As the Eagles await official word on the potential suspension for Lane Johnson, the team is working to ensure its offensive line is prepared to compete without the tackle. However, the loss could also have an effect on other position groups.
Following Monday's practice at the NovaCare Complex, Zach Ertz explained that he, the tight ends and running backs could be needed to help more at the line of scrimmage in the event that Johnson is unable to play for 10 games.
"If the offensive line needs some help, the tight ends and running backs are going to be the ones who have to help out," Ertz explained. "Sometimes we've got to stay in and pass protect. Sometimes we've got to chip and run some shorter routes. Football is such a team game. I think it's really evident in that regard."
Entering his fourth season, Ertz has been very vocal about his work toward improving his blocking skills. A natural receiver, the tight end has accumulated 2,024 yards so far in his career but he understands that to be fully effective he needs to help in all aspects of the game.
According to Justin Peelle, the team's tight ends coach, Ertz has gotten better in that area, but there's always room for improvement.
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"Zach is very good at running routes, catching the football, things like that," Peelle said. "What he needs to continue to work on is his play, his technique at the line of scrimmage. To his credit, he's worked very hard at it. He's making improvements at it."
Regardless of Johnson's status and the state of the Eagles' O-line, Ertz will be a large part of the receiving offense. But, he is willing to do whatever is needed of him for the team to succeed, especially in the given situation. If he has to take on an increased blocking role, he will.
In the end, Ertz is focused on the good of the team before all else.
"Coming in as a receiving tight end, I've had to put a lot of time and energy into the blocking side," Ertz said. "With injuries and pending suspension and everything like that, I've got to do whatever the offense needs and if that's catching as many balls as possible or if that's chipping on every pass protection, I'm not going to be the one deciding that but I can't get mad if I'm not getting the ball because I've got to help out the offensive line. I'm going to do whatever the coaches need me to do."