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A New Set of Guns

by Benjamin Baney

Celek Becoming Favored Weapon

Remember when our Tight Ends were usually thought of as the best in the league. And actually lived up to it? I do. His name was Chad Lewis and he was consistently getting open and keeping what was generally considered a bad offense on track with timely catches on third downs to keep an incredible defense rested. L.J. Smith kept looking like he could take over, but in fact never did. He was hurt it seemed late in his career with the Eagles, but even then it seemed the staff and McNabb had already lost confidence in him.

Enter Brent Celek. For the past two years he's gotten some playing time but I'd never consider him a 'weapon'. Right now he has 26 catches, which is 4th among NFL Tight Ends, and one shy of his season high. He's dangerous too, averaging nearly 12 yards a catch and 50% for first downs. What it he's been bringing is a reliable reciever in case our other young players can't make the play. He runs hard and he's a much better athlete than he's been previously gotten credit for. Hopefully injuries won't be a problem for him because his combination of attitude and skill have him lined up to be a future Pro-Bowler in the this league.

Winning With the Wildcat

I think it's safe to say now that the Wildcat offense is not a fad. It works, and it works well for a running game. It's basically a power offense typically just without a conventional fullback. Instead you run 90% or higher from this formation, but instead of plowing through a predestined hole the runner has a large vision over the whole formation and can read where the best chance of a hole will be. A running backs vision is possibly his best attribute, and seeing where to make cuts is almost as important as quickness or speed. I believe that the Philadelphia version of the wildcat has a chance to be deadly if all the players buy into it as a legitimate system. With speed at so many positions, any kind of misdirection play would tend to bring defenses in quite the bind. They would have to recognize the play faster because a moments hesitation would likely mean a speedy DeSean Jackson, or Maclin running right by you, or a Brian Westbrook going around. If Vick ever gets back to where he was (A significant 'if' as it stands right now) the amount of run/pass options becomes endless and impossible to defend. It also means that the Offensive line needs to be aggressive on their running attack and fight with a little more attitude. The line play has certainly been adequate so far with the exception of the game against the Saints, but I'd like to see the offensive line be slightly more dominant and attack defenders with a little more nastiness. Intimidation, even at the professional level, can still be an effective tool.

The Dolphins used the Wildcat to ram the ball down the throats of what had been thought of as a great defense in the N.Y. Jets. At the end of the game I remember thinking of images of Jake Long just burrying his opponent and being just physically superior it seemed than the man across from him. That kind of performance is what needs to happen on a consistent basis for a strong running attack.

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