When Dallas Goedert got hurt against the Commanders back on Nov. 14 it was fair to wonder how the Eagles would survive without him.
They’ve done more than survive.
Over the last month, while Goedert has been on Injured Reserve, the Eagles went 4-0 and have had the best offense in the NFL, averaging 426 yards per game.
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Now they’re going to add Goedert back to the mix. That’s scary.
“You can't wait until you get back him because … he makes a ton of plays,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “He's a great tight end, one of the best tight ends in the NFL.”
The Eagles activated Goedert’s practice window on Wednesday and while he wouldn’t definitively say he’ll be good to go on Sunday in Chicago, things are certainly trending in that direction.
Goedert had a fracture in the glenoid bone in his shoulder and as long as that’s healed completely he’ll be able to play. His plan has always been to return for the Bears game and nothing in his recovery changed that hope.
“That’s still up in the air but things are trending in the right direction,” Goedert said on Wednesday before walkthrough. “Gotta go out and practice and see what it feels like at full speed blocking bigger people than just the trainers. If I was playing [the trainers], I could play for sure. But some of these guys are a little bit bigger, a little more force coming at you.”
In a strange way, losing Goedert for a month could in some ways be a long-term positive. Because Goedert is so good, he’s almost like a cheat code at times. He fixes a lot of problems whenever the offense sputters or needs a big play.
But in the last month without Goedert, the Eagles have needed to rely on some other players and some other personnel packages. We’ve seen a lot more of Quez Watkins and 11 personnel, we’ve seen some 10 personnel with four wideouts and even some 21 personnel with two running backs on the field.
The Eagles’ offense was already extremely dangerous with Goedert. Now it’s still going to be extremely dangerous with him again, but it has also grown in his absence.
“The thing that you learn is just that you have a lot of capable guys,” Sirianni said. “It reconfirms to you that you have a lot of capable guys on this offense.”
While it was a bummer for Goedert to get hurt in the middle of his best NFL season, he said once he found out the injury wasn’t season-ending, his mentality flipped. He made sure to help his teammates as much as he could and began to focus on his recovery and preparation as much as he could.
He even enjoyed watching his teammates win all four games without him.
“It’s just been a lot of fun,” Goedert said. “Obviously, A.J. (Brown) and DeVonta (Smith’s) roles increased. Quez (Watkins) and [Zach Pascal], their roles increased. And they finally let the tight ends get a couple catches this last week.
“It’s just been a lot of fun to watch them go out there and nobody has really missed a beat. It’s good for everybody to get reps at different positions and just hope that when I come back I can help in any way.”
Obviously, Goedert will help a ton. Even after missing four full games, Goedert is sixth in the NFL in receiving among tight ends.
Travis Kelce: 1,039 (13 games)
T.J. Hockenson: 697 (13 games)
Mark Andrews: 671 (12 games)
Pat Freiermuth: 630 (12 games)
Evan Engram: 548 (13 games)
Dallas Goedert: 544 (9 games)
Goedert’s average yards per game of 60.4 is second among NFL tight ends behind just Kelce. Even after missing all these games, Goedert still has a strong Pro Bowl resume.
The thought of adding him to an offense that has really been humming the last few weeks is incredibly intriguing for the Eagles and probably pretty scary for their upcoming opponents.
Here’s a look at where the Eagles have ranked league-wide in major offensive categories in the four games without Goedert:
Rushing yards: 1st
Passing yards: 14th
And, remember, the Eagles weren’t very good in their first game without Goedert. They beat the Colts but the offense looked really disjointed in that game. The Eagles scored just 17 points and had just 314 yards in that one. That means that the last three games, they’ve clearly had the best offense in the NFL, putting up 500, 435 and 437 yards and 40, 35 and 48 points.
Now they get to add one of their most dynamic playmakers back into the mix.
“It feels good (to be back),” Goedert said. “Obviously, missing games is never fun but glad with the success the team has had. But just being able to out there and practice and start getting back into the swing of things is exciting and obviously in the right direction.”
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