In 2009, Celek became the first Eagles tight end to have 100 receiving yards in back-to-back games since the great Pete Retzlaff in 1965. Celek's breakout 2009 season ended with 76 catches for 971 yards and eight touchdowns. Each of those numbers that year ranked second in franchise history among tight ends for a single season.
Last season, Celek had 42 catches for 511 yards and four touchdowns. Celek did, however, have some of his best moments down the stretch. Celek's season-long 65-yard touchdown reception helped spark the rally that resulted in the Miracle at the New Meadowlands. One week later, Celek tied a career high with 10 catches, for 97 yards, against the Vikings.
Why was there such a dropoff in Celek's numbers? Pro Football Focus charted each time a tight end was used in pass protection and Celek stayed in to block 124 times (according to Celek's individual stat page) last season, which was the fifth-highest total in the league. In addition, Celek helped run block on another 341 plays. That's 465 plays where he was asked to block. He went out on routes fewer times, 445 plays to be exact.
Believe it or not, Celek was used to block quite often in 2009. However, it was primarily on run plays. Celek only blocked on pass plays 75 times in 2009. In all, Celek blocked 453 times and went out on routes 456 times.
Even when Celek was not helping the offensive line, the rate of passes in his direction decreased as well in 2010. Once upon a time, Michael Vick's passing progressions did not extend much beyond tight end Alge Crumpler. In 2006, Vick's last season in Atlanta, the tight ends were targeted by Vick 28.1 percent of the time. Last season, Vick only went to the tight ends 16.1 percent of the time (60 total attempts). Kevin Kolb relied on the tight ends a little more at 20.1 percent of the time. In 2009, Kolb went to the tight ends 24 percent of the time and Donovan McNabb did on 21 percent of all attempts.
Head coach Andy Reid hinted in his chat with Philly.com on Wednesday that the Eagles need to work on the short-to-intermediate passing game. It will certainly be intriguing to see how Celek is utilized in 2011.