PHILADELPHIA – There’s been a lot of talk about Dallas Goedert stepping up after the Eagles traded Zach Ertz on Friday.
Before Goedert can step up, however, he must first step off the Reserve/COVID list.
It could all be a foregone conclusion by Thursday, but on Wednesday, the tight end still wasn’t practicing, more than a week after being put on the virus list.
There’s no reason to suspect that Goedert won’t be able to pass two COVID-19 tests within a 24-hour period between now and the time the Eagles kickoff against the Raiders on Sunday (4:05 p.m. EST/FOX).
The Eagles seemed to cover the bases just in case when they added veteran Richard Rodgers to the practice squad on Wednesday. Rodgers was with the Eagles in training camp but was waived. He is the second tight end the Eagles are carrying on the practice squad along with Noah Togiai.
There’s another tight end in play now, also, after the Eagles activated Tyree Jackson into the 21-day practice window. Safety K’Von Wallace was also given that designation as well.
The Eagles have three weeks to activate them or put them back on Injured Reserve, which would end their seasons. It won’t happen in either player’s case. It’s only a matter of time before they return.
Jackson was spotted on the practice fields last week, but he was usually off by himself working with a trainer. Not on Wednesday, when Jackson was actively participating in individual drills.
It’s no secret that as soon as he is ready to return from rehabbing a fracture in his back suffered in mid-August during training camp, he will be on the field, perhaps even the No. 2 tight end behind Goedert and ahead of Jack Stoll.
GM Howie Roseman said that the Eagles want to see if Jackson can take the positive impressions he made on the field this past summer into actual games.
"If he's going to look like he did during training camp, like, that's going to be a player for us,” Roseman said on Friday shortly after they dealt Ertz. “But he's got to show it in games. This is an opportunity for him to come back and for us to see that. We don't think that's just a shot in the dark. We think this guy's got some traits."
Jackson’s chance to show those traits could come on Sunday.
The Raiders won their first game under interim coach Rich Bisaccia, but cornerback Darius Slay, for one, did not see much difference in the Raiders’ offense than what they showed in their first five games with Jon Gruden as the head coach.
Gruden resigned last week over the discovery of controversial emails. Las Vegas rolled the Denver Broncos, anyway, 34-24, but led 31-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
“They’re part of the coaching staff, they all coached together so they won’t change too much,” said Slay. “One thing I can commend them for is going out there and playing like that after that sort of tragic situation. Man, that’s tough (but) to have a team out there that’s mentally tough to go out there and play that hard and come out with a dub, that tells a lot about a team.”
The Raiders have two receivers averaging more than 20 yards per catch – Henry Ruggs at 22.3 leads the league and Bryan Edwards is third at 20.2.
Eagles WR Quez Watkins is fifth at 19.4. Third is Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase (20.5), fourth is Deonte Harris (19.7), of the Saints.
Rookie DeVonta Smith, meanwhile, has a team-high 345 yards receiving, the most after six games since DeSean Jackson had 433 in 2008. That was Jackson’s rookie year when he finished with 912 yards, which is the team’s rookie record.
Smith should be able to break that with an extra game this year, and he should also threaten to become the Eagles’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Jeremy Maclin in 2014.
While Lane Johnson returned to practice on Wednesday, it was the first practice without Ertz, who is expected to suit up for the first time his new team, the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, will host the Houston Texans.
Players responded to the trade.
Jalen Hurts: “Zach Ertz has been a very special player for the city. Obviously a multiple-time Pro Bowler and winning the Super Bowl here. So, I have so much respect for him. And I wish him the best in the future. He didn’t go out on the right note obviously but he got a TD and made some plays.”
Jordan Mailata: “I was gutted. This is the nature of the business. You kind of get used to it, but you don’t get used to it. I’ve seen a lot of guys come and go. It breaks my heart every time somebody leaves. For Zach, it broke my heart. I got to see him right before he spoke to the media. I was glad I saw him on Friday before he headed out.”
Fletcher Cox: “It sucks. But you have to know this is a business. Obviously, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Zach wanted but at the same time, I’m sure he’s happy. I talked to him, Face Timed him, he’s smiling and that’s all you can ask for a guy.
"He’ll be missed. He did a lot for this organization, for this city. He was my teammate since he got here nine years ago. I’m really happy for him. It’ll be frustrating seeing him in a different color jersey, but I’m happy for him.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Sleeping, Netflix, eating bad, just chilling…I watched the Dallas game which was pretty good and watched the Sunday night game with Pittsburgh, that was real good.” – Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave when asked how he spent his weekend off.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.