There’s a give and take on Sundays without Eagles football, but I’ll say that there was something therapeutic about watching yesterday’s NFL action without the burden of the Birds. It’s been a gut-wrenching season thus far and it’s hard to imagine the Eagles doing anything less than disappointing us with another tight game in New York this week.
Nonetheless, here are three (optimistically) bold predictions for the second half of the season.
1. Dallas Goedert 7+ TDs
This is either bold or ridiculous, I’m not sure which. On one hand Goedert is coming off injuries (ankle sprain, tibia fracture) that tend to linger and limit a player’s explosiveness in the short term—he may need a full offseason to fully get right—on the other hand he’s had a bye week to rest some more, and he’s primed for a key role in an Eagles offense desperate for weapons. It’s the latter reason that sways me.
With Ertz set to miss at least a few more weeks, Goedert will be asked to fill a big role, both in terms of snaps (he only missed 10 snaps two weeks ago) and in target share. While he wasn’t involved much in his first game back against Dallas, he figures to be more heavily featured after the bye.
Obviously Wentz has struggled for large portions of the season, and while we can grapple about why that is until we’re blue in the face it’s undeniable that the absence of his two TEs in the middle of the field hurts him immensely. Of course having just one back makes that player easier for defenses to key on, but that doesn’t fully matter in this conversation; Goedert is a near elite red zone threat, and that’s where Carson and Doug will look to milk his ability in the second half.
2. Reagor notches 600+ yards receiving (75 yds per game)
I’m not sure how “bold” this is, but at this point I’m just chasing down expectations I had before the season. Obviously injuries have played a role in his lackluster rookie season, but we shouldn’t pretend like that’s the entire issue. Is his lack of production tied to offensive struggles overall? Of course, but he obviously hasn’t developed a strong rapport with Carson yet, and maybe some of that’s on Reagor.
That being said, I do expect Reagor to stay healthy (*knock on wood*) and be heavily involved in the passing game moving forward. We know he’ll be featured in the screen game, and if he can convert a few of those into big plays, connect on a few deep balls, and find ways to compliment that with stuff underneath then he could easily hit the 600 yard mark. I’ll predict a 150 yard performance somewhere in there to do the heavy lifting. As long as Wentz’s second half is an improvement on his first, and Reagor stays healthy, this number should be well within reach.
3. Mike Jacquet emerges as a reliable option at CB2
With Jacquet currently on the practice squad this could be the most bold of the three predictions, but it’s safe to assume he’ll be elevated to the active roster sometime this week with Slay dinged up and Maddox’s less-than-ideal fit outside. Injury forced Jacquet to step in last week vs Dallas and he performed well, albeit against favorable conditions in Ben DiNucci, and he’ll likely be pressed into action again at some point.
He’s long and athletic, and while he doesn’t quite have the quick twitch to keep up in man coverage right now, his size also allows him to knock opponents off their route when engaged, and he’s well-equipped to hang back in zone and make plays on the ball. He really has an ideal skillset and physical profile to be a CB2 in this league, and we saw a (small) glimpse of that the other night.
I was high on Jacquet as an undrafted FA and Doug had praised him over summer camp, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team place a little confidence in him. In the event that Slay has to miss time or Maddox inevitably struggles then there’s no reason to think Jacquet couldn’t be the next man up for Schwartz.