Where’s Dallas Goedert? That was the burning question on everybody’s mind after two weeks of what many considered criminal under use of the 49th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The outcry was so ferocious, it caused the question to make literal headlines.
17 snaps in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. 17 snaps in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 3 targets, 1 catch, and 4 yards in two weeks of action. Not exactly the robust utilization we were sold or convinced ourselves was in the works when Goedert was selected to pair up with Zach Ertz.
We made bold statements, planted flags, and pontificated about unstoppable red zone packages. We became collectively mad because it was making us all look stupid or crazy or both. Why was he getting less snaps than Josh Perkins? Where was Goedert?
Salvation came in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. In the first drive they started with three tight ends, forcing the Colts into their base defense, and proceeded to give us a glimpse of what the future looks like for the GodErtz package. Better yet, they were spreading out their formations and exposing clear mismatches against a group of linebackers that struggle to cover outside of Darius Leonard.
Gains of 17, 10, 11 and even less exciting but effective gains of 6, 7, and 8 yards and the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles were marching. Against a soft shell zone defense like the Colts, patience is key. They will keep everything in front and force you to executive for a long, grueling drive. Luckily for the Eagles, the first slip up came from Zaire Franklin, the Colts third linebacker as offense pressed the issue with an uptempo, no-huddle attack.
Franklin sat down at the table and after 5 minutes, couldn’t find the sucker. You know what that means. The Eagles had found their mark. On the next play, the fifth of the drive, they attacked his zone coverage. Watch the animated question mark flash above Franklin’s head halfway through the play.
13 keeping BASE on the field after that and Zaire is just lost. pic.twitter.com/wRAEImloPg— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) September 24, 2018
Along with Perkins’ 10-yard catch against a ghost, Ertz would contribute 3 catches for 32 yards on the drive. The run game would find early success, grinding out 21 yards on 4 carries. Goedert would cap the drive off on a 13-yard touchdown on a “spot copper” concept that the Colts busted on. We finally made it, folks.
VID 1, 2017 Week 12 vs CHI: RZ Spot concept w/a Copper (corner-post) variation to Ertz.— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) September 24, 2018
VID 2, 2018 Week 3 vs IND: RZ Spot concept w/a Copper (corner-post) variation to Goedert. pic.twitter.com/FxLYGuZH7O
The Colts would spend the entire drive with three linebackers, trying to combat the heavy set from the Eagles. On the next drive Franklin would be replaced for two plays by former Eagles linebacker Najee Goode. After a 13-yard catch by Ertz and an 8-yard scamper by Wendell Smallwood, the Colts scrapped their early plans. Goode was taken off the field, and the Colts would meet the next 13 plays of 13 personnel with a nickel defense.
This would give underrated nickel cornerback Kenny Moore II more snaps and it proved much more effective, limiting the Eagles offense until the dam finally broke on a long game-winning drive in the 4th quarter.
Overall, the Eagles 12 and 13 personnel were key to the offenses’ success.
#Eagles Offense vs #Colts Defense Personnel Frequency— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) September 24, 2018
13 (38%): 4.86 Yards Per Play, 52% Success Rate
12 (32%): 6.68 Yards Per Play, 64% SR
11 (30%): 3.48 Yards Per Play, 35% SR
55% passing out of multiple tight end sets w/a 60% SR. Used 13 the entire first drive vs BASE.
With the obvious efficiency of the GodErtz package and.. I don’t know.. the GodErtz Plus (?), it should be reasonable to expect we’ll see more of it. From not being in the game-plan to playing an active part highly effective personnel grouping, Goedert has earned a bigger chunk of the offensive snaps.