August 28, 2014 |
THE GUY WHO is going to make you forget about DeSean Jackson this season isn't Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper or even rookie Jordan Matthews. The guy who is going to make you forget about Jackson isn't even a wide receiver. He's a tight end. He's Zach Ertz. He's not Jimmy Graham. Yet. He'a not Jason Witten or Rob Gronkowski. Yet. And while you might think I'm jumping the gun mentioning somebody who has played only 459 NFL snaps in the same breath with three of the most dangerous pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, Ertz has that kind of ability, that kind of upside.
August 21, 2014 |
Whenever an offensive player sustains so forceful a hit during a football game that his helmet tumbles to the ground, there is often that subsequent half-second when everyone has the same thought: Oh, my Lord - his head came off. Brent Celek took one of those hits Friday night. He caught a pass for a 22-yard gain against the New England Patriots, and safety Patrick Chung - whom the Eagles had released in March after one ignominious season - drilled him in the chest. Yet this was one of those rare occasions when no one watching the game either at Gillette Stadium or on TV had that silly-if-instinctive reaction.
August 16, 2014 |
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Of the Eagles' pass catchers, Zach Ertz made the biggest impression during three scrimmages with the Patriots this week. Most of the tight end's work came against the second-team defense. But when the Eagles went with two or three tight ends against New England's starters, Ertz got open nearly as much. His play through all of training camp - which ended with Thursday's light practice - and the first preseason game has suggested that Ertz needs to see more time with the first team.
August 10, 2014 |
CHICAGO - The offense that opened the preseason Friday night for the Eagles at Soldier Field will be more dynamic in one month when the regular season begins. The playbook will be more expansive and play-calling more creative, so hysteria about a group that set records one year ago would be premature. But coach Chip Kelly's offense looked lackluster in its first game appearance. The starters played three uninspiring series, all in the first quarter. Two ended with Nick Foles interceptions.
June 17, 2014 |
ONCE THE SEVENTH and final round of the NFL draft concludes each spring, it's typically interesting to learn which undrafted free agents the Eagles are bringing in for training camp. There's usually a good story or two among them, perhaps a kicker with a unique nickname or a former star running back who overcame extreme medical odds to earn a pro contract. But of the 15 undrafted rookies the Eagles signed after last month's draft, there is perhaps none a more intriguing prospect in Chip Kelly's system than Trey Burton, the multifaceted tight end from the University of Florida.
June 11, 2014 |
IF THE ONLY thing you looked at was his receiving numbers, you might conclude - mistakenly, I might add - that Brent Celek didn't have a particularly good season last year. The Eagles tight end's 32 catches were his fewest since he became a full-time starter in 2009. Twenty-seven tight ends hauled in more passes. While his six touchdown receptions were the third most on the team, and his four red-zone TDs tied Riley Cooper for the team high, he was targeted only 51 times, which also was the fewest since he became a full-time starter.
May 30, 2014 |
THIS TIME last year, Zach Ertz was back at Stanford grinding through the final four courses needed for his degree in management science and engineering. It wasn't until after June 16, the day he graduated, when the touted tight end could join the Eagles full-time and truly begin preparing for his rookie season. No such restrictions exist this spring for Ertz, a candidate for a breakout second NFL season in Chip Kelly's high-octane offense. "It was such a mystery last year at this time in that I really didn't know what was going to be going on," Ertz said yesterday, the second day of organized team activities at the NovaCare Complex.
May 5, 2014 |
If the Eagles are looking for DeSean Jackson's "replacement," they need to look no further than to their own roster and tight end Zach Ertz. The Eagles, of course, have added two pieces - Jeremy Maclin and Darren Sproles - to supplement the 2013 production that left with Jackson. But of their current players, Ertz has perhaps the best chance to dramatically increase his numbers now that Jackson is in Washington, especially if the second-year tight end delivers upon Eagles expectations.
April 2, 2014 |
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek spent a recent Friday evening discussing the distinct qualities of his modern, luxury accessories line Revisit. The manbags are fashioned from soft chocolate brown leather and lined with hand-dyed indigo-blue cotton canvas. Arrowheads dangling from clutch zippers are carved from antique brass. The leather closures are affixed to laptop sleeves and journals with oxidized copper rivets. But of the 16-piece collection on display at the Four Seasons hotel suite, the iPhone case was clearly Celek's favorite.
January 5, 2014 |
The success that the Eagles have enjoyed this season under Chip Kelly has come with a delicious caveat. They're 10-6. They lead the NFL in rushing and yards-per-pass-attempt and rank second in total offense, and they've accomplished this with most of the same offensive personnel they had under Andy Reid. All of this productivity, and there's an argument to be made that the Eagles can and will be more potent in the years ahead once they acquire more "Chip Kelly guys" - players whom he and general manager Howie Roseman will have handpicked to fit Kelly's system.