Darren Sproles: Zach Ertz is about to be 'a superstar'
Tight end Zach Ertz attracted a lot of hype entering his second NFL season in 2014 after an excellent showing in training camp and the preseason. Ertz went on to only play 603 offensive snaps. His blocking and the Eagles' heavy use of 11 personnel formations held him back from finding a larger role. After wrapping up OTA and mini-camp practices, the Ertz hype has returned again in full force.
“He (Ertz) has great hands, man,” teammate Darren Sproles said Thursday, per CSN Philly6. “His hands and his route running are just great, really. He’s about to be a superstar.”
Ertz worked hard this offseason to improve his blocking, receiving and his professional routine. He met up with future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to learn from one of the best to ever do it.
Head coach Chip Kelly has taken notice of the improved version of Ertz, and his improvement could force Kelly's hand when it comes to how many snaps he will allocate to the third year tight end.
“I know he's doing a great job for us,” coach Chip Kelly said Tuesday, per CSN Philly. “He's got an unbelievable work ethic, has really had no offseason in terms of what he did this past — from when our season ended against the Giants to when we started the offseason program in terms of what he did to work on his craft and make himself better not only as a receiver but as a blocker.
“A lot of guys do things and try to get with a coach to prepare them for the combine, but then they forget about that. Zach is not that type. He was traveling all over the country trying to make himself a better blocker, a better receiver, doing all the little teeny things that's going to make him kind of take that next step, and that's what we're excited to see where he goes with that.”
Ertz has reportedly already developed a nice rapport with projected starting quarterback Sam Bradford. This shouldn't surprise anyone--Bradford has always excelled with throws down the seam, and that is where Ertz is at his best.
In his second season, Ertz set career highs in receptions and yards, with 702 receiving yards on 58 catches. If he can get on the field more often, by proving to be an excellent blocker, he has a chance to break out as one of the NFL's elite tight ends.
(h/t CSN Philly)
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports