In the splendor of Monday night's 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Goedert demonstrated – perhaps under the radar just a little bit – the value of having a tight end who can do it all. Like, literally, do it all.
"I pride myself," Goedert said after the game in the locker room at Lincoln Financial Field, "in knowing that the coaches trust me no matter what the assignment is. We're here to win football games, so whatever they want me to do, I'm all for it."
The coaches wanted Goedert to do a lot on Monday, as usual, so it's important to take a deeper dive into the specifics. It wasn't just about receiving for Goedert, although he did have a game-high 82 bruising yards on five receptions (he was targeted six times). Goedert truly did do it all.
In the world of high-wire tight ends – because, let's be real, the position has become glamorized through the years as tight ends are more often than not referred to as "wide receivers in tight end bodies" – Goedert has worked extremely hard on his blocking game, both from an in-line perspective against pass-rushing and edge-setting defensive ends and in the open field against smaller defensive players. All of that hard work has paid off and it was on display on Monday night.
The Eagles knew that Minnesota's defense featured Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith off the edge in the pass-rushing game and Goedert had some responsibility in that area of the offense to keep quarterback Jalen Hurts clean.
"Hunter is tough, very tough, and he got me a couple of times. I'll look at the film and see how I did, but it was a battle in there and I think at the end of the day all that matters is that we came out on top," Goedert said. "It's never going to be perfect, but I felt I did OK in there."
Goedert's most noticeable success in the blocking game came in the second quarter when Hurts rolled right from the Minnesota 26-yard line and turned up the field along the sideline. Goedert, a passing target on the play, saw that once Hurts broke the pocket he was going to run the ball. Goedert carried safety Harrison Smith down the field and eventually ran him out of the play at about the 3-yard line, and then Hurts broke tackles from the 7-yard line on in and eventually bulled into the end zone for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead.
"Great play by Jalen," Goedert said. "I just turned into a blocker there and got in his (Smith) way and Jalen did the rest. That was just recognizing that he was going to run the ball and I did my job as a blocker."
Eagles ball, own 47-yard line. Goedert is lined up to the left side of the formation, the inside man of the three along with tight end Jack Stoll, to his left, and wide receiver Quez Watkins, on the outside. Stoll runs the short route, cutting to the sideline. Goedert runs about 12 yards and then carries two defenders on the out route to the sideline. The job both Stoll, running the short route, and Goedert, running the intermediate route, do creates wide-open space for Watkins, who streaks down the field all alone and catches the perfectly thrown ball from Hurts in stride for a touchdown that put the Eagles ahead 14-0.
"The ball isn't always going to go your way, and sometimes it's just as important to clear things out for another receiver to make a play," Goedert said. "I get just as much satisfaction when that happens as when I'm on the receiving end. It worked perfectly for us on that play and it turned out that we put six points on the board. That's what it's all about."
Of course, the Eagles love Goedert because he's a premier playmaker in the passing game and on Monday night he was too much for Minnesota to handle. Goedert caught passes on the edges – he came back and caught an 18-yard pass from Hurts as No. 1 rolled right on the second play of the game and then came back later on the drive and had a 10-yard catch when he ran a route into the right flat, made the catch, and then gained 9 yards after the catch to give the offense a first-and-goal at the Minnesota 3-yard line.
Late in the first half, Goedert caught a pass in the left flat and turned upfield with speed to gain 19 yards, and then came back on the very next snap to grab a Hurts pass down the middle of the field – Goedert lined up on the left side of the formation and caught the ball in traffic – for 24 yards to set up Jake Elliott for an end-of-the-first half field goal and a 24-7 lead heading into halftime.
Goedert caught his fifth pass of the night on the Eagles' first second-half possession, grabbing a Hurts throw on the left side and gaining 8 yards. The offense didn't score in the second half of the game and that's something that Goedert acknowledged in the locker room afterward.
"It feels great to win and we know that's the bottom line," he said, "but we need to stay productive for 60 minutes. That's the goal. We know we have a lot to work on. For me, it's not about how many passes I catch. Of course everybody wants the football. I'm not going to sit here and tell you otherwise. I feel I can be an asset to this offense, but when you look around the huddle, there are a lot of guys we have here who are playmakers. They want the ball, too.
"As long as we're winning, everybody is happy."
The Eagles are winning and everybody is happy, for sure. Goedert, who has the complete game, showed just how much he can do to help the Eagles in ways that we can all see, and in ways that aren't quite as visible.