Eagles Expected to Make Major Shakeup in Tight Ends Room

Richard Rodgers

Getty The Eagles are expected to activate veteran Richard Rodgers to the 53-man roster for the playoffs.

Dallas Goedert has blossomed as the starter ever since taking over for Zach Ertz. The fourth-year tight end talked honestly about wanting to be number one on the Philadelphia Eagles’ depth chart prior to the trade and showed it. He’s creeping up on a 1,000-yard season: 830 yards on 56 receptions with four touchdowns.

More importantly, Goedert has stayed healthy which had been a major concern when he inked an insane $57 million contract. It’s worked out amazingly well. He has missed only two games in 2021 (COVID-19, concussion) excluding a healthy scratch in Week 18. However, the Eagles are dealing with a new problem behind Goedert after Tyree Jackson’s ACL tear forced him on injured reserve.

The Eagles have rookie Jack Stoll installed as the backup tight end, with plans to elevate veteran Richard Rodgers from the practice squad. Noah Togiai remains in the mix after seeing 24 snaps last week against Dallas.

“As far as the plan for the tight ends, I think Richard Rodgers has done a good job every time he’s got an opportunity to play. He brings good veteran leadership,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “He brings great ability to block, not only in the first level, but at the second level as well, and so he’ll be the one that’s elevated up and ready to go.”

Rodgers made two catches for 11 yards last week against Dallas while seeing 51% of the offensive snaps. Everyone knows his history with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. He’s a true professional, with great hands, in his seventh NFL season. And Noah Togiai remains in the mix after seeing 24 snaps in Week 18.

“We also have confidence in Noah as well,” Sirianni said. “Right now, it’s looking like Rich, but we have confidence in Noah as well.”

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Running Backs Room Getting Healthier

The running backs room has been hit hard by injuries all year, including six missed games for Miles Sanders due to a variety of ailments. Injuries have kind of been the story of his young career. The Eagles have also been down Jordan Howard (neck stinger) and Boston Scott (COVID-19) in recent weeks. But one man’s absence has been another man’s gain and rookie Kenny Gainwell has taken full advantage. He had 12 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown in Week 18.

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“We’ve got a great group of backs that we trust in all those guys,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “And every time these guys have a chance to step up and play ball, like Kenny got a whole bunch of reps, he took advantage of his opportunity. He’s continuing to grow as a young player, learning from the veteran guys and we love where our backfield is right now.”

Training camp hero Jason Huntley has been another bright spot as an explosive runner and special-teams weapon. He rushed 13 times for 51 yards while returning three kicks for 84 yards last week. Will he be activated in the playoffs? That remains to be seen.

“You saw how explosive of a player he is,” Sirianni said. “Unfortunately, for him, he’s in a very crowded room with a lot of good players that have had a lot of good reps and we have great depth there.”

Eagles Protect Four Practice-Squad Players

The Eagles protected four players on the practice squad earlier this week. They also released running back Kerryon Johnson from the practice squad and elevated Jason Huntley to the active roster. Sirianni continues to weigh his options on what to do at tight end 72 hours prior to kickoff. The Eagles play the Tampa Buccaneers in the wild-card round on January 16 at 1 p.m.

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