Has the Time Come For Eagles to Bench Brent Celek?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Friday, November 26, 2010

If Celek doesn't work out, I hear L.J. Smith is available.

Something is not right with Brent Celek this season. It might be a lack of effort, it could be a nagging injury we don't know about, or it could be something as simple as a funk, but Celek has been invisible all year long.

For the season (11 games), he has 23 receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns. To put just how bad that is in perspective, Celek had 24 receptions for 245 yards and two touchdowns after just three games last season.

This season, Celek has never had more than four catches, 47 yards, or one touchdown in a single game. Celek's lowest reception total in 2009 was two, in 2010 he has gone with a single catch twice in the past three weeks.

You get the picture. It hasn't been pretty.

The question now is whether or not the team continues to wait on Celek to revert to his 2009 form or go in a different direction. Fortunately for Celek, the only other options are a journeyman like Garrett Mills or the rookie Clay Harbor. Unfortunately for Celek, both of those options are starting to actually look like options.

Mills is more of a blocker than a pass-catcher, so he doesn't really fit as a starter. Harbor, on the other hand, seems like the perfect fit in Andy Reid's offense. He's a quicker, lean guy who has good hands and has shown flashes that he's an adequate blocker.

Harbor has already seen one start this year, but it resulted in only one catch. However, that one catch was still more than Celek had in that same game.

If I was Andy Reid, I might consider tossing Celek on the bench for at least a quarter, maybe even an entire half of a game. Maybe if he sits on the bench and has to watch Harbor start in his place he might be motivated to actually catch the ball.

And make no mistake, he had plenty of opportunities early, he just didn't cash in. Kevin Kolb looked for Celek every other time he dropped back, but even Kolb began losing faith in Celek after a few drops.

Michael Vick showed in Atlanta he likes throwing to the tight end as Alge Crumpler went to a couple Pro Bowl, but he seems to have also lost faith in Celek.

Celek is spending more time as a blocker because of the troubles the offensive line was having, but it would stand to reason then that he'd want to make more of his lessened opportunities. But instead we're seeing more drops from him than we saw last year and a guy who has gone from play-maker to bum seemingly in no time.

Reid is usually loyal to a fault, but I don't know how long he can keep Celek as the starter. He is obviously the most talented guy on the team, but his head doesn't seem to be in it this year and the offense is playing short-handed most of the time.

This Vick-led offense is second in points scored and is fast enough to give defensive coordinators nightmares with LeSean McCoy in the backfield and DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin out on the edges -- now just imagine how dangerous they'd be with a half-productive tight end.

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