The Colts didn’t seem too interested in defending Eagles tight ends Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra when Jalen Hurts dropped back to pass during Philly’s come-from-behind 17-16 win on Sunday.
Indy may not have even known Tyree Jackson was back on the roster for the first time since last January. If they knew, they probably showed him the same disdain for covering him as they did Stoll and Calcaterra.
Without Dallas Goedert to worry about, especially in the middle of the field or in the screen game, the Colts chose to better utilize their resources in trying to take away A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.
The WR duo put up decent numbers, with Smith having six catches for 78 yards and Brown posting 5-for-60, but they may have been the quietest yardage totals of the season for both of them.
Expect Green Bay to show a similar lack of respect for the Eagles’ backup tight ends when they visit Lincoln Financial Field in a primetime game on Sunday night.
The Packers have two former Eagles in their secondary in CB Rasul Douglas and safety Rudy Ford, who picked off two Dak Prescott passes in beating the Cowboys two weeks ago.
Perhaps the Eagles throw the Packers a curveball and try to get Stoll and Clacaterra a bit more involved in the passing game, provided they can get open and Hurts trusts them enough to lob the ball in their direction, if for no other reason than to show that they can’t be forgotten.
They need to do something to try to open the middle of the field up for Hurts.
Against the Colts, Stoll was targeted once, and he made that catch for seven yards. Calcaterra had nothing come his way nor did Jackson.
If the Eagles aren’t going to try to get them the ball, why bother covering them?
There have been some suggestions that reached my ears as to using the running backs more in the passing game.
Once upon a time, Miles Sanders had 50 catches. That was his rookie season three years ago. He hasn't been the same since.
Between Sanders, Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott, the three of them have yet to top 100 yards receiving combined.
Gainwell has nine catches for 50 yards, Sanders 12 for 43, and Boston Scott three for six.
This will be the Eagles’ second game without Goedert. He’s out until at least Dec. 18 when the Eagles visit Chicago to play the Bears.
Until then, they have to continue to evolve without a player who was on his way to his first 1,000-yard season and had two touchdowns in back-to-back games before his injury.
“Anytime you lose a player like that, it's not going to be as easy as you think,” said offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on Tuesday. “You've got to adjust things as you go throughout the week, but everyone has got to step up. … Every group, when you lose a really good player, everyone around you has got to step up.”
The coaches do, too.
The game plan against the Colts wasn’t good enough offensively.
If not for a terrific game from the defense, the Eagles wouldn’t have been in a position to squeeze out a win with 14 fourth-quarter points.
Nick Sirianni said it would take a committee to replace Goedert when the tight end got hurt.
Maybe game two will bring a better understanding of what that committee will look like, otherwise, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers probably won’t be as kind as Matt Ryan and the Colts in letting the Eagles hang around until they figure it out.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.