Eagles

Eagles 2019 breakout candidate: Dallas Goedert needs to get on the field

Eagles 2019 breakout candidate: Dallas Goedert needs to get on the field

This week, I’ll be taking a closer look at five young Eagles who have a chance to enjoy a “breakout season” in 2019. We looked at Derek Barnett yesterday. 

Up today: Dallas Goedert

Age: 24

How acquired: 2018 second-round pick 

Entering: Year 2

While Goedert was a second-round pick last year, he was the Eagles’ first pick of that draft. They traded out of the first round but then back up in the second to get Goedert, whom they considered to be a first-round talent. 

Early returns were certainly good. 

As a rookie, the 6-5, 256-pound tight end caught 33 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns in limited snaps. It definitely didn’t matter that he didn’t play at the highest level of college football. 

"We’re very excited about Dallas," Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said this spring. "He is a very talented guy. He had a very productive rookie campaign. I know he’s just as excited as anybody to get out there and do it again this fall." 

Goedert finished his rookie season with 525 snaps (48 percent) and then played 50 (42 percent) in the playoffs. Based on how good Goedert was as a rookie, the Eagles need to figure out a way to get him on the field even more in 2019, but it won’t necessarily be easy. This is an offense that features a ton of weapons. 

According to SharpFootball, the Eagles used their 12 personnel (two-tight end sets) on 35 percent of their offensive snaps last season. That was tied for second-most in the NFL behind just the Houston Texans (40 percent). So they already used 12 personnel a ton in 2018; can they use it even more in 2019? 

The short answer: Yes. 

Doug Pederson has already hinted at using his two-tight end offense more frequently and perhaps even making that his base offense. I think a near 50-50 split between 11 and 12 personnel in 2019 makes a lot of sense. So if everyone stays healthy, here’s what each package would look like in terms of skill position players: 

11 personnel: Carson Wentz, RB, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz

12 personnel: Wentz, RB, Jeffery, Jackson, Ertz, Goedert

The way this shakes out is that either Agholor or Goedert will be on the field. Now, there will be different variations. The Eagles are multiple and they have players with versatility. Will DeSean work out of the slot sometimes? Sure. But we’re just looking at the basics for now and the basics say either Agholor or Goedert will be on the field. A lot of this should be matchup dependent and based on how teams decide to defend their different personnel groupings. 

So the fact that we’re not just entertaining the thought but saying that Goedert should take snaps from Agholor (who is making $9.4 million this season!) kind of tells you about the expectations for Goedert in Year 2. 

The traits that made Goedert’s rookie season a success were on full display this spring. His hands, body control and leaping ability are going to give him a chance to be a part of a nightmare lineup for the Eagles in the red zone. Think about trying to guard Jeffery, Ertz, Goedert and JJ Arcega-Whiteside inside the 10 yard line. That won’t be easy. 

When the Eagles drafted Goedert, it raised some eyebrows because they already had Ertz. It was viewed as a luxury pick. But Goedert’s early success and possible breakout season in 2019 show why teams can’t draft simply based on position or need. The Eagles took a really good player and it paid off. 

Now, they need to get him on the field. I expect him to do the rest. 

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Roob's 10 observations after Eagles lose an ugly one to Lions at home

Roob's 10 observations after Eagles lose an ugly one to Lions at home

BOX SCORE

Another ugly loss, an ugly 1-2 record and a short week before a very tough game at Lambeau Field.

The Eagles are in trouble.

Are they good enough to fight their way out of it? We'll see, but the early signs aren't real encouraging.

Here are our 10 instant observations from another loss that shouldn't have been. Lions 27, Eagles 24.

1. I’d love to sit here and say it’s still early, it’s not time to panic, there’s a lot of football to be played. But I’m not sure you lose to the Lions at home and survive that. The Eagles are 1-2 with a game on Thursday night against the Packers in Green Bay, where the Packers have never lost on a Thursday night. After the Jets comes three straight road games — with Tom Brady and the Patriots and Russell Wilson and the Seahawks looming after that. The schedule is brutal, and when you have a team like the Lions at home, you can’t afford to give that one away. But that’s exactly what the Eagles did. Wasted opportunities. Fumbles. Dropped passes. The Lions were the better team, they were the better-coached team, and they deserved to win.

