Commanders TE Zach Ertz: Culture Drives 'Best Teams I've Ever Been On'

The Washington Commanders are not only trying to install new players and play styles, but a whole new culture.
May 23, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks to tight end Zach Ertz (86) during mini-camp at Arizona Cardinals training facility.
May 23, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks to tight end Zach Ertz (86) during mini-camp at Arizona Cardinals training facility. / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

ASHBURN, Va. -- The word 'culture' is being used a lot around the Washington Commanders these days, and it's almost an overused word in most professional sports. But it's so often talked about because of how important it really is.

It's not enough to be talented, if you're the Commanders. After all, every NFL roster has talent. As rookies often discuss, the biggest difference between the college and pro game is that here everyone is good. Great even.

READ MORE: What Does Success Look Like for 2024 Commanders?

For Washington to be great then it's going to take more than talent on the roster and even in the coaching staff. It's going to take culture. That overused word that tight end Zach Ertz says has been top shelf in every successful organization he's been a part of.

"The best teams I've ever been on, it starts with culture, and the culture is based off how hard you practice," Ertz says. "The only way to get better at football is by playing football and that's how you practice each and every day. And it's not a one-time thing, it's an everyday thing. It's not just when you're in the facility, (it's) when you go home, how you take care of your body, how you recover and how you're eating. So you got to be obsessed with the process and that's what we're trying to learn right now. Teach the whole team what our standards are going to be, and how we can be accountable to those standards."

One person on the team who is clearly obsessed, says Ertz, is offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. And the veteran says that coach is someone he wanted to play for again after spending time with him and the Arizona Cardinals and is looking forward to being part of his scheme again.

Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and tight end Zach Ertz, then with the Arizona Cardinals.
May 23, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks to tight end Zach Ertz (86) during mini-camp at Arizona Cardinals training facility. / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

"The best teams I've ever been on, it starts with culture,"

Zach Ertz, Commanders TE

"He's a guy that's going to want to get his guys the ball," Ertz said of Kingsbury. "He wants to bring explosive plays and he wants to run the ball as well. He's obsessed with being the best version of himself he can be for this organization and he seems rejuvenated and reenergized out here. I'm excited for him."

Kingsbury's rejuvination is just part of the equation. Ertz also said he feels somewhat rejuvinated by what's happening in Washington, and he looks it on the practice field.

The duo is looking to bring the successful parts of their time with the Cardinals to the Commanders, and build even more on top of it. The energy of that effort is being felt all around the facility and extends into the fan base as well.

It's all part of the new vibe around Washington, and the early stages of installing a new Commanders culture.

READ MORE: Coach Darryl Tapp Bringing Player-Like Intensity to Commanders DLine


Stick with CommanderGameday and the Locked On Commanders podcast for more coverage of the Washington Commanders throughout the 2024 season.


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David Harrison

DAVID HARRISON

David Harrison has covered the NFL since 2015 as a digital content creator in both written and audio media. He is the host of Locked On Commanders and a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. His previous career was as a Military Working Dog Handler for the United States Army. Contact David via email at david.w.harrison82@gmail.com or on Twitter @DHarrison82.