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Zach Ertz, Eagles' players respond to ESPN report

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 04, 2018 - 12:25 pm

This past weekend there was a report from ESPN, citing an Eagles source that felt the offense was forcing the ball to tight end Zach Ertz too much, and that the ball needed to be spread out more. 

The timing of the source to call for Ertz to be involved less proved to be less than ideal, as Ertz once again led the way for the Eagles in the 28-13 win over the Washington Redskins, catching nine passes for 83 yards. Ertz also set the franchise record for catches in a season, as he now has 93 catches this year. 

After the game, Ertz was asked about the report.

“I did hear of it, obviously. Obviously there are things that come out, playing in the NFL for six years, there are things that come out, sources all the time. I don’t feel like, I hope I’m not the problem, I don’t think I’m the problem. I’m just trying to be the best tight end I can be. I’ve said all along, it’s all about efficiency when it comes to targets and catches. I feel like we are efficient in that regard. I am just focusing on trying to put wins on the table, that’s the only thing I try and do. I don’t really focus on whether I get the ball or not,” Ertz said. “I’ve said it all along whether I get two catches or 10 catches, most important thing to me is winning football games. And I thoroughly believe each and every guy in that locker room feels the same way. There has never been a doubt of selfishness from anyone in that locker room. I don’t want to give it too much merit, just is what it is. Focused on the win tonight. I felt like everyone got the ball. It was a good team win and that’s what I’m focused on.”

Ertz’s quarterback Carson Wentz had his tight end’s back when asked about the idea that the Eagles were force-feeding him the ball. 

“I don’t really think too much into that honestly. I mean, the guy makes plays. He makes plays, [and] he gets open,” Wentz said. “I think our effectiveness rate when we do throw his way is pretty successful. If it wasn’t, yeah, it would be something we’d need to evaluate, but he gets open, plays great football, and he’s having a heck of a year.”

There is no denying the Eagles’ offense has featured Ertz more this season than other players. Ertz has 121 targets this season, which is 42 more than any other player on the roster. He has almost twice as many targets as receiver Alshon Jeffery, who has had 65 passes thrown his way this year. 

The Eagles feature Ertz, however, for good reason. Ertz is without question the best skill position player on the roster, and has been a big reason the Eagles’ offense has been able to get anything going at all this season. Ideally the Eagles would be able to spread the ball around evenly, but among all their skill position players, only Ertz has been able to get open consistently this season. 

“The bottom line is everyone in the locker room wants to win the game,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “However it gets done, it gets done.”

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!