Eagles Coach Comments on Zach Ertz: ‘Let’s Just Be Honest’

Zach Ertz

Getty Eagles Pro Bowl TE Zach Ertz celebrates with Brent Celek in Super Bowl LII.

The stalemate between the Philadephia Eagles and Zach Ertz has been going on for three months. Maybe longer depending on how serious those reported trade talks were back in late October.

For now, the three-time Pro Bowl tight end remains on the roster. Ertz is under contract, as Howie Roseman pointed out, and he’ll be expected to report to training camp barring a blockbuster trade or post-June 1 release. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was asked to comment on the situation, including the rumor that Ertz was given permission to seek a trade. Sirianni admitted to speaking with the 30-year-old star but declined to reveal what was discussed.

“I’ve talked to Zach, but my conversation with Zach, I’m going to keep that between Zach and I,” Sirianni told reporters. “But let’s just be honest, of course, Zach is a great football player. He’s showed that he’s a great football player for a very long time. Man, he’s made a ton of plays. I got to see a ton of tape on Zach.

“Obviously, when I got here this year and then also in 2018, my first year with the Colts, we watched a ton. So Zach is a heck of a football player, and he’s been a heck of a football player for a long time in this league.”

If Sirianni had his druthers, his preference would be to keep Ertz in Philly. He might be coming off a down year — his worst statistical season, one marred by injury — but there’s no denying his immense talent. Sirianni has been known to employ a ton of two tight-end sets, too.

“I hate to sound cliché here, but it really is about what your players can do,” Sirianni said on March 18. “I’ve had success in 12. Our teams in Indy had success with multiple tight ends on the field. We know the sign of a good coach is using the personnel.”

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DeVonta Smith Came ‘As Advertised’

The first day of rookie minicamp brought nine smiling new faces to the NovaCare Complex. It was the first chance for them to get acclimated to life in the NFL. It was also the first time Sirianni got to see them in pads. The brightest smirk belonged to first-round pick DeVonta Smith who greatly impressed the head coach.

“As advertised, he catches everything,” Sirianni said. “Like that ball touches his hands, he catches it. He’s really long. I think you guys saw that, right? He’s got long arms, and he’s got a big catch radius.”

Smith is trying to earn a starting spot as a rookie possibly as a prototypical “X” receiver. The knocks on his size — officially listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds — have been well-documented and dissected. Sirianni doesn’t care about that stuff. The kid has everything you want in a playmaker at the position.

“He showed his unbelievable hands, and he showed — I just thought he showed excellent, excellent ability to change directions at the top of the route,” Sirianni said. “Even better than what I saw on tape, to be 100 percent honest with you.”

Sirianni Shares Message to Coaching Staff

Remember, this isn’t just the first rodeo for the Eagles rookie class. It’s also the first dance for Sirianni and his new coaching staff, the youngest one in the NFL with an average age of 39.8. He shared a brief snippet of what his message was to everyone after Friday’s first practice in South Philadelphia.

“My message to the coaching staff was, hey, let’s let these guys go out there and show us what they can do,” Sirianni said. “Let’s keep the installs very simple. Let’s keep them very simple so they can get out there and they can exhibit their abilities on the field. So that was my message to the coaches and that was my message to the players today, this morning.”


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