“That’s what you need on a team,” quarterback
It all starts with the head coach.
Think about Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions and the spark that finally got the juggernaut going. The offense had struggled mightily through nearly 40 minutes, barely able to string together a single sustained drive - and the only sustained drive ended with an incomplete pass from Foles to wide receiver
In a sport where mostly everyone wants the ball, blocking, especially by players at the so-called skill positions, has become an unappreciated and lost art. Not so for Kelly’s Eagles. Far too often last season, receivers were completely disinterested in blocking downfield and hindered running back
“I think it’s an unselfish group,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said of the receivers. “We’re really all focused on trying to win the game. We like to run the football, and there are a lot of times when we choose to hand it off or it might be a zone read and all of a sudden the ball is out on the perimeter. They all have opportunities to catch balls, so they all have to block for each other. It’s a very unselfish group. They just like to try to contribute any way possible.”
So many plays from the Snow Bowl stick out from a blocking effort standpoint. Go back to McCoy’s second touchdown run, for example. As he exploded through the hole and got to the second level, he approached wide receiver
“We focus on winning games,” Avant said. “We’re in a position, a spot where we want to be in. We are just trying to do everything we can to win. As a receiver you want to catch passes, but if you don’t get that opportunity there are other ways you can help. If that’s what we need to do in order to win, I’ll do it.
“At the University of Michigan, if you couldn’t block, you couldn't play. That was just the bottom line. It didn’t matter how good you were. With the explosive players that we have here, you know if you get in the way a little bit a guy can take it the distance.”
Leading the way as a blocker among the receivers is
“We, as coaches, see what he does as a player and teammate behind the scenes,” Shurmur said in adulation of Celek. “We appreciate what he does on plays where he might not get production. He’s an outstanding blocker, he’s an unselfish player as he displayed the other night. He just does all the things that you want as coach. He’s embraced all the changes that have happened and how we do things, preparing to practice, our training sessions. He’s bought into everything, and if you ask him, he feels and sees the benefits of what we’re doing, and we just appreciate him for all those things.”
“That’s the kind of player Brent is,” said
While the receivers certainly deserve a ton of credit for embracing the dirty work and getting involved in blocking, don’t forget about where it all starts - with the offensive line, whose primary job is to block. Foles certainly hasn’t. After some early struggles,
“Linemen never get the glory, but they’re always the ones who are the key to any offense,” Foles said. “You have to have a great offensive line, and we have a great offensive line with great guys. And Brent at the end, what he did was awesome.
“That’s why this environment here, the people we have here, is a great place to work. It’s an honor to be a Philadelphia Eagle because of the people (that are here). We hold each other accountable and we play for each other. That’s why I love it here.”