PHILADELPHIA - Less than two weeks after signing Dallas Goedert to a monster contract extension, the Eagles failed to get their star tight end involved in the offense during a disappointing 13-7 loss to the New York Giants.
Goedert was targeted just three times and had one reception with no yards as New York defensive coordinator Patrick Graham devised a plan that has Goedert bracketed in high-leverage situations.
“When you put the ball in the air you definitely always want it to start with 88 [Goedert] and 6 [DeVonta Smith],” Eagles head coach and play-caller Nick Sirianni told SI.com’s EagleMaven on Monday. “That's definitely been our priority.
“... that doesn't always mean it's going to happen that way. You can't just tell the quarterback to force-feed it there no matter what.”
Giants defensive back Julian Love admitted that the Giants wanted Jalen Hurts to beat them by throwing the ball but the second part of that plan was that Graham didn’t want the traffic directed at Goedert and Smith.
“Obviously, I would like to get 10 targets per game, just like any other tight end in the league,” Goedert admitted on Wednesday before explaining there are other ways to help your team. “I think I make a big impact in the game in more ways than just catching the ball.
“I think we ran for 200-plus [yards]. And if we’re doing that, we should be winning a lot of games. But I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win. My number wasn’t called in the passing game as much, so I did what I could in the run game.”
Goedert also noted that the attention he’s been getting in the passing game is being ramped up.
“Depending on the play, sometimes depending on the defense that you’re going against. If it’s Cover-4 and you’re going across the field, a lot of the way the defense plays it, they put that other safety looking up No. 3 and that’s where I’m at,” Goedert said. “ Sometimes it’s just a formation.
“There’s been a little bit more and more [attention]. The more that both DeVonta and I catch the ball, the more defenses are going to take it away. So you see it a little bit more. But you have to keep going and figure out how to beat the one you have to beat to get open.”
Goedert reiterated that sentiment when asked about adjustments moving forward which have to include others stepping up.
“For me, all I can do is attack one of the players and beat him, and get open,” the TE said. “Ultimately, shoot, if they’re trying that hard to take people away, you’re going to have to go with other people and get other people involved. And other people are going to have to step up and make plays, so teams can’t do that.”
Against the Giants, Jalen Reagor wasn’t able to do that.
If the Eagles hope to make the postseason that will have to change.
“What you do as coaches is you look at the coverages, you look at the defenses that the team is playing, and try to devise a plan to make sure the first and second reads are going there based off the coverages they're playing,” Sirianni said. “... That doesn't mean everything doesn't run through 6 and 88, but you still want to get 18 [Reagor] some touches here and there and 16 [WR Quez Watkins] some touches here and there and 14 [RB Kenneth Gainwell] some touches here and there."
The goal is balance.
“Again, you want to be a balanced offense," the coach said. "But everything we do starts with [Goedert and Smith]. I'll take responsibility for them not getting the touches that they needed [against the Giants] because that's my job to see everything and adjust as the team is playing us.”
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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.