The Eagles seem to facing many Philly alumni through the first few weeks of the 2022 NFL season and that continues in Week 5 against Zach Ertz and the Arizona Cardinals. The tight end took some time to talk to Philadelphia reporters on Monday, and talked about the transition to a new team, as well as what he’s seeing from Jalen Hurts and Dallas Goedert this season.
Here’s what the tight end had to say:
On changing teams and leaving Philly
“It was exciting, obviously, the last 18 months in Philly weren’t the easiest. Obviously, there was a lot going on behind the scenes, a lot of people don’t know about it, but at the same time, I love all my time in Philadelphia.”
When asked to elaborate, Ertz chose not to, and said that maybe he’ll talk about it down the road, but for now he’s going to leave that in the past. He had nothing but good things to say about everyone in the organization, from the building staff to the equipment staff.
He said multiple times that he never had a bad moment in Philadelphia, and a lot of that comes down to the relationships he made with him teammates, including Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham — guys he still talks to.
“I was there for eight and a half, nine years essentially, and I really feel like we grew up there, Julie and I, in particular. We came there as 22 year old kids essentially and gave everything we had to the city, and we felt that love and passion reciprocated each and every day. And we just felt such a connection to the fans, to the communities. you can’t really put into words, I feel like, what that city means to us to this day. It will always have a special place in our hearts even though we’re in Arizona now. But it was just so much fun — the team was so close when I was there, I still talk to a lot of those guys.”
Ertz mentioned that making the transition was really good for him, though, and got him out of his comfort zone. He is such a man of habit, he had every day planned out and had a very consistent and reliable routine. Moving to Arizona forced him to find new support — massage therapists, acupuncturist, nutritionists, etc... — and especially moving in the middle of the season, he had to give himself some grace and realize that it might not be super structured, but he was still able to do his thing and get ready to play.
The tight end went on to say that it helped him prepare for fatherhood, because there’s a lot you can’t control with a newborn, and he had to learn to adapt.
On the current Eagles team
Ertz admitted that he hasn’t delved too far into the film study yet, but he’s been keeping an eye on the team from afar. He mentioned that he’s not surprised that the city is so excited for the team this year, there’s a lot of talented players on the team and guys who have played a lot of football.
“The culture was set a long time ago. I know [Jason] Kelce is holding guys to a certain standard, I know [Fletcher Cox] and [Brandon Graham] are doing the same, so those are guys that are building blocks within that organization for a long time. And the culture precedes anything else.
And so for me, I’m not surprised. I know Jalen [Hurts] is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever been around. Even though we didn’t play together for a long time, we were able to have fun throwing after practice, throwing after training camp practices, just working on our craft together for that short amount of time. And so, I’m not surprised by the success he’s having.”
He obviously hasn’t been able to watch too many games, but did catch the Monday night game against the Vikings and said that Hurts looked composed and looked like the guy the team drafted him to be. Ertz noted that the QB was spreading the ball around, and the team has a really talented skill group and Hurts was doing a good job getting everyone touches.
On Nick Sirianni
“I really enjoyed Nick — obviously, him and I were put in a tough spot and I thought we really made the most of it. I got to know him extremely well. I think he went out of his way to make me feel comfortable going through everything I was going through that summer, and the thing I really liked about Nick was how detail-oriented he was.”
Ertz went on to explain that they would watch film together as an offense, and if you had a bad rep, your number would be on the screen. The tight end admitted he hated when No. 86 would pop up, so it motivated him to work extra hard to make sure his number wasn’t called out. Ertz said he’s not sure if he’ll get into coaching or advising after he’s done playing football, but that’s something he would do.
He also mentioned that Sirianni does a really good job relating to guys, and mentioned the head coach’s emphasis on connection. Ertz ended by saying he has a lot of respect for Sirianni.
On Dallas Goedert
“Dallas is obviously off to a great start. The dude is really, really good with the ball in his hands and he’s probably one of the best in the league at that. So, he’s always been talented and they always try and find a ways to get him little, short passes to allow him to play in space — whether it be a screen pass, whether it be a check-down. And then you get guys like Lane [Johnson] and [Jason] Kelce out there blocking for him, Jordan [Mailata] blocking for him, it’s a really good combination. So, I’m not surprised at the success he’s had in that regard.”
- Ertz was asked about Philly being named a host city for the World Cup, to which he noted that there’s no better city for the event — although he did say Arizona might be a great option too now that they have grass in a dome.
- The tight end was asked about any similarities or differences between Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray, but Ertz didn’t want to do much comparing of the two because it often comes off as building one person up or tearing one person down. He did not that they’re both super competitive and both really want to win. Ertz also pointed to both QBs being really good in space, and said that Murray can make ridiculous plays and make all the throws in the pocket.
- It was pointed out that the Cardinals haven’t had a 100-yard game from a tight end since 1989 but Ertz said he expects to have one soon.