Schobel Provides Options on Offense

Matt Schobel was a tight end locked in an offense that didn't feature the tight end very much. That simple fact kept his stats low, but the Eagles were able to see past the stats to get a tight end who will help in their tight end oriented offense.

Matt Schobel arrived in Philadelphia as what may be an underrated part of retooling the Eagles' offense. Eagles coaches have told Schobel that the team plans to put more two tight end sets in the playbook with his arrival. That's something that wasn't going to happen in Cincinnati, where Schobel didn't get a chance to show off his pass catching skills.

With Schobel and L.J. Smith, the Eagles now have two tight ends that they can mix and match in offensive sets. Think of him as another Chad Lewis, which is how the Eagles plan on using him.

Over four seasons, Schobel caught 90 passes with the Bengals for nine touchdowns. Those numbers would figure to see a substantial increase when he's done with the five-year deal that he signed with the Eagles on Tuesday. Besides the fact that the Bengals never emphasized the tight end in their offense, Schobel was also in a three-man rotation for the job, further cutting down on his opportunities.

L.J. Smith has been a favorite target of Donovan McNabb and even in McNabb's absence, Smith caught a team-high 61 passes last season. With Schobel able to give the Eagles a more impressive two tight end set, Smith figures to be all the more effective, since both he and Schobel will have to be watched by opposing defenses. Both also have the ability to find holes in a defense or can go downfield to open up defenses a little more. Add to that the effectiveness of Brian Westbrook catching passes out of the backfield and the Eagles west coast offense just got a whole lot better with the addition of Schobel.

If there is a chink in the armor of Schobel, it would be his blocking. He's capable at best and will need some work to improve in that area. Smith is also just capable as a blocker, but since they both figure to be so involved in the offense, blocking won't be too much of a concern unless the Eagles do institute more running plays as has been rumored.

Schobel is a 6-foot-5, 255 pounder who was originally signed by Texas A&M as a quarterback before he transferred to TCU and was converted to a tight end.

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