Kelly, Eagles have big plans for tight ends

Less than a week into his first training camp, it’s clear that
new Eagles coach Chip Kelly is going to rely on his tight ends.

As Kelly implements his high-octane system in Philadelphia,
expect more and more dump-off passes to Brent Celek and Co., and
that’s not such a bad thing. After all, Kelly has a three-man
rotation at tight end so far, and there have been times at practice
this week, where they have been on the field at the same time.

”At the goal line,” Celek said. ”But we’re doing it now in
the middle of the field (too). I love it. I mean the more tight
ends out there the better, right?”

Kelly said in April – when Stanford’s Zach Ertz was drafted at
No. 35 overall – that he would have no problem using a three-man
set at the position. So far – especially now with wide receiver
Jeremy Maclin out – he’s been a man of his word. Free-agent signee
James Casey is No. 3, and has been used as an H-back out of the
backfield.

Celek mostly lines up inside, as the traditional tight end. Ertz
has been used both inside and out wide.

”It’s kind of exciting,” Celek said.. ”We can do a lot of
different things out of those formations. Both of those guys are
really athletic, which helps. Me, I’m kind of your old, classic
tight end.”

Celek is coming off a 57-catch season and his 280 receptions and
3,473 receiving yards rank second all-time among Eagles at the
position. Casey caught a career-best 34 passes last year as the No.
2 tight end with the Houston Texans. And Ertz caught 112 passes in
his three years with the Cardinal.

It appears like all will receive plenty of action, especially
considering there isn’t much help out there on the wideout market
right now.

”If you look at wide receivers, that’s obviously where we were
down,” Kelly said. ”When we were down and you start to look at
what maneuvers do you make, if you carry 11 or 12 receivers,
there’s 32 teams in the league. So there are 352 to 384 receivers
already under contract.

”So when you’re really having the discussion, you’re talking
about the 385th receiver out there. So there’s not a lot, and you
don’t get to say, `Hey, we really want that guy. I think he’s going
to be an outstanding player.’ There’s not a lot to pick from
now.”

NOTES: Left tackle Jason Peters, who missed all of last season
with a torn Achilles in his right leg, left practice with what the
team called a mild hamstring strain in the same leg. Kelly said the
injury did not appear serious and Peters is being listed as day to
day. Matt Tobin, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa, took Peters’
spot with the first team. . Projected starting cornerback Cary
Williams (hamstring), backup nose tackle Antonio Dixon (hamstring)
and cornerback Brandon Hughes (hamstring) sat out Wednesday’s
practice. . Two second-year players were very impressive during the
two-hour practice. Cornerback Brandon Boykin, who played primarily
in the slot as a rookie, was outside and made plays on the ball all
day. Running back Chris Polk, who did not have a carry last season
and missed time with a toe injury, also had a nice day running and
catching the ball out of the backfield.