Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at tight end?

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Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at tight end?

Little has changed for the Eagles’ tight ends from this year to last, but rarely does anything truly remain the same in the NFL. Will the unit be better or worse or 2019 after a stationary offseason?

Key additions: None

Key departures: None 

Why they could be better: Dallas Goedert entering Year 2

Goedert showed a lot of promise his rookie year. His 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame was a weapon in the red zone, where he scored four of his five touchdowns (including playoffs), while his sub-4.7 speed created four catches of 20-plus yards – three of those over the Eagles’ last four regular season games. He was even a more polished blocker than anticipated.

Yet, there’s a feeling Goedert was only scratching the surface. His counting totals of 35 receptions, 354 yards in 18 games don’t seem very impressive. Yet, 75 percent of the passes thrown his way were catches, which was good for seventh in the entire league. Goedert played a more consistent role in the Eagles’ offense in general down the stretch, and only figures to see more opportunities in ’19. After a full year in an NFL offense and conditioning program, he could be downright scary.

Why they could be worse: Zach Ertz can’t possibly repeat 2018 volume, can he?

Ertz had 116 receptions – 126 if you count the postseason. The previous record for a tight end was 110, and only four other tight ends have eclipsed 100. Ertz’s previous best: 76. Plus, Goedert’s role will expand. And DeSean Jackson is back with the club. And Alshon Jeffery is entering the season healthy. So whether because Ertz would have to make even more history to match last year’s output, or simply because there are more mouths to feed, his numbers figure to dip.

On the bright side, Ertz could fail to reach 100-plus catches again, yet improve in other areas. His 10.0 yards per reception was the lowest figure for his career, which suggests a lot of those were check downs, or defenses were focused on the tight end. With a better supporting cast surrounding him, Ertz may be more effective at stretching the field and less of a security blanket. Still, overall production is likely to decline.

The X-factor: How much 12 personnel will Eagles use?

The biggest issue with having a proven top-five tight end in Ertz and a potential top-five tight end in Goedert is getting them both on the field. It’s a great problem to have in theory, though one not easily solved. In 2018, the Eagles simply limited Goedert’s snaps – he played just under 50 percent of the time. That also made sense to a degree, as he was still learning the game. What’s the excuse going to be now?

The bottom line is the Eagles may need to employ even more two-tight end packages to get the most out of both players. Of course, they also have three excellent wide receivers, and usually there’s a running back out there, too. It’s a delicate balancing act, and the offense stands to be explosive no matter the exact percentages. Yet, for the purposes of determining where the Eagles’ tight ends will be better or worse, the answer may very well boil down to just how much Ertz and Goedert are out there together.

Are the Eagles’ wide receivers better or worse?

Some folks were peeved Ertz didn’t garner All-Pro honors after a record-setting season. Sure, the catches were great, but is that really who he is? A guy that catches 116 10-yard passes? Ertz is better than that, and while his volume will decrease, the impact stands to grow. Goedert is an ascending talent, and there are options for that third tight end spot, either Josh Perkins, Richard Rodgers or Will Tye . 


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Eagles receive top Madden 20 team rating despite Carson Wentz snub

Eagles receive top Madden 20 team rating despite Carson Wentz snub

It’s that time of year again. 

Today, the good people of Madden released their full rankings for Madden 20, available on Aug. 2. Here are some notable items from how they see they see the Eagles looking this year.

The Best Team in the Game

That’s right, Madden believes in the Eagles. With an overall rating of 89, the Philadelphia Eagles are the highest rated team in the game. They edged out the Dallas Cowboys (88), New Orleans Saints (87), New England Patriots (87) and Green Bay Packers (87).

The lowest ranked teams in the game are the Miami Dolphins (74), followed by the New York Giants (77).

Carson Wentz Snubbed in Madden 20

Carson Wentz will begin the season as an 82 overall, dipping three points from where he was to start the year last season. The rating places Wentz tied for 13th at his position behind guys like Baker Mayfield (83) and Jared Goff (83) and tied with Deshaun Watson (82). After an incredible season last year, Patrick Mahomes (97) is the top-rated QB, followed by the ageless wonder, Tom Brady (96).

The Top Bird

It should come as no surprise that Fletcher Cox is the highest ranked Eagles player at an overall ranking of 96. His ranking makes him the 15th highest ranked player in the NFL and the top defensive tackle (Madden considers Aaron Donald an end). His combination of speed, acceleration and strength make him an unstoppable force in both the video game and in real life.

