Dallas Goedert received a phone call from Howie Roseman last Friday morning, relaying some news that Goedert had been waiting four years to hear:
You’re the guy.
Sure, it was bittersweet and a little weird to hear that Zach Ertz, his teammate since 2018, was traded to the Arizona Cardinals. But the message from the Eagles was pretty clear: They want to see Goedert in the No. 1 tight end role for the first time in his career.
“I’ve been waiting for my time since I got here,” Goedert said on Friday. “Obviously, I knew it wouldn’t be right away with Zach. And I didn’t ever know when it would be. Maybe, I thought, me and Zach might play the rest of his career out as teammates. But that didn’t happen. I’m just excited for this opportunity I have in front of me.”
Goedert, 26, was a second-round pick back in 2018 so it always seemed like he would one day replace Ertz. But it took a little longer than most expected, especially after many thought Ertz would get traded this offseason.
Instead, they spent the first part of the 2021 season splitting reps, a situation they dealt with but that neither was necessarily thrilled about.
“I think it was mutual between him and I that neither of us really wanted to be splitting time,” Goedert said. “We both thought that we should be No. 1 tight ends, that we should be on the field on first, second and third down. It was what it was.
“We had been doing it for so long, I understood the situation that we had with him and I there. But splitting time wasn’t something that either of us really wanted to do. Excited to have the role of being in there more.”
Goedert is in the final year of his four-year rookie deal so this will be a final push for him to prove he’s worthy of the next contract he gets, whether it’s in Philly or elsewhere.
When asked if contract negotiations had picked back up in the week since the Ertz trade, Goedert said he’d let his agent and Roseman handle all that.
“I want to be here,” he said. “I love Philadelphia, I love playing here. But I’m letting him and Howie handle that. I’m just focused on winning some games.”
While Ertz had an emotional final game in Philly last week, Goedert wasn’t even able to be there because he was on the COVID-19 list. He has since been removed from that list and will be ready to play on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Goedert said he had some aches and fatigue for a couple days after testing positive for COVID but said the worst thing he dealt with was boredom. He briefly moved out of his shared house with cornerback Avonte Maddox to avoid getting him sick.
While Goedert missed about 10 days of physical activity, he thinks his conditioning level is high enough to play an entire game on Sunday. That’s good news because with Ertz gone, Goedert is going to get a lot of run.
“I think Dallas is a great player,” Jalen Hurts said this week. “I think we all have a lot of trust and faith in Dallas. He’ll attack it like he attacks anything else, trying to take advantage of his opportunities.”
The removal of Ertz from the picture will also make life slightly easier for head coach and play caller Nick Sirianni. He no longer has to worry about finding enough snaps for Ertz and Goedert and will have more freedom to run the personnel groupings he really wants. Although the Eagles will still use some 12 personnel for matchup reasons.
When Ertz was drafted in the second round back in 2013, the Eagles still had Brent Celek, who helped Ertz learn the ropes. And then when the Eagles drafted Goedert in 2018, Ertz filled a similar role for him.
What did Goedert learn most from Ertz?
“His total understanding of the defense,” Goedert said. “Going to the huddle, he knows the personnel, he knows they play this coverage, this front vs. this nickel, he already knows the calls before the calls are made. Just all that stuff amazed me. Early on in my career, I didn’t understand any of it. Now that I’ve played a few years and you just start to play more ball, it all starts to make more sense. Just little things like that, how detailed he was."
During Goedert’s career, there have been just a handful of times that he was the No. 1 tight end without Ertz. In those five games, Goedert had 21 catches for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The last two such games came against Cleveland and Seattle last year, when Goedert had back-to-back 75-yard, 1-touchdown performances.
“It’s just a little bit different. He’s not here,” Goedert said. “Stepping into a little bit more of a leadership role in the tight end room, in the locker room as a whole. Just not having him here. He was always Zach. He was an amazing player, amazing person, it was great to have him here. But without him, it’s just a little bit different.”
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