During the first week of training camp, the Eagles learned that Dallas Goedert can catch much better than he sings.
Goedert, the rookie tight end who was the Eagles' top draft pick in April, has made an early impression on teammates and coaches with the way he's performed in practices. But he was razzed while singing in front of his teammates during a meeting earlier this week.
"Terrible," Goedert said. "Don't quit my day job."
Thanks to his hands, Goedert is proving to be adept at his day job. The 6-foot-5, 256-pound South Dakota State product will be a part of the offense this season, and the Eagles spent the first week of camp learning ways to use him.
"He looks good out here," quarterback Carson Wentz said Wednesday. "Catches almost everything, finds a way to pull things in. Still got work to do, like a lot of these guys, but I like how he's progressed – really mentally as well."
Goedert has spent time on the receiving end of Wentz passes during the last week, especially with the second-team offense. Wentz said that was partly the function of the play calls, but also because of Goedert's ability. Goedert said it's important to develop the rapport with Wentz now, so the quarterback knows to look his way once Wentz is cleared.
And when Wentz is on the field with the starters, Goedert will get some work, too. The Eagles have used Goedert in two-tight-end formations with Zach Ertz. It creates an imposing challenge for defenses in the middle of the field, covering Goedert and the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ertz.
Coach Doug Pederson said that package is "going to be exciting." It can especially be a threat in the red zone, which was an emphasis in Wednesday's practice. Ertz said teams must decide whether to play a base or nickel defense against them – meaning an extra linebacker in base or an extra defensive back in the nickel.
>> READ MORE: Wednesday's practice observations
The Eagles have used two-tight-end sets, but Brent Celek was mostly a blocking tight end in recent years. Trey Burton (6-3, 235) was more of a receiving threat, although he has a different build and style than Goedert. The rookie has watched some of last year's film, but Pederson has altered some of the offense for Goedert.
"I think we have to adjust to what Dallas can do," Pederson said. "Trey is a very good runner. He's a smooth runner. Dallas is a bigger, physical guy. He's a little more of an in-line tight end, but he's also very good in space, so we have to take his strengths. A lot of what Trey did for us, Dallas can obviously do. But we've got to make sure that Dallas is comfortable in his role."
When Ertz was on the field with Burton, Ertz usually kept his hand in the ground and Burton moved around to the slot. With Goedert, "you can kind of vary it up a little bit," Ertz said.
The Eagles also have Richard Rodgers, a veteran tight end who is 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds. The revamped tight-end group, which had the same three players for the last three seasons, will give the offense a different dimension.
"We're a lot bigger than we were last year," Ertz said. "When you put the three of us on the field, it's three big tight ends, three physical guys, three guys that can play at the point of attack, three guys that can make plays on the ball."
For Goedert, the biggest adjustment is the speed of the game, but that hasn't appeared to be much of an issue during practices. Goedert was known as more of a receiver than a blocker when the Eagles drafted him, so his blocking must develop.
"There's always going to be things you improve on," Goedert said. "You're blocking some pretty good D-ends on this team."
His growing role hasn't kept teammates from holding him to his rookie responsibilities, including bringing Rita's water ice after practice and singing in team meetings. Goedert chose "Sweet Child O Mine" by Guns N' Roses because of a scene in Step Brothers, thinking it would be easy to sing. He was wrong. But the veterans had sympathy for the top draft pick, who's better in the end zone than on stage.
"I think I was so bad that people looked the other way," Goedert said. "I think they know I know I can't sing."