Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas Goedert is going to be Jalen Hurts’ best friend

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

*controversial take alert* the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line is, like really good.

I know, I know, call me crazy, but allow me to explain: Jeff Stoutland has built a blocking factory that can cycle in and out bodies without skipping a beat, and running backs of all different shapes, sizes, and draft statuses have reaped the benefits of it.

But what if I were to tell you that Stoutland’s magic extends outside of the offensive line? What if I were to tell you that analytically speaking, the Eagles’ best blocker was actually Dallas Goedert?

Well, guess what? It’s true, as our pal Honest NFL pointed out on his fantastic Twitter account via SIS Database.

Needless to say, while A.J. Brown may be one of Jalen Hurts‘ best friends off the field when he throws on a Philadelphia Eagles uniform and exits the tunnel, his best friend on it is going to be Dallas Goedert.

The Philadelphia Eagles will benefit from Dallas Goedert’s versatility in 2022.

Whether you think he’s the most underrated performer in the NFL or believe the hype that the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t sold on his long-term status as a franchise quarterback, the presence of Jalen Hurts changes the way a team runs their offense.

Sure, a headstrong coach could hold strong to the rigidity of their beliefs, maintain schematic purity, and force Hurts to run their offense as it’s called, but as Nick Sirianni learned first-hand, the best way to succeed with such a unique quarterback under center is to build out the scheme around his unique talents and highlight the asset his legs can be to both the passing and running game.

In 2021, that strategy ultimately worked; Hurts finished out the 2021 NFL season with the most rushing yards of any quarterback in the league, and that, when coupled with his average passing statistics, elevated the Eagles into a playoff team when few expected them to reach that level.

So, if the Birds want to roll with Hurts as their offensive focal point, which they clearly are in 2022, the easiest way to get it done is to build out an offensive play-calling sheet with plenty of escape routes on every single play in case the soon-to-be third-year quarterback wants to check things down Garden Minshew-style instead of taking some physical punishment as a runner.

Makes sense, right? I mean, Howie Roseman has made it a point to add complementary performers who fit Hurts’ style like Kenneth Gainwell, Grant Calcaterra, Zach Pascal, and yes, A.J. Brown, and all four should be fixtures of the Eagles’ offense as a result. But in the end, the most important pass-catcher on the Birds’ offense isn’t Brown, Pascal, or even DeVonta Smith, but instead Dallas Goedert, who can run any route, block in line, and, most importantly of all, block downfield for Hurts when he opts to keep it.

That strategy worked well in 2021, as Goedert was the Eagles’ second-most targeted receiver on the team (76) despite only appearing in 15 games with 14 starts, and his yards per game actually squeaked out Smith for the best mark on the team, 55.3 versus 53.9. While Goedert did make plays down the field and was truly a three-level performer, his ability to make plays within five yards of the line of scrimmage is a big reason why Goedert had the second-most first downs and the most yards after the catch of any player on the team.

Factor in nine broken tackles, and Goedert’s ability to turn nothing into something like the human personification of Hellman’s Mayonaise makes him the ideal bailout target for Hurts, who is just as willing to lead block like an open-field fullback or be the roller in a Tyrese Maxey/P.J. Tucker-style pick-and-roll.

Next. What to make of all the recent Jalen Hurts talk. dark

Can an offense with a running quarterback succeed without an elite blocking right end? Sure, Arizona doesn’t have a premier blocking tight end – no offense, Zach Ertz – and Kliff Kingsbury has compensated for that with his Air Raid offensive concepts, but in Baltimore, the Ravens have prioritized giving Lamar Jackson all-around tight ends like Mark Andrews, and the results have been incredibly effective, to say the least. No offense to our fine pals in Baltimore, but Dallas Goedert is just as good as any tight end the Ravens have employed, and it’s time for him to show it as the primary offensive partner in crime for Jalen Hurts this fall both as a receiver and as a receiver. Hey, what are friends for?