Whether it’s recognition as one of the top tight ends in the NFL or turning an NFC championship into a Lombardi Trophy, Goedert’s presence on one of the league’s most explosive offenses isn’t overlooked at the NovaCare Complex.
Perhaps it is a bit league-wide, however, because most observers who don’t have boots on the ground default to numbers, and Goedert’s 2022-23 statistics were accompanied by a whole lot of context, starting with injury, the need to co-exist with star receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, as well as the effectiveness of the team’s running game in the red zone.
On a typical NFL team, the 6-foot-5 Goedert, 28, would be a menace near the end zone. In Philadelphia, the Jalen Hurts-fueled running game produced 32 touchdowns last season, easily outpacing the previous franchise record of 26 set generations ago in 1945 when running the football was king. In 2021, Hurts’ first season as a starter, the number was 25 so the Eagles’ success in this area of the game is an outlier in a passing league as a whole but not for this team due to perhaps the top offensive line in the game and the QB who manipulates spacing so well.
“The biggest thing I could say is we just have a tremendous O-line, so we get inside the 5-yard line and we’ve been able to run it in real well,” Goedert said following an oppressive Friday training camp practice at the NovaCare Complex. “If that ever stops, maybe we could go to me [in the red zone].”
Understand Goedert was not lobbying. He was asked the question about taking the next step statistically after a 55-reception, 702-yard season with three TDs that was shortened by five games missed due to a broken glenoid bone in his shoulder. Goedert also recovered to lead the team in postseason receptions with 16.
“It really doesn’t matter who scores,” he said. “If we can keep running the ball in, I’m happy with that all day long, so hopefully that happens. If not, I’m going to keep working on my craft so when my opportunities come, I can make more plays on them.”
Goedert is generally considered at the top of Tier 2 among NFL tight ends with Minnesota’s T.J. Hockenson behind the big three of Travis Kelce of Kansas City, San Francisco’s George Kittle, and Baltimore’s Mark Andrews.
As an old-school, two-way TE who can do it at a high level as both a receiver and blocker, Goedert is matched by only Kittle, however.
A six-year veteran who grew up in the NFL in the shadow of Zach Ertz, Goedert has also developed into a team leader who covets the opportunity to help his peers in the TE room, holdovers Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra, and Tyree Jackson, as well as underrated veteran addition Dan Arnold and undrafted free agent Brady Russell.
“I tell them every day, you have to take advantage of your plays, don’t get upset, put good things on tape, put wins on tape,” Goedert said. “That’s what I always say, and the coaches will see it.”
Jackson, who has struggled with injuries in the transition from college QB to NFL TE, showed off his tremendous athleticism earlier on Wednesday’s heavy red-zone practice session.
“They’re doing a tremendous job, all five of them in there, they‘re working really hard, learning the playbook, they’re putting good things on film, so it’s really easy for me coming to them. I try to give them as many little coaching points as I can,” Goedert said. “The first two practices I think all five of them had tremendous practices.”
Helping others is also valuable to Goedert and making sure his game stays as sharp as possible.
“I watch their clips and tell them what I see, I tell them what I’m thinking when I’m running that play,” he said. “The better they can be, the better they’ll push me to be better. It’s always keeping football in my mind thinking about what I would do in their position during their plays. I feel like I’m leading them and helping them is also helping myself, so it works hand in hand.”