Why replacing Goedert isn't just about backup tight ends


The Eagles on Wednesday put star tight end Dallas Goedert on Injured Reserve, meaning he’ll miss at least the next four games.

But the season goes on.

“How do we replace him? You can't, right?” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “You have to do it by committee.”

While the Eagles have faith in their backup tight ends, starting with Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra, it’s not like either of them is immediately going to become a focal point of the Eagles’ passing attack the way Goedert was. Through nine games, Goedert already had 43 catches on 53 targets for 544 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was legitimately one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

So where do the Eagles go from here?

Well, Sirianni has never been shy about saying the Eagles’ passing offense runs through three players: Goedert, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Now that one of them is out for a while, it stands to reason that the onus will be on the other two.

That doesn’t bother Brown a bit.

“I’ll never complain about what’s on my plate,” Brown said. “That’s what I want. I want them to put more load on me.”

Goedert averaged 5.89 targets per game over the first nine games of the season, so expect those ~6 targets to be split among other players. We’ll see some targets for the backup tight ends and the other receivers like Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal. We might even see some more passes to running backs, something the Eagles haven’t done a ton of this season.

But it’ll clearly start with Brown and Smith.

“You just have to balance it out and try to make — you're not the going to be able to duplicate everything he does because he has a unique skillset,” Sirianni said. “You try to figure out who can do what he does, and can they do it, and then you put that stuff in your offense.”

Here’s a look at how Eagles targets-per-game have shaken out through nine weeks:

Brown: 8.1
Smith: 6.8
Goedert: 5.9
Watkins: 1.9
Sanders: 1.6
Gainwell 1.6
Pascall: 1.3
Stoll: 0.8

In the loss to Washington on Monday night, Brown and Smith were relatively quiet as they played through injuries suffered early in the game. Brown finished with 1 catch for 7 yards on 4 targets, while Smith had 6 catches on 8 targets for 39 yards and a touchdown.

Brown on Wednesday had his ankle taped but said he felt fine and expects to be ready to play against the Colts on Sunday. After spending the first three seasons of his career in the AFC South, Brown knows the Colts pretty well.

In fact, the last time Brown played the Colts was in a 34-31 Titans win in Week 8 last season. He had 10 catches on 11 targets for 155 yards and a touchdown. That 155-yard game was a career high from his time with the Titans. He broke that personal record agains the Steelers a few weeks ago.

And now without Goedert for at least a month, the Eagles could use more performances like that from Brown down the stretch.

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