2. These games just keep following the same pattern. Halftime deficit, desperate rally. Three weeks in a row now, the Eagles have trailed at halftime — 10-7 on opening day, 10-6 in Atlanta, 20-10 Sunday. They bounced back easily against the Redskins, rallied to take the lead against the Falcons, only to lose it, and outplayed the Lions in the second half Sunday, only to fall short once again at the end. This is the first time since 1982 the Eagles have trailed at halftime in each of their first three games, and I don’t care how exciting the games get at the end, you can't win this way. The Eagles did score a TD and FG on their first two drives, but the bottom line is they have yet to play a complete four-quarter game. This is on Doug Pederson. This team hasn't played 60 minutes yet. And that’s the biggest reason it's 1-2.

3. I know JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a rookie. I know he’s playing in only his third NFL game. Still. Catch the football. Carson Wentz put it right there. Catch the football. It would have been a great catch, but this team desperately needed someone to be great and it just didn’t happen.

4. My biggest concern with this team before the season was pass pressure, and here we are three games in and the defense has two sacks — one by a tackle and one by a safety. This is the first time since sacks became an official stat in 1982 the Eagles have had just two after three games. Now, there’s more to pressuring a quarterback than getting sacks, but the pressure has been spotty as well. If you can’t pressure the QB, it’s really hard to win.

5. It was encouraging to see Miles Sanders come to life a little bit. He was never much of a receiver at Penn State, but he had receptions of 40 and 33 yards and was more productive as a runner than he has been, finishing 13 for 53 after another sluggish start. But he also fumbled twice, lost one, which led to a Detroit field goal. It was a problem at Penn State and it was a problem Sunday. And it’s a problem he has to solve because I don’t care how much talent a running back has, if you keep giving the other team the football, you’re not going to play.

6. The Eagles weren’t terrible defensively. They gave up 20 points to a pretty high-powered offense and six of the points came on short fields. I thought the young corners, in particular, played really well against some high-powered receivers. But when the defense really had to shut down the Lions, it let ‘em go 75 yards in nine plays over the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. With an offense missing all those guys, the defense had to win this game. It didn’t lose it, but it didn’t win it either.

7. Two weeks in a row now Nelson Agholor followed a costly play (60-yard TD drop last week, fumble this week) with a big-time play (43-yard catch last week, two TDs this week). I give the kid credit for his mental toughness, being able to stay up and stay ready and make a big play. But, man, he’s the only experienced receiver on the team right now. He’s got to find some consistency in his game.

8. Wentz's final numbers were pretty good — threw for 259 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. I’m not sure what else he could have done without three of his top five weapons. Those two drives at the end of the game with the Eagles down three were agonizing to watch. He didn’t make any plays, but I just didn’t see any plays out there for him to make, other than the final play to JJAW.

9. Mack Hollins followed his 5 for 50 with a 4 for 62, and for a guy who started the season as the Eagles’ fifth receiver and really not even a lock to make the roster, I’ll take that from him. He’s not a great receiver, but he’s shown up the last two weeks when a lot of people haven’t.

10. Finally … I never complain about the refs. But the non-call on Miles Killebrew’s facemask on Sanders was about as egregious a non-call as you’ll ever see. The NFL talks a lot about player safety and then every ref on the field misses a guy ripping a dude’s helmet off and cackling about it on the sideline? That’s just outrageous and inexcusable. That simply cannot happen.

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Eagles vs. Lions live: Highlights, analysis from NFL Week 3 game

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Eagles vs. Lions live: Highlights, analysis from NFL Week 3 game

3:57 p.m.: The Eagles got the ball back on their own 20 with 3:16 left and all of their timeouts. They then went 4-and-out and turned the ball over on downs. 

1st down: Short pass for two yards to Nelson Agholor 

2nd down: Incompletion 

3rd down: Incompletion

4th down: Wentz scrambles for six yards. 

3:45 p.m.: This is still a game. Carson Wentz just drove the Eagles down the field 80 yards on 11 plays to make this a three-point game. He hit Nelson Agholor for a 2-yard TD touchdown to cap the drive. 

The biggest play was a 33-yard pass to Miles Sanders. 

There’s 6:59 left: Lions 27, Eagles 24 

3:31 p.m.: The Eagles really needed a drive and Carson Wentz was sacked twice and then they had an incompletion. Then, there was a 24-yard punt return. The Lions have the ball in Eagles’ territory with 13:03 left and a chance to possibly put this game out of reach. 

