Zach Ertz will be the starting tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles again. Well, at least for their Week 6 matchup. The three-time Pro Bowler jumps back in after Dallas Goedert wasn’t cleared from COVID-19 protocols.
Goedert tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, October 12 despite being fully vaccinated. He needed to produce two negative test results 24 hours apart. And didn’t. The fourth-year player is the team’s third-leading receiver this season with 15 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns. There’s no update on when Goedert will be back in the lineup.
The Eagles also elevated two guys from the practice squad prior to kickoff. Swing tackle Le’Raven Clark and tight end Noah Togiai joined the 53-man roster and will suit up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. Clark provides depth behind left tackle Andre Dillard and right tackle Jordan Mailata, while Togiai gives them an extra body at tight end. Jack Stoll – an undrafted rookie out of Nebraska – will serve as the primary backup there.
Head coach Nick Sirianni hinted at Ertz and Stoll being the main tight ends during his media availability on Wednesday, October 13. Sure, Goedert’s presence will be missed but there is no worry about a fall-off in production at the position.
“Zach’s ready to go. We know we have two really good tight ends. And Zach will be ready to go. And Jack Stoll, we’ll look forward to having [TE] Jack Stoll being able to play, as well,” Sirianni said. “And so, yeah, we’re excited about the opportunities for guys if Dallas can’t go. And then Derek, yeah, we expect Derek to be up and ready to roll.”The latest Eagles news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Eagles newsletter here!
Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan Honored at Halftime
Both will be honored on Thursday, October 14 at halftime of the Buccaneers-Eagles game. Thomas is the greatest left tackle in franchise history – well, at least until Jason Peters retires – and Runyan is arguably the team’s best right tackle. (Editor’s note: Al Wistert played multiple positions).
It was only a matter of time before Thomas and Runyan got in and it happens in a prime-time matchup on national television. As it should, to be honest.
Runyan only qualified for one Pro Bowl (2003) but go ask Michael Strahan has dominant he was for 14 NFL seasons, including 144 starts. Ditto for Thomas who made three Pro Bowls (2001, 2002, 2004) while starting 165 career games in midnight green.
Sirianni Started Game-Planning on Sunday Night
Sirianni started his game preparations for Tampa Bay on Sunday, October 10 right after the team landed in Philadelphia. The Eagles endured a grueling plane ride back from Carolina but the first-year head coach wanted to start scouting. His assistant coaches were on board so they went straight from the airport to his house and burned the midnight oil.
“It started, to be truthfully honest with you, it started with Sunday night at my house with some coaches coming over,” Sirianni told reporters. “When we landed – my kids were already asleep – when we landed, I brought some of the coaches over to my house, kind of like in that old high school football thing, like, ‘Hey, come over to my house, let’s go and let’s start planning a little bit.’”
Now that’s a commitment to excellence (sorry, Al Davis). Only time will tell if the extra time worked.