Eagles overreactions: Birds got a big decision totally right originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Things got a little dicey in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles largely handled the Saints on Sunday to nab their first home win of the season. Basically everything went right for 45 minutes, and Birds fans were absolutely living it up at the Linc.
You could choose to focus on the things that went wrong in the fourth quarter, but with key players dropping like flies I'm not going to blame Nick Sirianni's squad for slowing down at the end.
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Instead I liked a lot of what I saw, so let's overreact together to the fifth win of the season:
1. Dallas Goedert is clearly worth the money
I saw a surprising number of people worried about the Eagles handing Dallas Goedert the bag earlier this week with a contract extension through 2025.
Goedert received $59 million overall and $35.7 million guaranteed in the four-year extension. Was it a fair amount of money to hand over to a tight end? Of course. The deal places him second in the league in average annual value at the position when he's never had a 700-yard season.
But it was so, so worth it, and Goedert showed exactly why on Sunday.
The fourth-year tight end pulled in five catches for 62 yards, and looked all game (save one tough drop in the second half) like an elite playmaker. He now has 34 catches for 491 yards and two touchdowns this year. He has the combination of size, athleticism, and football skills to be a legit tight end for years.
Look at this absurd catch in the first half Sunday, a play only a few tight ends in the league can make:
It was much too easy for people to check his Football Reference page and wonder why the Eagles were paying Goedert top-flight money. But judging Goedert based solely on counting stats, when the guy has shown time and time again that he's a huge playmaker and just never had a chance as a starting TE during his first three-plus years in the league, was hugely ignorant.
Goedert turns 27 years old in January, meaning he's about to enter his physical prime. A few key tight ends are going to hit the market this offseason - Mike Gesicki, Dalton Schultz, and an intriguing option in C.J. Uzomah - so Howie Roseman was smart to get ahead of the market. Locking Goedert into this deal right now, for this price, will feel like a bargain by the end of the deal.
Because if you watch the games - really watch them, not just the highlight reel afterwards - you see the impact Goedert has. He's a better blocker than Zach Ertz was, he's a more dynamic athlete than Ertz was, and he's quickly become Jalen Hurts' favorite target.
Whether Hurts is the guy again next year, or the Eagles find another QB, Goedert is going to be a hugely valuable player to this franchise for a long time.
2. The Eagles should remain a running team
As much fun as we're having watching Goedert and DeVonta Smith torch opposing teams, I also loved the way the Eagles are running the ball since Jordan Howard entered the gameplan a few weeks back.
I'm not going to argue the Eagles should make 27-year-old Jordan Howard an integral part of their rushing game over the next few years.
But I am going to argue they should make running the ball a focal point, even as the NFL turns largely into a pass-first operation - especially if Jalen Hurts, or a similarly mobile QB, is running the offense.
With or without Howard, the Eagles have multiple young and skillful running backs, but none of them are true game-breakers like a Dalvin Cook or a Nick Chubb. Instead, the Eagles have been able to design a straight ahead run game based around hitting obvious holes that the super-powered offensive line opens with regularity.
The true strength of this run game lies in the offensive line.
Jordan Mailata is a stud in the making - maybe already made. Landon Dickerson mauls in the run game. Jason Kelce is Jason Kelce. Jack Driscoll holds his own. And Lane Johnson is an All-Pro talent at right tackle.
These guys are crushing opposing defensive lines, week in and week out, and they've finally been able to restock on which means no matter who the Birds have in the backfield, the run game should work. It's doubly true when a mobile QB like Hurts is giving defenses even more to worry about.
Just look at the RPO the Eagles ran in the red zone in the first half, where Hurts held the ball for what felt like an eternity before pulling it out for himself and running for 20 yards. The defense has to respect the run game because the Birds used it to dominate the first half, and they defense has to respect Hurts' feet.
I don't want some 1960s-style ground-and-pound throwback approach. But the Eagles can turn the run game into a real weapon for a long time if they can get creative while capitalizing on their clear positional strengths.
3. Jalen Reagor needs to be traded this offseason
My goodness, what an absolute waste of a first-round pick.
The first time an Eagles player held the ball on Sunday was Reagor returning a Saints punt, making the truly miserable decision to field a ball at his own three-yard line and returning it to the Eagles' own 15.
It was a microcosm of the poor decision-making and general inability to create positive plays that Reagor has displayed across his career with the Eagles so far.
For a purported playmaker, there is nothing dynamic about Reagor's game. For a supposed burner, Reagor is rarely open. And for a guy who likes to talk on social media about grinding to get better, he seems to remain the same player each week: ineffective and often invisible.
At this point, I've seen enough to think the Eagles should simply send him elsewhere and stop trying to shoehorn him into the offense. Because he's a first-round pick, he gets a few plays each week drawn up to try and get him going, and each week they feel like plays destined to bring the offense to a screeching halt.
Reagor finished Sunday with one catch for minus-1 yard. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (!!) had more receiving yards. Unbelievable.
Maybe a change of scenery will be what Reagor needs. Maybe it will do nothing. Either way, the Eagles will be free of a roster spot-absorbing black hole.
Oh, elsewhere on Sunday second-year wideout Justin Jefferson had eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Jefferson went one pick after Reagor.
For all the successes Howie Roseman had in the 2018 NFL Draft, we can't let this embarrassing whiff fall by the wayside.
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