The Eagles offense has been subject to a lot of criticism lately, and rightly so. The wheels are falling off the wagon at an alarming rate, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t positives to take. While it’s easy to jump on the deficiency at wide receiver, it’s also easy to overlook that the Eagles are establishing one of the most lethal tight end tandems in the entire league.
Zach Ertz reached 500 career receptions in Sunday’s loss to Seattle, becoming the 2nd-fastest TE in NFL history to reach that mark. His franchise-record of games with 10+ receptions (11) is now tied with Jason Witten for the 2nd-most by a TE since 1950. With 9 catches in 3 consecutive games, Ertz has another record-feather in his cap of being the first player in Eagles history to achieve such a feat.
We all know how dominant Zach Ertz is. It’s reflected in the stats, the countless records, and the consistency on the field. Ertz will always be there to shoulder the offensive burden carried by Carson Wentz and no matter how hard teams try, taking him out of a game is no easy task. This level of elite play casts a monumental shadow, and it’s one that is hiding some very impressive play by another big-bodied pass-catcher.
Dallas Goedert was drafted in the second round last year and although it took a while for him to garner some playing time, the 6-5 tight end sent shockwaves through the NFL, with all four of his touchdowns coming on red zone opportunities. With 334 yards on 44 targets, Goedert let the world know that a breakout was incoming. In 2019, the first tremors have started to rumble.
Goedert currently leads the team in touchdowns (4), with all 4 once again coming inside the red zone. With 289 yards to his name already this season, he’s on-pace to shatter the numbers he recorded as a rookie. but his development goes far beyond the stat sheet.
“He’s definitely been one of the bright spots, one of the positives on offense.” Doug Pederson said on Monday. “He’s gotten so much better blocking at the point of attack. He’s strong. His route running has gotten better. He’s been strong to the football when the ball comes his way. Utilizing him in the screen game a little bit has been successful this year.”
“I think he’s going to continue to grow and continue to get better the more we use him and use him in space, obviously. He’s been a plus for us.”
He hasn’t been perfect. Crucial drops, and a pair of fumbles that almost became a treble in the endzone against New England, have taken some of the praise away from what’s actually been a stellar campaign.
“Those are things we have to correct, he knows that.” Pederson continued. “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.”
Security setbacks aside, Goedert ranks sixth among tight ends in touchdowns this year, but has most recently carved out a role as a blocking menace. Building on his rampant success as a blocker as a rookie, Goedert has featured in the backfield as a lead-blocker for Miles Sanders over the last two weeks and has been lethal when used on wham concepts.
There’s still a lot of football left to be changed and the sledding should ease over the next five weeks with the strength of opponent dipping massively. Without key wide receivers and Jordan Howard’s ‘stinger’ injury appearing to be more serious than it first appeared, the reliance on the Birds’ tight ends as both blockers and pass-catchers will be more valuable than ever, giving Goedert a chance to turn those tremors into shockwaves as the season winds in and a potential playoff bid sits within reach.
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports