Eagles training camp 2022: Why Jalen Hurts and Dallas Goedert are closer than ever

·5 min read

Why Jalen Hurts and Dallas Goedert are closer than ever originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Dallas Goedert was asked the other day about Jalen Hurts. Why are his teammates always so steadfastly in his corner? Why are they so quick to defend and support him? Why do they always have his back?

Goedert just smiled and boiled the answer down to seven words:

“I just like Jalen,” he said with a smile. “He’s my quarterback.”

Goedert and Hurts are entering their third year together. Hurts has completed more passes as a pro to Goedert than any other receiver, but this past offseason the two spent more time than ever together, and the fifth-year tight end said they clicked both on the field and off.

“We went down to Miami and threw at FAU (Florida Atlantic) for a little bit with the receivers and myself and Jalen,” he said. “I worked with him in California before OTAs and then, shoot, we were here throwing a lot. You know Smitty (DeVonta Smith) doesn’t want to leave here. He loves just being at home, so we threw here quite a bit as well.

“Just the whole group — the wide receivers, Jalen, they just love the work, they want to get better and that’s just a good group to be around.”

It’s not that Hurts and Goedert weren’t close the last couple years, but they really took advantage of this offseason to bond in a deeper way.

And maybe it’s Nick Sirianni’s constant preaching about “connecting,” but Goedert believes there’s tremendous value in teammates getting to know each other away from the football field.

“I got a lot more 1-on-1 time with him, just hanging out, getting to know each other personally a little bit, learning about our backgrounds, growing up, stuff like that,” Goedert said. “Anytime you can do that, you just build that connection. You feel more comfortable with the guy and that’s going to translate on the field as well.”

How does that carry over onto the field?

“It’s just that trust factor,” Goedert said. “Jalen knows about me, I know about him. The more time we spend together, the more I know what he’s thinking on every play, and when it comes down to it, game on the line, they bring zero (blitz), and the play isn’t designed for that and he’s gotta figure out an option, I hope that he can trust me enough that he can come to me when it’s time of pressure and he’s not really sure what else to do.

“I just kind of want to be that security blanket for him no matter what, and I feel like the more you know somebody, the easier it is to be that guy.”

Sirianni has talked about the value of “connecting” since the day he was hired, and the players have totally bought in.

Goedert and Hurts would probably have been fine if they hadn't spent so much time together during the offseason. It’s not like there were any issues between them last year.

But it’s all about taking that relationship to another level both during the week and on Sundays.

“That's one of the first things we talk about with our core values of connecting,” Sirianni said. “When you know a guy, you're going to go a little extra harder for him. Even though there will be times where you're like, ‘I'm going as hard as I physically can. I can't go any harder.’ But when you know a guy there is a little something more that you have. When you connect with a guy, there is a little something more that you have. And so that's a really important piece.

“Then add to it that they have to be on the same page with where they are on the breaks and how they're running things and where Jalen is placing the ball and where he wants him to put the ball on this look or that look.

“Based off all our numbers, Dallas is one of our leading target guys (in camp), I don't think that's any secret. The chemistry between the two looks great, and you can tell they've worked not just in the OTAs or not just in the training camp, but they've worked other places on this chemistry together.”

Goedert seems primed for a huge year.

He had 56 catches for 830 yards and four TDs last year despite getting only 5.1 targets per game. His 10.9 yards-per-target was fifth-highest on record by a tight end with at least 50 targets (the NFL has tracked targets since 1992).

In 10 games after the Zach Ertz trade, Goedert had 41-for-614. Over a full season that projects to 70 catches for 1,043 yards.

And now he and Hurts seem to have even better chemistry than last year.

“Anytime you’ve got a guy that works as hard as he does, cares about the game as much as he does, wants to win as bad as he does, it’s easy to follow a guy like that, so that’s really it,” Goedert said of Hurts.

“He’s a great leader, he works really hard, and he’s got one desire and that’s to win, be legendary, be great, and if I can help him do that, that’d be pretty awesome.”