In the span of eight games and with an abundance of injuries to contend with, the Eagles have pushed the envelope with the roster – they’ve made two dozen roster moves to alter both the practice squad and the active roster – and here they are at 4-4. If the Eagles are to make a second-half run in the NFC East, they’re going to need everyone to contribute. And while we know how much of the burden falls on the shoulders of quarterback Carson Wentz and the headliners here, well, the supporting cast has to make its case, too.
In other words, there are going to be some players who step up and emerge in the second half of the season. Here are some of the breakout candidates in the final eight games.
Dallas Goedert, TE
In eight games Dallas Goedert has 18 catches and three touchdowns and that production should only increase in the second half of the season. Goedert has gained the trust of the coaching staff and Wentz, and he’s going to be a factor down the stretch. It’s all fun right now with the media as Goedert plays Dallas, and he’s going to hear “Dallas sucks” chants at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night for the first time.
“As long as they’re not saying that if I drop a pass, I’m OK with that,” Goedert said in the locker room on Wednesday.
Goedert has made a lot of strides as a rookie. He’s big, he runs well, he’s sharpened up his routes, and he catches the football consistently. As the Eagles build out the offense, Goedert is going to be part of the mix.
Isaac Seumalo, LG
Entrenched as the starter at left guard, Isaac Seumalo is playing good football and figures to keep moving in the right direction. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland spoke highly of Seumalo this week, saying that the third-year Eagle has “improved every week. I’m very pleased with where Isaac is and how he’s playing.” In a pinch, Seumalo has moved out to right tackle and given the Eagles good snaps there. His versatility is important, but more important is his size, strength, and athletic ability along the interior of the line. The Eagles never gave up on Seumalo during his struggles a year ago and that patience appears to be paying off.
Tim Jernigan, DT
The three-week evaluation window for Tim Jernigan has started and while he has a long road to travel to get back in the lineup, progress is being made. Jernigan would be a terrific boost inside for the defense with his power and quickness. When is a reasonable time to think that Jernigan can contribute? The end of November and into December is fair. The Eagles have made due up front defensively, moving some pieces around. Jernigan, if all the way healthy, would add energy to the group.
Golden Tate, WR
Pretty obvious, huh? The newly acquired Eagle is working hard to acclimate himself into the offense, which requires him to learn a new language as well as the nuances of this scheme, and at the same time get on the same page with Wentz as far as timing and chemistry is concerned. The Eagles are going to be creative when it comes to working Tate into the offense. They want to take advantage of his extraordinary talents with the ball in his hands. He’ll play on Sunday night and he’ll be a focal point. This is going to be fun.
Rasul Douglas, CB
Rasul Douglas has done a good job in limited playing time this season. Now, with Jalen Mills (foot) a question mark for Sunday night, Douglas could be thrust into a starter’s role. The secondary, still hurting with Mills and Sidney Jones (hamstring) perhaps still some time away from returning to the field, will again have its depth tested with Douglas and newcomer Cre’Von LeBlanc (could he play nickel on Sunday night?) assuming roles. If that’s the case, this is the opportunity that Douglas has been waiting for. Douglas played 42 snaps against both the Giants and the Jaguars and he played well. In the other six games, Douglas played a total of nine snaps. He’s in line for a more active second half of the season.
Richard Rodgers, TE
The veteran tight end continues to rehab after suffering a knee injury in the preseason. He’s certainly a candidate to return to the active roster from Injured Reserve (as are wide receivers Mack Hollins and Mike Wallace) and if Richard Rodgers can come back, he can help the Eagles with his blocking at the line of scrimmage and his sneaky-good receiving skills. He would be a big body and a target in the red zone. When can he return? Rodgers is eligible now. It’s just a matter of being healthy.
Josh Adams, RB
In the world of running back-by-committee, Josh Adams has emerged for the Eagles. He moved from the practice squad to the active roster on September 18 and in limited time Adams has gained 107 yards on 20 carries, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Not bad at all. At 6-2, 225 pounds, Adams has size and he’s got some power up the field. Adams isn’t likely to be a 20-carry-a-game player, but if he demonstrates that he can be relied on in pass protection and securing the football, Adams is going to get some significant touches and playing time. He certainly has a lot of talent.