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Dallas Goedert shows he can be an effective part of Eagles offense

Goedert, with a career-high 105 yards receiving, and Minshew were an effective tandem against the Jets.

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert yells after scoring a first quarter touchdown against the New York Jets on December 5.
Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert yells after scoring a first quarter touchdown against the New York Jets on December 5.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni might have discovered the secret formula to rolling out an effective offense by relying on a run-first identity.

But he’s also in the midst of finding that balance in the passing game.

When the Eagles do decide to air it out, they’ve shown to prioritize two main targets: wide receiver DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert. The latter enjoyed a career day this past weekend.

In the team’s 33-18 win over the Jets, Goedert caught all six of the passes thrown his way, recording a career-best 105 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Sirianni and quarterback Gardner Minshew prioritized Goedert in an assortment of ways through screens, intermediate passes, and a couple of vertical lobs.

“We called them at the right time,” Goedert said. “I was able to run in space. Anytime that happens, it makes it a lot easier and it was fun.”

Goedert attacking in space is similar to a size-16 bowling ball tumbling down the alley and attacking the pins with extreme force. His 6-foot-5 frame paired with his athleticism makes him tough to bring down, especially in the open field, which the Jets struggled to do over and over again.

“We always have targets up for [Goedert],” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “When you hit the right coverages on a few of those things, they hit for big plays.”

With quarterback Jalen Hurts ruled out, Goedert spent extra time preparing with Minshew. During break periods at practices throughout the week, Goedert skipped the water breaks and he ran individual routes on the sidelines with Minshew tossing him balls at NovaCare Complex. After practice, Goedert and Minshew bonded together inside the facility and discussed what they noticed on the field.

“I spent extra time talking with him,” Goedert said of his relationship with Minshew. “Asking what he expects, what he sees, what he wants routes to look like, how he wants us to run them and what he sees versus different coverages.

“I just wanted to pick his brain so I know what he’s looking for and I can be in the spots he wants me to be in.”

Said Minshew: “This was my first week ever throwing to Dallas. He’s really good, so I feel comfortable throwing to him. Anytime you have a player like that, I’m really happy to find him. I imagine he’s going to continue to be a really good player.”

In order to cement himself into the top tier of tight ends, Goedert needs to continue to maintain his mindset as a dominant TE1, no matter the quarterback.

Given the offense’s tendencies in a run-first scheme, it would be unfair to regularly expect this type of production. But the fourth-year tight end flashed his ceiling and showed what he’s capable of achieving when he is heavily targeted.

Goedert leads all NFL tight ends in first-down percentage (75.6%). He also has the highest receiving average in the league (14.5), and ranks third in yards after catch (7.2). Over 54 career games, Goedert has recorded 178 catches for 2,061 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Goedert works best when Sirianni utilizes him as a chess piece, seeking out mismatches and soft spots in coverage. When Sirianni took over at the beginning of the year, he incorporated a roster with multiple needs, but tight end was not one of them. The team’s belief in Goedert was evident this past month when it signed him to a four-year extension worth up to $59 million with $35.7 million guaranteed.

“You just [see] his speed going through the middle,” Sirianni said of Goedert. “Sometimes, you get him matched up on those linebackers or safeties on the inside and he is fast. He can really, really run.

“This guy is a monster when he gets the ball in his hands. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s hard to tackle. ... That’s where I saw his leadership abilities. He stepped up and made plays for a guy that was starting his first game for the year.”

Roster move

The Eagles announced Wednesday that they have signed tackle Le’Raven Clark to a contract through 2022 and waived conrerback Mac McCain.