Faceoff: Brent Celek
Jeff Pasquino: Brent Celek is a big target over the middle for Philadelphia, affording the Eagles a nice option in their passing attack on short and intermediate routes. The Eagles and the NFC East teams rely heavily on the tight end as a key cog in their passing game (Dallas with Jason Witten, the Redskins with Chris Cooley and also Fred Davis, and even Kevin Boss for the Giants), so having Celek "break out" in 2009 was a big key to the Eagles' success.
Now with Kevin Kolb under center in Philadelphia, should we expect an increase or at lesat similar numbers from Celek? Digging a little deeper in to the 2009 numbers and you can see that Kolb is a huge Celek fan. In Kolb's two starts, Celek led all Eagles with 20 targets (even more than DeSean Jackson's 19) and had virtual carbon copy performances (eight catches and 104 yards in both games with one touchdown reception in the second contest). So why does Kolb like Celek so much?
Kolb and Celek are linked together both on and off the field. Kolb is a fourth year NFL vetern but has just two starts to his credit, so he needs a big, reliable target as an outlet valve when his deeper options are covered. Kolb ran a West Coast / spread offense incollege at Houston, so he is used to throwing the ball over the middle and between the numbers. Celek gives Kolb a great second option in his progressions and also a solid Red Zone target.
This leads me to the other link between Kolb and Celek - they are good friends off the field and even share a room on the road. Do not discount that connection to each other. A quarterback that is more comfortable with one receiver is more likely to look in his direction than to other spots on the field - that's just human nature. While many are calling Celek's 2009 season a breakout, I would not be surprised to see him approach 140+ targets and over 90 catches this year as he pushes for a Top 3 overall fantasy spot in 2010.