Zach Ertz Expects Bill Belichick to try to Stop Him

Ed Kracz

Imagine you’re New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. You put on your hoodie and scowl and head into work.

When you arrive, you do what you always do. You try to find a way to take away an opponent’s best offensive player. Maybe nobody schemes that up better than you, and you have six Super Bowl rings to prove it.

You’re a little more irate than normal – if that is possible – because you couldn’t figure out a way to do that against the Baltimore Ravens before you went on your bye week as quarterback Lamar Jackson ran and passed all over your top-ranked defense and dealt you your only loss of the season.

Now come the Eagles, and you already know who it is you must stop – tight end Zach Ertz.

Who else is there?

Alshon Jeffery? The Eagles number one receiver has played more like a No. 2 or 3 this season and he may not even play after missing the Eagles’ two practices so far this week.

Jordan Howard? Yeah, he’s over halfway to a 1,000-yard rushing season with 525 so far. But he’s a running back, and there are only a handful of those in the NFL that must be stopped at all costs. Besides, he might not play, either, after being limited with a shoulder issue in both practices this week.

Nelson Agholor? His hands have betrayed him this season.

Miles Sanders? He’s a rookie.

Mack Hollins? Seriously?

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside? Please.

So Ertz it is. Hey, your buddy in Detroit, and former defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, schemed up ways to keep Ertz from killing them and in sort of worked. Ertz had four catches for 64 yards, but he was double-teamed most of the day.

Things is, though, Ertz kind of has an idea of what’s coming after facing it in Week Three.

“The biggest adjustment will be mentally since I’ve seen it already,” said Ertz. “I had never seen it that drastic before (the Lions), in terms of, I would go in motion and would see two guys following me to the other side.

“And you don’t know exactly where the double team is coming from on each and every play, so being able to see that consistently for 60 minutes, watch that film again this week, finding success first and second down. I know they won’t double me on first and second down with the threat of the run and if we’re in third-and-short they probably can’t do that.

“I think the biggest adjustment for me is going to be the mental side of it, don’t let it frustrate me, view it as a sign of respect and just go.”

So maybe you rack your brain and think of somebody else to take away, except there really isn’t anyone else.

You go with Ertz and see what happens on Sunday.