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Notes: Celek Ready, Demps & Hester

Tight end L.J. Smith missed practice for the third consecutive day on Friday with a back injury, which means it's looking more and more likely that Brent Celek and Matt Schobel will have increased roles in the offense when the Eagles take on the Bears in primetime on Sunday night.

"He's a great player," Celek said. "I think it stinks if (Smith) is unable to play because I think he's an asset for our team. Hopefully, I can fill in and do a good job because hopefully the offense won't skip a beat."


TE Brent Celek
Celek said he doesn't expect the Eagles to change their offense much and that their two tight-end sets will be ready to go against Chicago. That has a lot to do with the depth the Eagles have at most positions.

"Actually, it looks like it won't be affected at all," Celek said. "It's going to be me and Matt. There's going to be a lot of two tight end stuff in there. We're going to try to get the job done and I think we will.

"When we first came into the season, I thought we had great depth at every position. You have to always be ready for somebody to go down. It just so happened that L.J. went down this past week and it's our turn to step up now."

On Friday, quarterback Donovan McNabb practiced for the first time all week and Celek said he looked sharp.

"He looks real good," Celek said. "I think it's tough to take 4-5 days off after a game and come back and do well. He did well (Friday)."

Celek also said he's seen signs that receiver Kevin Curtis is getting healthy as well.

"He's doing scout team right now," Celek said. "He's just easing himself back into it. We'll see in the next few weeks how well he's doing. I don't anything about the injury. I don't really talk to him about that type of stuff. It's a personal thing."


Speaking of bad backs, it seems like guard Shawn Andrews' injured back could keep him sidelined against Chicago. Meanwhile, guard Max Jean-Gilles has filled in admirably for the two-time Pro Bowl guard.

For most of the preseason and the last two weeks, Jean-Gilles has been taking reps with the first-team offense and he said the experience has helped him improve dramatically.

"From preseason to now, there's a whole difference," Jean-Gilles said. "My technique has gotten better, my hand placement has gotten better and I have more confidence in myself."

Jean-Gilles also noted that Andrews' health is also improving.

"He's getting better day by day," Jean-Gilles said. "It's a slow process. I don't know what's going on. He's a competitor. Any competitor that can't compete right now and has to be on the sideline and watch is hard for him."


Safety and kickoff returner Quintin Demps knows Chicago returner Devin Hester better than some people think.

He's seen first-hand how fast Hester really is.

"I actually worked out with him one time in California," Demps said. "The guy is cat-quick."

Demps has shown tremendous speed himself. During Felix Jones' kickoff return for a touchdown against the Eagles, Demps nearly caught Jones from behind. Demps said that he's heavier than Hester, so that means Hester is probably faster.

But it sounded like Demps wouldn't turn down a race to find out.

"He probably only weighs (180), I'm like 210 so I'm pretty sure he's quicker than me. I'm not sure about straight-ahead faster though. I know he's quicker for sure," Demps said.

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