Eagles’ Dallas Goedert ready for bigger role, Lane Johnson expected to play Sunday vs. Raiders
Goedert’s opportunity to embrace the No. 1 tight end role starts this Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Dallas Goedert was quarantining when he got a call from Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.
The tight end, who missed last Thursday’s game after contracting coronavirus, was told that Zach Ertz was being traded to the Arizona Cardinals a few hours before the deal was announced on Oct. 15. Goedert, who has been the No. 2 tight end behind Ertz since being drafted in 2018, would finally get a chance to take on the primary role at the position for more than just a game or two.
“It was definitely a weird feeling,” Goedert said during a Friday news conference. “Not saying goodbye to him, not being there for his last game obviously [stunk], but I’m looking forward to the opportunity in front of me. I’m looking to make the most of it.”
» READ MORE: Dallas Goedert ready to take on TE1 role with Eagles
Goedert’s opportunity starts this Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders. The 26-year-old missed practice early in the week as he waited for the two negative coronavirus tests required before getting activated off the COVID-19/reserve list.
Goedert said Friday that he dealt with soreness and tiredness in the first few days with the virus, but eventually felt better and struggled most with the boredom of quarantine.
He missed practice on Wednesday and the Eagles didn’t list him as a participant on Thursday’s injury report, although he spent the part of practice open to the media doing conditioning drills on a side field.
Even with the limited practice time throughout the week, Goedert said he’s hopeful he’ll get a full workload come Sunday.
“I think I’m ready,” Goedert said. “I’ve always been waiting for this. Like I said, it’s an opportunity that I’m excited for. I want to be able to play every play. I want to be a three-down tight end. I think, conditioning-wise, whatever it is, I want to be out there the whole game.”
Coach Nick Sirianni said he believes Goedert will be able to play a full game, but noted the team has depth behind him if needed. The Eagles have Jack Stoll and Noah Togiai on the active roster and can promote veteran tight end Richard Rodgers off the practice squad if needed.
» READ MORE: Why the Eagles traded tight end Zach Ertz?
“We feel comfortable with the tight ends behind him, if he has to take a break here and there, then they can [step in],” said Sirianni. “Dallas didn’t get some of the reps early in the week, so we feel really confident in the guys behind him, that if they had to go in and take those reps, they’d be able to execute.
“But I look forward to Dallas playing a big role this weekend,” Sirianni added.
Goedert has 15 catches on 19 targets, 216 yards and two touchdowns this season. Even though he’s averaging just three catches per game, his 14.4 yards per reception would be the best of his career so far. He ranks 11th among tight ends in yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus.
Goedert has played 68% of the team’s offensive snaps this season and, in hindsight, conceded that the situation of sharing the primary tight-end role with Ertz this season wasn’t ideal for either of them.
“I think it was mutual between him and I that neither of us really wanted to be splitting time,” Goedert said. “We both thought that we should be No. 1 tight ends, we should be on the field on first, second and third down.”
Ertz’s departure also makes Goedert’s future with the team slightly easier to project. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract and had expressed disappointment that he and the Eagles had not come to an extension agreement before the season.
On Friday, Goedert reiterated that he wants to stay with the team after this season, but he didn’t say if negotiations were picking up now that Ertz is gone.
“I just kind of leave that to my agent,” Goedert said. “I want to be here, I love Philadelphia, I love playing here. I’m letting him and Howie handle that, I’m just focused on winning some games.”
Lane Johnson expected to play
Sirianni also said right tackle Lane Johnson is expected to make his return against the Raiders. Johnson returned to the Eagles’ practice facility on Monday after announcing he’d been dealing with depression and anxiety.
He missed the last three games after popping up on the inactive list before the Eagles’ loss to the Chiefs on Oct. 3. Johnson’s return will likely slide Jordan Mailata back to left tackle and bump Andre Dillard back to his role as the backup left tackle.
» READ MORE: Lane Johnson says he missed games due to anxiety and depression
There are many questions surrounding the Eagles, and you should ask us yours! Beat writers EJ Smith and Josh Tolentino will answer many of them on Sunday’s live pregame show on Gameday Central. You can send questions to them here. Then stay with Gameday Central throughout the game for in-game analysis, stats, photos and more.