Zach Ertz Focused on Finding a Win

Ed Kracz

Zach Ertz didn’t wear the happiest of faces when he spoke to reporters for about 15 minutes between the Eagles’ Thursday morning walkthrough and their afternoon practice.

The gloom of being 0-2-1 no doubt hung heavy on the star tight end and, as much as he claimed otherwise, the lack of any contract extension likely added to the despondence.

“With regards to the contract, that’s not even in my thought process,” said Ertz, answering the very first question posed to him. “I’m just trying to focus on winning a football game right now. Obviously, we need it. We’re in dire need of winning a football game and that’s all I’m focused on.”

This could very well be Ertz’s final season in Philadelphia, and there could be a chance that he isn’t around for the entire 16 games.

If the Eagles don’t have a pulse after these next four games, three of which are against teams with a combined 7-2 record, beginning with Sunday night’s contest at the 21 San Francisco 49ers, there could be a scenario where Ertz is dealt prior at the trade deadline on Oct. 29.

Should Eagles GM Howie Roseman elect to pull the trigger on an in-season Ertz deal, two teams to keep an eye, per a source who has spoken to SI’s EagleMaven, are the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts.

Dallas Goedert’s broken ankle could make Roseman think twice about dealing his star tight end. It would be unlikely for the GM to kneecap the team’s offense by trading away one of its star players without Goedert being healthy.

Besides, there still feels like a chance Roseman will make one final push to sign a player that grew up in their system as a second-round pick in 2013.

For now, Ertz is in Philadelphia, playing like the ultimate professional that he is.

“I’m excited about playing football,” said the tight end, who needs 50 more receptions to become the team’s all-time leading in that category, putting him ahead of Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael, who had 589 in his great Eagles career.

“The thing I loved to do in the past is play football. So, once the games have started, my sole focus is on trying to find ways to win football games, get open for Carson, and be a great teammate. Since the season started, I think I’ve done that. Obviously, there are things we all need to improve on.”

Ertz has always had a large role in the offense and will continue to even with Goedert out for the foreseeable future.

Other teams know it.

He regularly faces the opponent’s best cornerback and is often double-teamed or bracketed. It is the ultimate sign of respect for a tight end who is carving out a career that could put him in the Hall of Fame conversation whenever the time comes for him to retire, which doesn’t figure to be anytime soon since he is still just 29.

“I feel like I have an advantage in some certain way, whether it be a corner with my size, or a linebacker and my speed,” said Ertz about the attention he attracts. “Defenses are going to have to account for me, just like they’re going to have to account for Miles (Sanders), DeSean (Jackson), Alshon (Jeffery) when he comes back. Whoever they’re going to focus on, the other guy has got to win at times.

“But I have a lot of confidence in our coaches that they’re going to find ways to continue to involve me in the playbook even if I’m getting double-teamed on third down in the red zone. Just have to find a way to win regardless, and as a football team, just find a way to win, because, for me, I’ve always said I don’t care if I get one catch or 10 catches, we just have to find a way to win the football game, and everything else will be better.”

Except for the contract extension negotiations, that is.

They aren’t getting any better on that front, but maybe a few wins this month will take away some of the gloom and help keep Ertz with the Eagles at least until the offseason.

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