Eagles

Dallas Goedert might have chance vs. Dolphins to improve up and down year

Dallas Goedert might have chance vs. Dolphins to improve up and down year

Dallas Goedert has done some good things this season and he’s done some not-so-good things this season. 

Through 11 games, the former second-round pick probably hasn’t made the jump a lot of folks expected from him in Year 2. 

He might have a chance for a big game on Sunday. 

Even though Goedert said he expects Zach Ertz to play through a hamstring injury — he's questionable — there’s a good chance that Ertz won’t be himself. That could give Goedert and expanded and different role in Miami against the lowly Dolphins. 

“If he can’t play, which I don’t think anybody sees that happening, I’ll get a little more of his routes and stuff,” Goedert said. “That would be fun. But I don’t think that will happen.”

The one thing that has greatly improved in Year 2 is Goedert’s playing time. Even though he missed a game, he’s played 60 percent of the offense’s snaps after playing 48 percent as a rookie last year. 

The rest of his numbers have seen a modest jump. 

In 11 games so far this season, Goedert has 31 catches for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Not bad, but not great. At the same time, he’s asked to block a lot more than Ertz. 

“As a tight end, you always wish your numbers were higher,” Goedert said. “For what I’ve been asked to do this year, for the way the year’s went, for the things we’ve done offensively, I kind of feel like my numbers are right where they’re supposed to be. We have a lot of weapons, we use me in a lot of different ways.” 

Earlier this week, head coach Doug Pederson said Goedert has “definitely been one of the bright spots” on offense for the Eagles this season. 

But what about the drops and fumbles? 

Oh yeah. 

“Those are things we have to correct, he knows that,” Pederson said. “Again, it goes back to it's not about one guy. We will address it with him, we did it during the game yesterday and we will continue to talk to our team about it. He knows that. Have to hang on to the ball.”

Goedert fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter against Seattle. He also fumbled on the first drive a month ago in Dallas. 

This season he also has four drops, the same number as Nelson Agholor, who has been maligned for his drops. 

So it’s not all good. 

But there are still reasons for encouragement. Goedert has been a good blocker and his four touchdown catches are tied for the team lead. 

“I feel like it’s been a good year (personally),” Goedert said. “Obviously, I had a couple mistakes with the fumbles. I feel like it’s been a good year. I’ve been doing what I’ve been asked.”

He might be asked to do a little more on Sunday. And maybe he can tilt the scales a little more to the positive side. 

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Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert gets a very bold 2020 prediction from PFF

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert gets a very bold 2020 prediction from PFF

Pro Football Focus released its ranking of the 15 best tight ends in the NFL on Wednesday, and somehow the decision to place Rob Gronkowski at No. 3 is only the second-boldest move on the list.

The boldest? Placing Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert at No. 6 in the league - and ahead of Zach Ertz.

Wait, what?

Eagles fans know the Birds probably have the league's best tight end duo, and 2020 should be a big year for Goedert. But placing the third-year tight end in front of Ertz, a perennial Pro Bowler coming off the second-best season of his career? Hmm.

Let's go to the list for some explanation:

6. DALLAS GOEDERT

The best tight end on the Eagles’ roster heading into 2020 is not Zach Ertz. Despite the receiving totals pointing pretty clearly to Ertz being the better player in Philadelphia, it’s actually Goedert who graded out as the better receiver in 2019. Goedert’s size and athleticism make him dangerous in one-on-one situations, evident in his receiving grade against single coverage that ranked near the top of the list this past season.

[...]

He just needs more opportunities in a featured role, because the talent is there.

7. ZACH ERTZ

Many would rank Ertz as high as third on this list, so I’ll start this out by explaining a little bit why he comes in at just seventh. Primarily, he isn’t nearly as dynamic as some of these other guys with the ball in his hands.

Sandwiched between Antonio Gates (36 years old at the start of this stretch) and Jason Witten (34 years old) is not where you want to be as one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL in your prime.

It's hard to say these evaluations are far off. I'd venture to guess most Eagles fans, and most football observers, expect Goedert to overtake Ertz as the team's TE1 at some point in the next few years. Goedert is more athletic than Ertz, he's already a well-rounded player, and Ertz isn't getting any younger.

And the criticisms of Ertz - his relative lack of game-breaking athleticism compared to a George Kittle or Travis Kelce, and his constant inability to break tackles - hold true, as they have for years.

But predicting Goedert moving ahead of Ertz this year? That's gutsy! 

I think a lot of folks missed Goedert's sneakily productive season in 2019 - 58 catches, 607 yards, and five touchdowns - and we'll likely see Goedert play even more in 2020. His targets (87) didn't match Ertz's receptions (88) last year, so this might feel like a reach for a one-year change. But the role switch for TE1 and TE2 also might be closer than we think.

And if Goedert does take a big leap in 2020, that might make Howie Roseman think twice about extending Zach Ertz. The veteran tight end, possibly the best in franchise history, said this week he wants to remain an Eagle forever

If Goedert overtakes Ertz in productivity this year, as PFF thinks will happen, Ertz might have to take a discount to stick around in midnight green when his contract is up after the 2021 season.

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Eagle Eye podcast: A closer look at DE after addition of Vinny Curry

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Eagle Eye podcast: A closer look at DE after addition of Vinny Curry

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Barrett Brooks react to the addition of Vinny Curry and what it means for the entire defensive end position. 

What about guys like Shareef Miller, Genard Avery and Joe Ostman? 

Jatavis Brown abruptly retired this weekend, which leaves the Eagles really light at the linebacker positions. The guys take a closer look. Jason Kelce and Jason Peters are forming a really interesting duo on the Eagles’ line. 

And Nate Gerry and Lane Johnson are off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

  • (2:06) — What the return of Vinny Curry means for Shareef Miller.
  • (16:01) — Jatavis Brown abruptly retires.
  • (25:53) — Eagles lack talented players under 25-years-old.
  • (33:16) — Jason Kelce is learning from Jason Peters.

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