to Vick that lost 1 yard in the second. LaMarr Woodley squeezed past him and Danny Watkins in the first, hitting Vick as he completed a 12-yard strike to Jason Avant. He did a great job taking James Harrison out on the Vick pass to DeSean Jackson that picked up 25 yards in the second. Overall, a really strong performance.
Bryce Brown – He only played four snaps and battled a shoulder injury. Brown had a nice 4-yard run on 2nd-and-1 in the second. He did a poor job in blitz pickup against Timmons on a deep attempt to Jeremy Maclin in the second.
Dion Lewis – He was active for the first time all season and played three snaps (no touches). Tough to say for sure, but it looked like Lewis was late picking up Brett Kiesel as he forced Vick out of the pocket on a third-down incompletion in the third. Later, Lewis blocked no one as Timmons came untouched through the A-Gap and hit Vick on a fourth-quarter throw.
Stanley Havili – He once again was on the field more, playing 37 percent of the snaps. And Havili performed well. Just one touch – a nice 5-yard run in the first. But Havili delivered a good lead block on McCoy’s 8-yard run. And he had the linebacker pushed back in the end zone on Vick’s QB draw down near the goal line.
DeSean Jackson – Official stats have him down for eight targets, but if you remove the balls that should be considered throw-aways, that number is really six. Jackson finished with four catches for 58 yards. He picked up yards after the catch on a shallow crossing route that gained 25. And Jackson got open for a 24-yard completion on 3rd-and-10 during the final drive. I have to see the All-22, but it looked like he might have had a step deep on the early bomb that went Maclin’s way. Pass interference definitely could have been called on the bomb to Jackson in the second that fell incomplete. I really thought he had the first down on the Eagles’ 17-play drive. Reid challenged it, but the original call was upheld, costing the team a timeout it could have used later. Overall, solid game. He still does not have a drop this season.
Jeremy Maclin – He was the Eagles’ most-targeted receiver with nine balls thrown his way. Maclin finished with five catches for 39 yards, but keep in mind he also drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty in the first. He had a 10-yard grab in the red zone in the first, but couldn’t stay in bounds or he would have had a touchdown. Vick fumbled on the very next play.
Jason Avant – Finished with three catches for 34 yards. Nice 12-yard grab on 3rd-and-10 on the first drive. Nice job blocking on the McCoy 15-yard touchdown in the third. Good, tough catch over the middle for 12 yards on the 17-play drive. Interesting blocking assignment in the fourth: He and Celek double-teamed Worllds on the 24-yard completion to Jackson.
Damaris Johnson – He played four snaps but was not targeted.
Brent Celek – I was surprised he wasn’t a bigger factor in the passing game. Celek finished with three catches for 9 yards on four targets, including the 2-yard touchdown in the fourth. Part of the problem was that he stayed in to block about 34.3 percent of the time on pass plays, according to Pro Football Focus. Previously, that number was 28.1 percent (in the first four games). As a blocker, I thought Celek was outstanding. Good job on McCoy’s 8-yard run in the first. Great job in protection one-on-one vs. James Harrison on the 10-yard completion to Maclin in the red zone in the first. Great job on Harrison on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the first. And good block on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the fourth.
Clay Harbor – He played 22 snaps (39 percent) and caught the only ball thrown his way – an inside screen that picked up 8 yards, setting up the Eagles’ second touchdown. As a blocker, nice job one-on-one in pass protection against Harrison on an early bomb attempt to Maclin. And good block on McCoy’s 10-yard run in the first. Harbor was called for a false start in the first.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at email@example.com.