Clay Harbor has always been able to run and catch and line up and provide the Eagles with a glimpse of his big-play ability. Now, in his third NFL season, Harbor is putting it all together and wants to be someone the coaches feel they can depend on each and every week.
"I feel confident out there, pretty satisfied and while I know I have some things I have to clean up on the field, I'm pretty pleased with my progress," said Harbor after he contributed 6 receptions, a pair for touchdowns, in the 27-17 win over New England on Monday night. "I feel like I'm made a lot of improvements in my game."
There is no doubt about it, and everyone who has watched has noticed. Harbor has been more explosive, faster and more reliable in every phase of his game. He and Brent Celek suddenly give the Eagles two tight end options in the passing game that can create good matchups, particularly in the red zone.
"I think can work things in our favor down there," saiid Harbor. "I feel like I'm getting more reps and doing things right out there. We've been pretty successful with our two tight ends and so my goal is to go out and keep practicing well and playing well.
"We had some times in this game when the Patriots were bringing in a linebacker when we had certain personnel packages out there and we had good matchups. If a defense leaves a defensive back in, maybe we can take advantage with our running game. Either way, it works for our offense, so I have to keep proving myself to the coaches and earning their confidence."
Harbor credits a full offseason for a lot of his development. He has been a daily workout warrior at the NovaCare Complex for conditioning, and he makes sure to catch as many passes a day as he can. Harbor wants to be a complete tight end, not just one who gives a glimpse of how good he can be.
A fourth-round pick from Missouri State in 2010, Harbor caught 9 passes as a rookie and 13 last season. He could go way, way past those numbers this year if he continues his fine summer into the fall.
"That's my goal, just to get on the field in a lot of situations and help us win games," said Harbor, who scored on a corner route when he caught a perfect pass from quarterback Nick Foles and stamped down his feet before going out of bounds, and then added a second touchdown when he ran a shallow cross and beat a linebacker in coverage and caught Foles' perfect pass. "It's more than just running and catching the football. I know that know. I'm learning every day, so my goal is to be better tomorrow than I was today."