Stats & Info: Brent Celek

Saints beat up Vick, force Eagles mistakes

November, 6, 2012

John David Mercer/US PresswireThe New Orleans Saints defense pressured Eagles' QB Michael Vick throughout the game Monday
Michael Vick was battered by the New Orleans Saints defense in a 28-13 loss. Vick was sacked, under duress or hit while throwing on 18 of his 53 dropbacks (34.0 percent).

Entering Monday, he was under such pressure on 32.5 percent of his dropbacks, the highest rate in the NFL. When under duress Monday he was 3-8 for 34 yards (4.3 yards per attempt) with an interception. Coming into the game, the Saints had allowed the second-most yards per attempt (7.1) when putting quarterbacks under duress.

Vick was sacked seven times – tying a career high set in 2006.

That wasn’t the only thing that went wrong for the Eagles who have now lost four straight.

Trending the Wrong Way
Philly has struggled in the first quarter this season, scoring a total of seven points in the opening quarter through eight games. The only team to score fewer is the Kansas City Chiefs with six points.

Twice on Monday the Eagles turned the ball over in the red zone. The first came on a Vick interception off the hand of his tight end Brent Celek. Vick’s 14 turnovers this season are third-most in the NFL behind only Matt Cassel (18) and Tony Romo (15).

The other turnover came in the fourth quarter when Celek fumbled. On the season Philadelphia has turned it over six times in the red zone – most in the NFL.

Saints Building Momentum
Drew Brees completed 10 of 12 (83.3 percent) passes using play action Monday including two touchdowns. This continues a strong trend for Brees since the Saints bye week (Week 6) in which he has thrown four touchdowns off of play fakes, the most in the NFL during that stretch.

After starting the season 0-4, New Orleans has now won three of four. The Saints also extended several streaks:

• Eight straight wins on Monday Night Football
• 12 straight wins in the month of November
• Drew Brees has thrown a touchdown in 51 straight games to extend his NFL record

What Rob Gronkowski means to Patriots

February, 1, 2012

Al Bello/Getty ImagesTom Brady and the Patriots' effectiveness in the Super Bowl could ride on Rob Gronkowski's left ankle.

One of the key storylines leading up to the Super Bowl XLVI is the availability of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. He was without a walking boot on media day, but it has yet to be seen if he will be 100 percent against the New York Giants on Sunday.

If he isn’t, the Patriots offense might take on a new look.

The Patriots used two or more tight ends on 81 percent of their regular-season plays and have done so on 88 percent of their postseason plays (excluding spikes and kneel-downs). No other team has featured multiple tight ends on a higher percent of plays, and the Patriots don’t have a third tight end on their roster.

If Gronkowski is limited or doesn’t play, that would likely lead to more three-wide receiver sets. Outside of Wes Welker and Deion Branch, the Patriots haven’t had a consistent threat from a third wide receiver this season.

Tom Brady has thrown only 140 of his 681 passes this season with three wide receivers and just one tight end on the field. Although Brady is completing 71 percent of his passes with such personnel on field, he is also throwing an interception about once every 28 attempts, compared to once every 68 attempts with all other personnel groupings.

Less or no Gronkowski could also limit the versatility of Aaron Hernandez. Gronkowski has taken 61 percent of his snaps attached to the line of scrimmage. In contrast, Hernandez has taken 66 percent of his snaps and caught 52 of his 90 receptions when split out wide or in the slot. The Patriots may keep Hernandez in more often to compensate, which could lead to fewer mismatches.

If Gronkowski is able to play he may not be at 100 percent, which could limit his performance in areas he normally excels.

Gronkowski finished the regular season with the fourth-most yards after the catch (641), most among tight ends. The only tight end to average more yards after the catch per reception was Brent Celek (7.9 to 7.1).

Of course, the Patriots could opt to base Gronkowski’s playing time on the situation. Only Calvin Johnson has more red zone touchdowns than "Gronk" the past two seasons, and no Patriots receiver has been nearly as effective in the end zone.