Dallas Goedert may be more valuable than ever to this Eagles offense

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 27: Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) looks on during the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 27, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Dallas Goedert caught eight passes for 95 yards to help the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. He is on pace to shatter his career high in receptions and yards.

The use of Goedert in the screen game early in the season has been a critical element that has helped the offense gain momentum when they’ve needed it most. Jalen Hurts is able to look to his fifth-year tight end for easy completions that put the athleticism of Goedert and his blockers on full display. 

Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen have leaned on the tight end screen pass at key turning points this season to help the Eagles find their rhythm on offense.

Dallas Goedert’s making the most of designed screens

After the Eagles earned a satisfying 24-8 road win in Washington in Week 3, the focus shifted to the dominant effort of the defensive line and an efficient performance from the offense. However, the emphatic victory overshadowed a slow start.

The offense punted on their first two drives, and they settled for a field goal on their third drive. Hurts completed just four of his first nine passes on the first three drives. After Brandon Graham forced the first Carson Wentz fumble of the afternoon, Hurts and the offense started in great field position at the Washington 24.

The Eagles seized the momentum on Hurts’ first pass attempt of the drive: a simple screen to Dallas Goedert. The 6-foot-5 bulldozer got behind two linemen in space and made his way to the end zone. Hurts settled in, and the game wasn’t close the rest of the afternoon.

The Week 4 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t start well. After Andre Cisco’s interception return for the game’s first score, Trevor Lawrence drove the Jaguars 80 yards on their second offensive possession to build an early 14-0 lead.

After the Eagles finally got some momentum on a big 4th down sack by Fletcher Cox, the offense found some rhythm. What play got them going? A screen to Dallas Goedert for 26 yards. 

They outscored the Jaguars 29-7 the rest of the way. 

On Sunday against the Cardinals, Sirianni and Steichen decided not to wait until after the offense started struggling to use the bread and butter play that has helped them throughout the early portion of the season.

Hurts’ second and third pass attempts both went to Goedert in the flat. The first went for a 14-yard gain, and the second went for a 10-yard gain. 

The tight end screen utilizes the strengths of the individuals on offense. It allows Hurts for a quick, easy completion without significant pressure to make a big play. It allows athletic linemen like Jason Kelce, Landon Dickerson, and Issac Seumalo to run in space after the receiver has already caught the ball to avoid illegal man downfield penalties that have plagued the Eagles. Of course, it allows Dallas Goedert to utilize his size and elusiveness with running room.

Dallas Goedert Becomes a Security Blanket

Dallas Goedert’s excellent performance against the Cardinals came with his former teammate Zach Ertz on the opposite side.

Ertz sits near the top of the franchise record books in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He became the security blanket for the Philadelphia offense for the majority of his nine seasons in midnight green.

Goedert played a season-high 96% of the offensive snaps in Week 5. The number drastically exceeds the amount he played in each of his first four seasons. It falls within the same range he played in games after Ertz was traded in October 2021.

After a somewhat awkwardly long transition, Goedert has taken over the spot as the security blanket and the top tight end. He is now one of the most reliable offensive weapons for a contending Eagles team.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire