by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Eagles’ Zach Ertz was an extremely popular breakout selection this season, but it simply hasn’t happened. Coming off a game where he picked up 1 catch for 4 yards he has 25 receptions for 358 yards and 2 TD. On the surface those numbers aren’t horrific, but looks can be deceiving.
Over the first two games he had totaled 163 yards, but has failed to surpass 50 in the six games since. Considering that includes two games with fewer than 15 yards, it’s extremely concerning.
According to Pro Football Focus Ertz was on the field for just 24 of 86 offensive snaps this past week. While this was clearly his worst showing, he’s now played 31 snaps or fewer in three of the previous four games and hasn’t played more than 50 since Week 2. Obviously, the less he’s on the field the fewer opportunities he’s going to get.
One of the questions surrounding Ertz prior to entering the NFL was his ability to block. In their draft profile of him NFL.com said:
“He has developed as a blocker and is usually sure-handed, but still needs to improve his consistency in both areas.”
You have to wonder if that’s part of the problem, and the blocking will become even more important now that Mark Sanchez will be starting at QB. It certainly makes sense, as Brent Celek played on 67 snaps this past week and at least 57 in each of the past four games.
There’s no question what Ertz can do, when given a chance, but it’s looking less and less likely that he fully gets that opportunity this season. The thought was that, without DeSean Jackson, Ertz would be utilized on the outside. Without that, as well as red zone opportunities (just 5 targets), there’s little chance that he makes an impact.
Ertz did emerge in the second half last season, so we wouldn’t completely write him off for 2015. That said, it’s also hard to get excited about the prospect. Keep him stashed, if you have the room, but right now he’s nothing more than a TE2 in all formats.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, CBS Sports, Pro Football Focus