He’s been here for 4 years and yes, some fans have been frustrated with his performance, but I believe we’ve overlooked this man’s performance thus far. This player is our strong, athletic, 6’5 250 pound Tight End, Zach Ertz. With a core of skill players that receiving wise has been performing below expectations, Ertz has very quietly begun his career in a similar direction as a future Hall of Famer that Philadelphia knows unfortunately too well. That player would be Jason Witten.
If you compare the stats of these two Tight Ends through their initial four seasons, the only differences are truly five receptions and one yard. After 4 seasons, Jason Witten snagged 252 passes that covered 2,841 yards and 14 of them went for touchdowns; Ertz in his own start caught 247 balls that resulted in 2,840 yards and 14 touchdowns, one of which was a touchdown in the postseason in his rookie year. One very crucial fact to keep in mind is that Ertz missed three games over this span while Witten was only kept out of a single game.
Keep in mind, while talking about the stats, that’s only on the receiving end of their play. There is definitely an area of Ertz’ game that could be improved. Ertz isn’t necessarily the greatest blocker; I’m not suggesting that he needs to be the best blocking Tight End in the NFL, but he could most definitely help the run game for the Birds. Also, if he can help the run game more the Eagles won’t be as predictable while lining up for run and pass plays. Adding that dimension to his play would only make Ertz that more of a weapon on the field.
Ertz’ stats over the past season have been very under the radar just as Witten always seemed to get it done. Quiet and Efficient. The only difference is that I believe we haven’t even seen Ertz’ best. Over the past couple seasons, as the Eagles have had struggles at the Wide Receiver positions and have had 5 different starting quarterbacks in Ertz’ first four seasons; now those issues seem fixed and that will only make Ertz that much better. Now that he isn’t the only real receiving option due to the addition of Pro Bowler Alshon Jeffery, speedy Torrey Smith and a Jordan Matthews that’ll be playing his true receiving position, it should open up the field much more for Zach Ertz. Ertz also seems to have “his guy” at quarterback with the thought that Carson Wentz is a budding star in the NFL, which that also will only help increase that stats of the big Tight End.
If Ertz can truly become what Jason Witten was for the Dallas Cowboys, I don’t think anyone in Philadelphia can be frustrated with him if that happens. He was already on pace to be the Eagles best Tight End, and now he’s on pace to be as good as a guy who will one day have a bust of his head in Canton, Ohio. As Eagles fan, we could have an extremely special player starting to blossom. Ertz also signed an extension in 2016 that will carry through the 2021 season for the Birds, if he stays on this pace, hopefully, it isn’t the final extension he signs. Everyone should be thrilled to see what the big guy has in store for us this season.