PHILADELPHIA - Tight end James Casey was supposed to be a difference-maker for the Eagles' offense this season.

Instead, he has been a non-factor.

Casey, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract as a free agent with the Eagles, enters Sunday's game at Denver having played in only eight of the team's 198 offensive snaps this season, including just one against Washington and Kansas City, respectively.

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"I definitely want to be out there playing and of course I want to be the starter," Casey said. "If I didn't feel that way, I should probably be looking for another career."

New Eagles coach Chip Kelly opted to keep four tight ends on the 53-man roster after the preseason. That position was supposed to be a focal point of his high-energy, read-option offense. But only veteran Brent Celek has received any significant playing time.

For example, Celek played in 60 of the Eagles' 66 offensive snaps in last week's 26-16 loss to the Chiefs. Rookie Zach Ertz, the Eagles' second-round draft pick, was on the field for 15 plays. Casey got one snap and converted fullback Emil Igwenagu was deactivated for the third straight game.

"It's not something that Casey is not doing," Kelly said. "It's that we've got some competition there and the one guy that has really stepped up out of everybody on our offense has been Brent Celek. I think Brent has done an outstanding job. He's really practiced at a high level since training camp.

"I know he's a little bit of an older player on this team, but when I look at Brent on the sideline, I don't know if we have a fresher guy. That's a credit to him and the conditioning he's done."

Celek, 28, and Ertz have both caught four passes for 74 yards, though Celek had a 28-yard touchdown reception in the Eagles' 33-27 victory at Washington in the opener.

EXTRA POINTS: Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning backed off his complaint about the disparity in preparation time for the Eagles and Broncos in a conference call Wednesday, but still seemed a little ticked that the Eagles will have had nine days of practice in which to get ready for Denver as opposed to the Broncos' five.

"It's always a challenge when you have a short week against an unfamiliar opponent so early in the season," Manning said. "It's a grind all week for us. It's difficult."

Eagles safety Patrick Chung (sprained shoulder) did not practice again Wednesday. If he can't play against the Broncos, rookie Earl Wolff will make his first career start. Tackle Jason Peters (dislocated finger) practiced Wednesday and will play. He said he will have to deal with the injury for the rest of the season.



Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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