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June 13, 2019

Could Dallas Goedert be the most improved Eagle?

A reporter asked Doug Pederson, who addressed the media one final time before the Eagles' five-and-a-half-week break Thursday, who impressed him the most during spring practices.

The coach listed a handful of names, but it may have been telling which player was first on Pederson's mind.

"I've been impressed with the way Dallas [Goedert] came back and approached the off-season," he said.

The second-year tight end Goedert was not used consistently during his rookie year, catching 33 passes for 334 yards and four scores in 2018. But if OTAs and minicamp are any indication, Goedert will be more involved in 2019.

"If the coaches want a lot from me that's a good thing," the 24-year-old said. "I will give it all I've got every play."

Goedert is essentially Zach Ertz 2.0, a big body with decent speed, great hands, and the ability to block and run routes  basically, the whole package. The South Dakota product should resemble more of an experienced player this season thanks to one simple development: he's not a rookie anymore.

"I feel a lot better going into the break this year, having a firm understanding about of what's going to happen when I come back," Goedert said. "Before it was, 'What's training camp like? Is it as hard as people say it is or easier?' It was the first time I put on pads in the NFL. It will be easier this time. 

"[I am] way further ahead. Last year I was on the field thinking about every play. Making sure I had the right thing in my head was the important thing, whether I got the job done wasn't the biggest thing. Now I know everything like the back of my hands and it's a lot more fun going out there and just playing football."

The Eagles are expected to use 12 personnel (formations with two tight ends) more often this year, as they should. Goedert, who already has a high touchdown rate, will be a serious red zone threat on an offense full of them.

"We are definitely going to have opportunities," Goedert said. "There isn't much pressure because there's so many targets to go through. If [Carson Wentz] doesn't go to one, he can go to another one. We should have a great red zone offense this year. Any time you have someone like Zach or Alshon [Jeffery] or [DeSean Jackson] they will be holding the safeties or drawing double teams so you'll have on-on-one match ups.

Even the newest Eagles quarterback Clayton Thorson is pretty amped up about what the offense may be capable of this fall.

"There are a lot of match up problems," the fifth round pick said. "You can go out in that personnel and those guys are real athletic, Zach is the best in the business and Dallas will surprise a lot of people, he is really special too."

Goedert said his role would likely be matchup dependent, which implies he probably, as the second tight end, won't be able to put up numbers as consistent as Ertz (who set a tight end receptions record last season). And while that may complicate his fantasy football value, there's little doubt he'll be unleashed in big spots during the upcoming season.

"We're very excited about Dallas," Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said a few weeks back. "He is a very talented guy. He had a very productive rookie campaign. I know he's just as excited as anybody to get out there and do it again this fall."

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