Tight ends fight for No. 2 spot

 Posted by at 10:09 am
Aug 052010

August 5 Camden Courier-Post

“The heat was near unbearable. It was a sweat-sticking heat, the kind that makes you want to shotgun a bottle of water.

Clay Harbor — a rookie — didn’t slow down.

“He was going 100 miles an hour,” said Eagles safety Quentin Mikell.

Harbor, the Eagles‘ fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft, appears to be establishing himself in the second rung on the Eagles’ tight end depth chart. When he wasn’t nabbing passes in the end zone from Mike Kafka, he was getting tangled up with Mikell on a block.

“I love to hit people,” Harbor said. “If I see a guy with his hands on his knees, that just gives me that much more energy.”

Brent Celek is the clear No. 1 tight end. After that, things get murky.

Harbor, Cornelius Ingram and Martin Rucker are all vying for the second and third spots behind Celek. Rucker has been sidelined the last three practices with an ailing hamstring.

“He looked pretty physical,” Mikell said. “He’s gotta work on his blocking a little bit. I think he holds a little bit too much. He might get that called on him (in a game). But so far he looks pretty good.

So Harbor and Ingram have been exchanging reps with the second and third teams, respectively. But Harbor has even seen some time with the first team.

“It doesn’t matter how many reps I’m getting or who they’re with,” Harbor said. “If I’m going with the 3s, the 10s, the 1s, I’m going to go hard.”

Ingram’s limited presence has been planned. Ingram, who didn’t play his senior year at Florida with an ACL tear, missed the 2009 season with a second ACL tear.

Eagles coaches have been progressing Ingram gradually hoping to prevent another injury.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg noted the biggest difference between Harbor and the other tight ends — his blocking ability. Ingram and Rucker, while adequate blockers, both came from a spread offense in college. Both are known for their pass catching ability.

“We have three men who are battling big and two of them are quite inexperienced,” Mornhinweg said. “They’re different styles, little bit different styles and so, there’s great competition there.””

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