Could Zach Ertz Lead The Eagles In Receiving?BREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Tight end Zach Ertz comes into his sophomore season with “breakout candidate” potential. He has the versatility as shown during the second half of 2013 to be used both as tight-end and split outside in the wide receiver role. He possesses terrific body control in space, and is able to create separation with his combination of size and speed.
If you were to double his stat output from last season, Ertz would walk away in 2014 with 72 receptions, 938 yards and 8 touchdowns. The speculation is that Jeremy Maclin will slide right into the vacancy left behind by former Eagle Desean Jackson. Maclin will have every opportunity to have his best season of his professional career. All signs point to a full recovery from the injury that sidelined him last season, and how Chip Kelly will use Maclin all over the football. So much of the Eagles success for the upcoming season lingers on the recovery and ability for Maclin to stay healthy.
After Maclin, the remainder of the receiving core has their role and their anticipated impact for the offense. Riley Cooper has good size, terrific chemistry with Foles and can find opening in small spaces. The two rookie receivers are going to be eased into the mix. Celek is a better blocker then Ertz. Sproles will catch his fair share of footballs, but he is not going to lead this Eagles team in receiving. I would like to think that Maclin will finally show why the Eagles drafted him in the first round in 2009, but I’m hesitant, I don’t want to be the one to jinx him.
Over 200 passing targets were attempted in the direction of former Eagles Desean Jackson and Jason Avant last season. Ertz played sparingly in the early part of the season, as he learned the playbook and gained the trust of Chip Kelly. The type of production we witnessed down the stretch was a mere sampling of what this kid could do at the professional level.
The Eagles no longer possess that top end speed which required double coverage by the opposing defense. Their new arsenal is to attack with multiple receivers who possess combinations of speed and size and who can play multiple positions. Kelly is attacking with combinations for opposing defenders and coaches to quickly answer before every snap of the football field.
Ertz is going to have space to work the middle of the football field as a tight-end. There will also be a percent of snaps that Ertz is going to see in the wide-receiver role. Ertz is not going to be confused with the ratio that tight-end Jimmy Graham sees out in New Orleans, but Ertz has the ability to be used in similar ways.
A lot of attention is going to how Maclin is looking, dissecting Sproles in the offense and the progression of unproven rookie Jordan Matthews. All three will play their respected role in the Eagle offense this season.
The most talented receiver on the roster, who is ready to take that next step in an offense that suits him perfectly, tight-end Zach Ertz. Expect big things, Ertz has made it known that he has set the bar high for himself, it would only be fair if we also did the same.
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