Earlier this week, the Eagles activated tight end Zach Ertz from the IR list. It hasn’t been determined if Wentz’s favorite target will be back on the field Sunday against the Packers, he was limited in practice on Wednesday.
But, it’s safe to say Ertz will try to go.
No. 86 hasn’t been on the field since Week 6 against the Ravens. And when he’s been on the field this season, he’s been a shell of his former self.
He’s recorded just 24 receptions for 178 yards and 1 touchdown. His average of 7.4 yards per reception is a 3-yard drop off from his average last season (10.4), and his receptions per game (4) has dropped by almost 2 receptions (5.9) from 2019.
There are a few reasons why Ertz may have gotten off to a slow start. The first one most fans will point to is his frustration with his current contract. Ertz flat-out said he was frustrated with the situation prior to the season and he acknowledged that he let it get in his head during training camp a bit. There was a report that Ertz and Howie Roseman got into an argument on the field about the contract as well, during the week leading up to their first game.
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The other reason Ertz could be struggling is simply because his quarterback is struggling. As a pass catcher, you’re only going to be as good as the guy throwing you the ball in this league, and Wentz’s season-long struggles have been well documented.
But, there are also reasons to believe the time off could benefit Ertz in this final stretch, which should lead to little more stability on the offense.
Wentz probably won’t fully turn things around this year, but he clearly favors guys who he’s comfortable with. There’s no receiver on this team who has better chemistry with Wentz than Ertz. Over the past two seasons, Ertz has had over 130 targets in each season, that’s the most of any Eagles player by a very wide margin.
Will Ertz look like the three-time Pro Bowl tight end we’ve seen over the past few seasons in his return? It’s hard to say if he’ll reach those heights. But it’s fair to assume he’ll benefit this offense greatly simply being on the field.
During the first six weeks of the season, when Ertz was playing, the offense averaged 23.5 points per game and 207 passing yards per game. In the five games since Ertz got hurt, they’ve averaged 19.2 points per game and 205.6 passing yards per game. It’s not a significant difference, but the offense still operated better with Ertz in the lineup.
Who knows what Ertz’s future with this team looks like, these could end up being his final five games in midnight green. But in the short-term, he’ll undoubtedly help Wentz and the offense.