Not all NFL debuts need to be as electric as Saquon Barkley’s to draw praise. For Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert, that rings extremely true. The South Dakota State product didn’t blow the doors off of his first taste of NFL action, but that was never the expectation.
“You know, first game I thought pretty good, okay.” Doug Pederson told reporters earlier this week. “I’m sure he would like to have that pass over the middle back. I think that was one that he knows he’s going to have to catch in traffic. It was great to see him elevate in the corner of the end zone and get one foot down. You’d like to see the second one down. But those are all positive plays that, again, we can coach off of. There were some things in the run game we can clean up with him. But for the first time out, as a rookie, big spotlight like that, big crowd, sort of a playoff atmosphere, was encouraging, and we’ll continue to work with him, and he’ll just get better each week.”
A large reason behind Goedert’s quiet outing was the fact that the Eagles approached things slightly differently against Atlanta. 77% of their offensive plays came from 11 personnel looks (1 tight end, 1 running back) which if you know anything about this team, is a little unusual. Without Richard Rodgers, the Eagles were down to Zach Ertz, their rookie and Joshua Perkins. Brent Celek’s blocking boots were assumed to be filled by Rodgers, whose in-line blocking has always been an area of strength in the Packers offense. Goedert and Ertz on the other hand aren’t exactly known for their prowess in offensive blocking…and if it would be more of a hindrance than a help, it would make sense for the Eagles to instead focus on getting as many skill position players on the field as possible in the absence of Alshon Jeffery.
“I mean, we were 11 personnel heavy, but I think in the second half I used a little more 12 personnel, especially to start the third quarter.” Pederson explained. “But as he gets comfortable and he gets more time, especially in the red zone, I think there’s going to be some situations where he’ll be on the field a lot more, and regardless of who our receivers are, because I think he’s a big target and he’s a valuable piece to our offense.”
The Falcons linebacker group, led by Deion Jones, made life extremely difficult for both tight ends all night long and in scenarios where both were on the field, the success rate was as low as one might’ve expected.
‘Doubling down on their philosophy to pass from two tight end sets, the Eagles jumped from a league 2nd 57% pass from 12 personnel to a hyper 91% last night. Did it work? Heavens no. Those passes went for an average of 3.30 yards per play as the duo of Zach Ertz and Goedert struggled to either catch or get open.’
Ertz still found a way to have an impact, but as one of the team’s top receiving threats, that was expected. As the season goes on and the offense gets closer to full strength, expect to see plenty more from Dallas Goedert. What is encouraging is that even in a game where he wasn’t featured heavily (with DeAndre Carter winning the snap battle by a landslide), he still drew praise from his Head Coach, which says a lot about his ability and the potential impact he will one day have on this offense.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Joe Lamberti/Courier Post