The Eagles sustained a pretty noticeable loss on Monday night. Dallas Goedert has been placed on IR with a shoulder injury sustained in the loss to Washington and although it’s not season-ending, it’s serious enough to cost him at least a quarter of the season.
This leaves the offense in a bit of a pickle. Tight End was the one position the Eagles really refused to invest heavily in this offseason, which makes sense when you consider how dynamic their offense is and how many 3-WR sets they facilitate, but the risk was that if Goedert went down, depth was always going to be thin. That is now the case and Nick Sirianni needs to work out who to deploy as his temporary TE1.
There are three candidates on the Eagles roster.
Stoll is probably going to be the first man up here. Primarily because he’s played in 39% of snaps this season on offense and 48% on special teams. His usage, predictably, has been as a blocker for the most part. He’s caught 4 of 7 targets on the year for 49 receiving yards.
The Nebraska product came out of college with a reputation as a stern blocker and didn’t have that many chances to flaunt his prowess as a receiver, especially after an injury in the 2020 season opener cost him all but 3 games of his senior year.
However, Stoll ran a 4.68 40-yard dash and a 2.66 20-yard split. His 6.86 3-cone drill time was also exceptional, painting the picture of yet another freakishly athletic body who plays well beyond his frame, aligning with a recent trend in Philadelphia.
If the Eagles do roll with Stoll, it’s probably going to be as a blocker. His snap-count may increase, but his responsibilities should remain largely in tune with what we’re already used to seeing. That’s because there are two better candidates to take on the receiving routes.
The rookie tight end has only featured in 11% of offensive snaps this year and whether or not this increases will depend on how confident the team is in his ability when compared to the last man on this list.
Grant Calcaterra was drafted out of Oklahoma and yes, he did overlap with Jalen Hurts. He may have only caught 5 passes for 79 yards while being on the same offense as the MVP candidate, but that’s an average of 15.8 yards per catch. However, he had to retire from football due to concussion setbacks. Calcaterra later received medical clearance in 2020 and joined SMU to reunite with teammate Tanner Mordecai. He ended the 2021 season with a much stronger stat-line of 12 starts, 465 yards, and 4 touchdowns.
Calcaterra is a true receiving tight end with a relative athletic score of 8.5, which should come as no surprise given Howie’s recent focus on athletic monsters. Pairing him up with a true in-line blocker such as Stoll would be a smart move.
The wildcard here is former Bills QB, Tyree Jackson.
The project tight end had to miss the opening half of the 2021 season due to an injury picked up right at the end of the Summer – a Summer that was ultimately headlined by his consistent big-time catches. After working back from injury, he then suffered a torn ACL in the season finale.
He’s been on the injured reserve list ever since but good news came on October 26th when his practice window opened. He should now be nearing a potential window for a return and has the receiving TE spot all to his self for the time being. Could this finally be a swing in good fortunes for Jackson?
Prior to tearing his ACL, he caught 3 passes for 22 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. The Eagles love what they have in the 6’7 tight end and he could be a huge asset in the red zone. Don’t be surprised to see his name called early and often when both he and the team feel he’s at a level to make an impact.
There will be no easing in here. If Jackson does come back, he’ll likely have a strong role (35%+ of snaps) off the bat. This makes it imperative for Nick Sirianni to ensure he’s fully healthy as opposed to rushing him back. The Eagles do have options and can afford to be patient.
Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire