TAMPA — The Eagles used their first pick in the 2018 draft to select a young, talented tight end named Dallas Goedert, who has shown flashes of the type of play-making ability their offense has desperately needed in the first two weeks of the season.
And then they played Josh Perkins.
Perkins, the 25-year-old tight end, who was once a longshot to make the Eagles’ 53-man roster, played 26 snaps in the 27-21 loss to the Bucs on Sunday. Goedert played just 17.
If you think that doesn’t make sense, you’re not alone.
So after the game, I tried to ask Doug Pederson why that was. Here was his long and convoluted answer:
“Well, a lot of times with the tight end situation, some of it is by game plan. And then we lose some receivers, we start having to use the second or third tight end. Plus, listen, it’s a complex thing because it starts moving bodies around, and without getting real specific with the game plan, because obviously, you don’t know the game plan, one part that goes down, then you have to adjust everybody else. A lot of times it’s easier with Perk in the game. Dallas played, but at the same time, it didn’t change our receivers on the outside; it kept those guys sort of in their same spots. Again, you don’t know, and this isn’t against you, but without knowing the offense and the formations and the personnel that we have, it can be a chess match moving multiple parts on offense. Does that make sense?”
“I know,” Pederson accepted. “It’s complicated because you don’t know the plan, and that’s nothing against you, I’m just saying when you don’t know the plan, the formations, where we move guys and have guys specific in the game plan, if one guy goes down, now it shuffles the whole thing. We can keep it real consistent by just moving one part and not many parts. I know, I just confused you more. Sorry.”
Based on thinking about this and chatting with a few other folks, here’s what I came up with: Perkins is a converted wide receiver, so when Mike Wallace went down with injury, the Eagles basically wanted to play him at wideout instead of using Goedert as a tight end, which would have affected more than one position.
The problem with that is simple, though. You gotta get your most talented players on the field. On Sunday, that should have been Goedert. So if Pederson needed to change the game plan or deviate from it at least a little bit, he should have. Nothing against Perkins, who actually made a few plays, finishing with four catches for 57 yards, but he isn’t as talented as Goedert. He doesn’t have the big-play ability and his ceiling isn’t nearly as high.
Even Perkins was a little surprised.
“I didn’t think I was going to play this much,” Perkins said. “But they had the confidence in me to throw me in there.”
Through two games now, Goedert has played 34 snaps (17 in each game) and has one catch for four yards. He wasn’t even targeted against the Bucs. Despite nearly pulling in a touchdown catch in the season opener, the talented rookie tight end has been a complete non-factor in his first two NFL games.
That’s not gonna cut it.
The Eagles need to find a way to get Goedert more involved in the offense, especially while other key members of the team are out. I don’t need to know the game plan to know that.