These Birds Can Fly

One of the more important aspects in Madden often times is speed and the Eagles have 13 players with a rating of 90 or higher in that category. Five players, Ronald Darby, Shelton Gibson, Josh Hawkins, DeSean Jackson and Avonte Maddox, are tied for the highest speed rating on the team at 93.

According to Madden, the fastest player in the NFL is Tyreek hill, with 99 speed and 99 acceleration, the only player with a 99 in either category.

Top of their Class

There’s a number of Eagles players that are ranked very highly at their position. 

Fletcher Cox: 96, 1st among DT

Jason Kelce: 94, tied for 1st among C

Zach Ertz: 93, 2nd among TE

Malcolm Jenkins: 92, 2nd among SS

Brandon Brooks: 90, 4th among RG

Brandon Graham: 89, 3rd among RE

Lane Johnson: 89, 2nd among RT

Lowest Rated Eagle

Sorry Rick Lovato, for the second straight year you’re the lowest rated Eagles player. Actually, Lovato’s ranking lowered from a 43 in 2019 to a 41 in 2020. Lovato, the long snapper, certainly didn’t do anything wrong from a snapping standpoint last season, but he’s listed as a TE in the game and they probably want to make him as unusable at that position as possible. 

Other notable Eagles that received poor ratings are Clayton Thorson (56), Nate Sudfeld (57) and Jordan Mailata (58). 

Click here to see the Madden ranking for the entire Eagles roster.

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Eagles 2019 training camp battles: How cornerback shakes out

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Eagles 2019 training camp battles: How cornerback shakes out

As we near the start of the Eagles’ 2019 training camp, we’re taking a closer look at some key position battles to watch this summer. 

Up first: Cornerback

Names to know 

Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Josh Hawkins 

What to watch 

The Eagles have a pretty deep stable of young and talented cornerbacks and after last year’s disaster at the position, that should let DBs coach Cory Undlin sleep a little easier at night. In 2018, the cornerback position was completely decimated by injuries, but it allowed younger players to gain valuable experience. Now, we’re not sure who the starters are anymore. 

On the injury front, Ronald Darby (ACL) and Jalen Mills (foot) both didn’t participate in OTAs as they recover from injuries that ended their 2018 seasons early. But both were the starters at the beginning of the 2018 season. During the spring, we saw Darby working on on side fields, but didn’t see that from Mills. Will these two be ready for the start of training camp? If not, are their positions guaranteed when they return? In Darby’s case, that answer is probably a yes. The Eagles re-signed him to a one-year deal and they didn’t bring him back to sit on the bench. But after that, the other two cornerback spots seem up for grabs. 

In the absence of starters last year, Douglas, Maddox and LeBlanc all got significant playing time and all three performed fairly well. Douglas has gotten chances to start after injuries in his first two NFL seasons and might be ready to simply have a starting role. Maddox was a rookie last season but didn’t play like it; he played three positions and although he looked like a rookie at times in the Saints playoff game, he had a fantastic first season for a fourth-round pick. And LeBlanc might have saved the season after he was claimed on waivers from Detroit. Jones had an up-and-down second NFL season thanks to a lingering hamstring injury, but he’s supremely talented and was about to be a first-round pick just a couple years ago. And Jones started last season as the nickel cornerback and played better than you probably remember. Despite his success last season, it seems like LeBlanc is firmly behind those other five; but having him as a sixth corner shows their depth. 

During OTAs — without Darby and Mills — the starters were Douglas, Maddox and Jones. The key here will be to see who gets first-team reps when the entire group is healthy. I’d expect we see a few combinations during training camp as the Eagles figure out their best combination. That also means moving some players (namely Maddox and Jones) inside and outside to find the right fits. 


Darby is going to start. Like I said earlier, they didn’t sign him to sit him. So that leaves the other two jobs open. I’m not going to give Mills his job back before I even seen him on the field; his foot injury has been a long one, so until he’s really back, I won’t predict him to be a starter (although this is where I should mention how much Jim Schwartz has seemed to like Mills over the last three years). 

So for now, I’ll guess Darby, Douglas and Maddox are the starters barring a trade. I’m still bullish on Jones; I’m just not sure how the Eagles can start him over Douglas or Maddox based on what we’ve seen. But this should be an open competition in training camp, which is where these jobs should be won. 

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