After watching the Eagles practice this off season the significance of the Birds tight end position is becoming very obvious. Last year, Birds tight end Zach Ertz was their go to guy much of the time on third down and in the red zone. The former Stanford tight end caught 74 passes during the regular season and eight of those were for touchdowns. Of course, his biggest catch of the year was the one that gave the Eagles a Super Bowl title.
From the looks of what has been happening in the team’s practices, things are going to get worse for NFL defenses before they get better. Ertz continues to make getting open look easy against the Birds defense, but it seems that rookie Dallas Goedert is learning from the Pro Bowler. The loss of veteran backup tight end Trey Burton was seen as a problem going into the 2018 season, but Goedert is looking like he’ll be able to fill the former Eagles tight end’s shoes.
On the first day of practice this off season, Ertz went into his routine of getting wide open and catching passes. The rookie arrived and started catching more than his share of passes, as well. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson acknowledged that they may utilize the multiple tight end sets more going forward with both Ertz and Goedert as weapons. Both of them are in the 6’5″ 250 pound range with good speed and great hands.
“They are so athletic,” Pederson said, “so gifted and so talented that they sometimes play like receivers and give our offense favorable match ups.”
Bottomline, expect the Birds to utilize their tight ends more this year. The key will be the blocking. If Goedert can do a good or fair job as a blocker, he’s going to be on the field a great deal. The two tight end set has to be respected as a running formation, but the fact that you have two tight ends with great receiving skills puts great pressure on the defense.
The Eagles still have some quality receivers, so it won’t be ball tight ends. Don’t forget that they have Alshon Jeffery on one side, Mike Wallace on another and Nelson Agholor is the slot. Don’t forget that there aren’t going to be but so many balls available with that quality group of wide receivers and running backs Darren Sproles and Corey Clement.
The Eagles also have former Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rogers on the roster, but he hasn’t been too impressive at the workouts.