Zach Ertz is an all-time great Philadelphia athlete.
Not just an all-time tight end.
Not just an all-time Eagle.
He's an all-time Philadelphia athlete.
Over the course of his nine-year career, he set numerous records (and came close to setting more), was an extremely reliable player (he played at least 14 games in each of his first seven seasons), was a go-to target in high-leverage situations on third down and in the red zone, and caught the game-winning touchdown in the team's first Super Bowl Championship. He had an outstanding impact off the field, both in the locker room and in the community, and developed into one of the true voices of the team over the last few seasons through both the high and low moments.
For the purpose of this piece, I wanted to go back and just look at some of my favorite moments over the course of his career and showcase the impact he had on the Eagles' offense during his time in Philadelphia.
No matter who he caught passes from, Ertz proved he was the definition of a quarterback's best friend. He had extremely soft hands and made highlight grabs seem routine.
What was Ertz's best trait, though? His route running. Multiple coaches told me over the years that they viewed him as not just the best route runner at his position in the NFL, but the best route runner in the league PERIOD. Ertz consistently showed the ability to beat linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks one-on-one over the course of his career.
Ertz's ability to attack defenders' leverage mid-route and create separation was second-to-none in the league.
I talked about how reliable Zach was (and still is) on third down and in the red zone. No matter the coaching staff, the team always found ways to get him open and create windows for the quarterback. The Eagles have run some outstanding concepts to get Ertz the ball in key situations.
We've seen Ertz a lot on quick rub routes this season, as well as the screen game, but it's been something he's been involved in throughout his career. Yards after the catch is not necessarily a stat that is highly valued at the tight end position, and it was never really a "strength" of Ertz's game, but he would fight would-be tacklers on every catch, and you'd get catch-and-runs like this on a yearly basis.
Despite coming from Stanford's pro-style offense, Ertz was not known as a dominant in-line blocker when he came out of college. So what did he do? He got better every season over the course of his career. And we saw highlights of him at the point of attack as he continued to get bigger and stronger and more comfortable in the offense.
Last – but certainly not least – was Zach's performance in the Super Bowl as a crucial part of helping the Eagles hoist the Lombardi Trophy on February 4, 2018. Keep in mind – some of these great plays aren't even when Ertz was targeted, but his presence helps set things up for others.
Zach Ertz, not just one of the best Eagles of all time, but one of the best athletes in Philadelphia history.