3:20 p.m.: The Lions are threatening right now, but we have a close game at the Linc. 

After 3: Lions 20, Eagles 17 

3:11 p.m.: A little redemption for Nelson Agholor and we have a game. On 3rd-and-6, Agholor caught a short pass, made two spin moves and found his way into the end zone for a 20-yard score. 

Just like that … we have a game. 

With 4:15 left in the third: Lions 20, Eagles 17 

3:04 p.m.: Another big stop from the Eagles’ defense, which has really played well after giving up that touchdown. 

The Eagles’ offense will start this drive in Detroit territory with 6:59 left in the third. They need points on this drive. 

2:51 p.m.: Ronald Darby (hamstring) is out for the game. 

The Eagles got a big stop on the first drive of the second half with Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox at corner. 

Jason Peters (illness) is back in the game at left tackle.

2:28 p.m.: The Eagles just got booed as they left the field from the first half and they absolutely deserved it. A pretty pathetic first-half performance and plenty of frustration at the Linc. 

The Eagles actually outgained the Lions 228-152 in the first half, but mistakes are killing them. The Eagles lost two fumbles in the first half and basically gifted the Lions three points. And they also gave up a kick return touchdown. 

Plenty of time left, but the Eagles really can't afford to lose this game, especially heading to Green Bay this week.  

At half: Lions 20, Eagles 10 

2:18 p.m.: The Eagles desperately needed Nelson Agholor to step up. Instead, he is having an awful game. 

He dropped a crucial third-down pass earlier in the game and he just fumbled away the football with under two minutes left in the first half. Now, the Lions are threatening to extend their lead in the first half. 

Yikes. 

2:10 p.m.: The Lions just drove 44 yards on five plays and made a field goal to extend their lead. The Eagles need to settle things down on this next drive and get some points. 

With 3:29 left in the first half: Lions 17, Eagles 10 

2:06 p.m.: Jason Peters and Andre Dillard got injured in the second quarter and now Halapoulivaati Vaitai is in at left tackle. 

Peters (illness), Dillard (knee), Derek Barnett (ankle) are all questionable to return. 

Meanwhile, Miles Sanders just coughed up the football and the Lions got the ball back. It looked like he might have been down, but it was ruled a fumble. Lions are driving. Sanders had a problem with fumbling in college. He fumbled twice on that last drive and lost the second. 

1:50 p.m.: The Eagles responded after a 15-yard OPI against Mack Hollins and should have converted on 3rd-and-6. But Nelson Agholor dropped a first-down pass. He obviously had the bad drop last week in Atlanta. 

Still in the second: Lions 14, Eagles 10 

1:34 p.m.: End of the first quarter. The Eagles are up 10-7 but the Lions are on the 1-yard line as the teams switch sides. 

After 1: Eagles 10, Lions 7

1:20 p.m.: The Eagles’ offense responded beautifully after giving up a kick return touchdown. 

The big play came on a 19-yard scramble from Carson Wentz on 3rd-and-6. He got them down to the goal line. The Eagles ran well on that drive with Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. Howard punched in a TD from the goal line with a nice block from Alex Ellis as a lead blocker. 

Still in the first: Eagles 10, Lions 7

1:14 p.m.: The Eagles just gave up a 100-yard kickoff return. Yikes. 

1:10 p.m.: The Eagles finally scored in the first quarter!

Carson Wentz led the Eagles on a 9-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. The Eagles were helped by two penalties from the Lions that led to first downs. They also used some tempo on that drive. 

Miles Sanders also caught a 40-yard pass. 

11:37 a.m.: Dallas Goedert (calf) is active, but we’ll see how much he plays. 

11:15 a.m.: Alshon Jeffery is on the sideline during early warmups with a black compression sleeve on his leg and is not working out. It looks like he’ll be down today. 

11:06 a.m.: Dallas Goedert is out on the field for a second time.

11 a.m.: Rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins should get plenty of reps today.

10:55 a.m.: The Eagles' new Goose Island IPA is on tap.

10:25 a.m.: Dallas Goedert (calf) is questionable today, but just ran routes for a while on the field during early pregame warmups. He looked like he was moving OK, but no indication whether or not he’ll play. Inactives get released at 11:30 a.m. 

10:05 a.m.: Just got down to the sports complex. It’s already pretty warm, but it’s a beautiful day to tailgate. 

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