Zach Ertz And Jordan Poyer Are Trying To Catchup To Their TeammatesBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Secondary, Tight Ends Friday, June 21st, 2013
Two of the Eagles most important young players, tight end Zach Ertz and cornerback Jordan Poyer, spent this past week at the Eagles Nova Care Complex working hard and trying to catch up to the rest of the squad. They weren’t able to participate in OTA’s and the minicamp until their classes graduated at Stanford and Oregon State. Now that it has happened, they’re intent on catch up to their teammates and preparing for the competition which is going to start on July 22 when they attend training camp with the Birds.
“I think I missed a lot,” Ertz said. “The reps are invaluable. . . . But I couldn’t do anything about it, so I didn’t really stress over it too much. I was in the playbook a lot, studied as much as I could. So I basically made the most of what I could.”
“I definitely was getting anxious,” Poyer said. “I was wondering who’s out there trying to take my spot.”
I expect a big year out of this kid. Ertz is penciled in as the second tight end behind Brent Celek, but expected to play as much as a starter, because Chip Kelly plans on playing in a lot of two tight end sets. Ertz will be pairing up with Celek as a run blocker and pass catcher.
They’ll each get the chance to show their versatility because Kelly explained how he wants to take advantage of their size and athleticism by creating matchup problems with the opposing defense. If the defense sends in linebackers against two and three tight end sets, Kelly will asking them to beat linebackers in pass coverage, but if the defense sends in defensive backs, Kelly will ask Ertz and Celek to beat up on defensive backs when the Birds decide to run the ball.
Being the starting tight end in year one isn’t likely to happen, but he’ll likely be on the field quite a bit from the start.
“I think everyone’s goal is to start Day 1,” Ertz said. “But I played in college with two other great [tight ends]. All successful coaches are going to put the best players on the field, whether it’s three tight ends, three receivers, four receivers. I think with James [Casey] and Brent [Celek], those two guys are amazing players. I just really look forward to getting with them this season and learning from them.
“I think that experience [at Stanford] was very valuable. The offseason is all about competition. The three of us would compete against one another, but once the season rolled around, it was all about the team and we didn’t care about who had the most catches or the most touchdowns. We cared about the wins. I think that situation is going to help me out.”
Poyer is a long shot to start, but he’s got a better chance of getting on the field in nickel and dime situations. He’ll likely be battling with Brandon Boykin for that job. As a nickel back, you are asked to cover the slot receiver, but you have help over the top, so speed isn’t the most quality. The fact that he has good size will help his chances of seeing some action, especially if he shows he will tackle, because the nickel back has react to and make plays against the running game.
“Obviously, everybody knows I’m not the fastest and I don’t have the power and strength to jump a 42-inch [vertical] like you see some other guys at the combine, but I also think I understand the game of football a hundred times more than a lot of players do,” Poyer said. “I understand my body, I understand who I’m going against.”
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