By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — He made two amazing plays to the ‘oooohs’ and ‘aahs’ of the sun-drenched Sunday crowd that gathered on Sunday at the NovaCare Complex. But in Trey Burton’s mind, it’s the only two plays he made. Otherwise, by Burton’s high standards, he didn’t have a good practice at all.
That’s a tough argument for anyone who watched the third-year tight end. The undrafted 6-foot-3, 235-pound Burton has had a very good camp, so far. And on Sunday, he made more of an argument for himself to be included in Doug Pederson’s tight-end friendly offense.
Perhaps the only one who wasn’t of that same mindset was Burton himself.
“I’m extremely confident in myself and my ability, and I just have to get better—but I had a bad day today,” said Burton, to the quizzical expression of those around him. “The two catches I had were the only two plays I had in practice. I had about a 100 bad ones, and two good ones. Those are the kind of things that I have to continue to work on.”
“I’m challenging myself, but I always have. I’m getting in the playbook and learning as much from [Brent] Celek and [Zach] Ertz as much as I can. Like I said, I can get a 1,000-times better. The two plays that I had today are the only two plays I had all day. I have no problem saying that I’m more demanding of myself. I always carry high standards. I always feel I have to do better, I need to be better. Like I said, today was a really bad effort, except for those two plays. I promise you, I only had two good plays today. Today was horrible—really bad.”
Throughout training camp, it appears Burton will be used more. Under Pedersen, they’ve lined up in far more three-tight end sets, a rarity under Chip Kelly, and Burton has been positioned in the backfield as an H-back.
Burton has also had his moments.
He’s unquestionably one of the better athletes on the Eagles. His team-high 19 special teams tackles last year tied for the most tackles by an Eagles’ special teams player since 2009. He caught three passes in 2015—the first three of his brief NFL career, including a 43-yarder on Thanksgiving Day against Detroit—and averaged 18 yards a catch.
“If I practice like I did today, I won’t be a target as much, I’ll tell you that,” Burton said. “It is a completely new offense. Chris Pantale, Ertz and I have a chance to play all of the positions. We have to study more. Tight ends are special football players, because we have to learn the pass concepts and we also have to know the run game. No other position has to know both as we do.”
What’s unique about Burton is he came to the University of Florida as a quarterback out of Venice High School (Fla.), where he was a first-team all-state selection.
He says he could still throw the ball a good 55, 60 yards.
“Today was a bad day,” Burton said. “I just have to go back and watch the film and take coaching and come out tomorrow and have a better day. I didn’t play to where I think I can earn a spot on offense.”
Burton will earn a spot. There’s no question about it.