Zach Ertz Leads Actives for Eagles-Seahawks Wild-Card Showdown

Zach Ertz

Getty Zach Ertz caught the game-winning TD in OT to beat the Giants in a game the Eagles needed to win.

Lacerated kidney or not, Zach Ertz is active for Sunday’s wild-card showdown. The Eagles tight end may only be used as a decoy, but he’s starting the game.

The Eagles and Seahawks kick it off today at 4:40 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field. It was reported on Saturday that Ertz had received medical clearance to play. He will. Unfortunately, starting right tackle Lane Johnson was listed on the inactive list.

That means Halapoulivaati Vaitai will draw the start at right tackle against Seattle. Matt Pryor will assume the starting duties at right guard with Brandon Brooks confined to IR. Johnson had been considered a long shot to play and his absence was addressed earlier in the week.

“V [Vaitai] has played right tackle obviously and he’s played well,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “Pryor has played right guard and he’s played well and he’s filled in for Brandon when need be. We’re trying to keep that as consistent as we can at that spot.”

In fact, the Eagles are 14-3 in games that Vaitai has started since 2017. That should inspire a great deal of confidence for the underdogs. The other players listed inactive include: QB Nate Sudfeld, WR Nelson Agholor, DE Shareef Miller, RB Elijah Holyfield, DE Genard Avery, G Sua Opeta. Agholor, Miller and Opeta were all expected to be out.

However, the decision to sit Holyfield and Avery is mildly surprising. Holyfield was recently signed for running-back depth with both Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard banged up. The Eagles must feel confident that both players are fully recovered and ready to give it 100-percent.

Avery had been garnering some hype as a talented situational pass-rusher and saw nine snaps last week versus New York. In the end, the team thought it more necessary to make backup guard Nate Herbig active in case something happens to Pryor or Vaitai.

Pryor played well last week in fill-in duty but he has been wildly inconsistent and lacks experience. Pederson spoke about Pryor’s progress and his confidence in the young man.

“I just think understanding the technique that Coach Stout [Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Jeff Stoutland] is really teaching. And the blocking schemes kind of become I guess the second part of that. But he’s using the technique within the scheme and playing with confidence,” Pederson told reporters. “I think the more he gets out there – he’s a big, physical, powerful guy that is really – and he’s a guy too that has to kind of focus on his fundamentals and be in the right places. And I think that’s where he’s improved the most.”

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