It's no secret that the Buffalo Bills struggled to defend tight ends in 2010. For a time this season, that issue looked to have been solved; aided by injuries to Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss, the Bills held tight ends to six receptions for 55 yards in the team's first two games. Things continued to look up heading into Week 3, as well, when Aaron Hernandez was ruled out.
The issue has reared its ugly head in the past two games, however. Rob Gronkowski torched the Bills to the tune of seven receptions, 109 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, Jermaine Gresham piled on an additional four receptions for 70 yards and another score.
This week, Brent Celek and the Philadelphia Eagles are coming to town. Celek was viewed as an up-and-comer heading into 2010, having just posted 76 receptions, 971 yards and eight touchdowns the previous season. Once Michael Vick took over at quarterback, however, Celek has become an offensive afterthought; his production essentially halved in 2010 (42-511-4), and this year, he's caught just eight passes for 67 yards.
The question, then, is simple: what's happened to Celek?
"This is certainly a question we've been asking," said Jason Brewer of BleedingGreenNation.com. "It's not even that another tight end has emerged above him - they just aren't using the tight that much in the pass game.
"He's certainly been used to block a lot more over the past two years, and that's clearly impacted his production," continued Brewer. "But I'm sure the rise of these other weapons like Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy over the past two seasons have played a part, as well."
Celek is not a central figure in Philadelphia's offense, but he still plays quite a bit - and even if he's not one of Vick's favorite targets, this is a player that the Bills should still be somewhat wary of entering Week 5. If they forget about him, the consequences could be dire. Celek can play.