As they were running off the field following Carson Wentz's 50-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith Thursday night against the Dolphins, Zach Ertz yelled something over to Wentz.
"He’s like, 'I love that, I love that!’" Wentz said with a laugh.
They know. They know that the more the Eagles can establish a deep game — something absent from the offense last year — the more the middle of the field will be open for Ertz.
Ertz and Wentz had a pretty good connection last year. Ertz ranked fourth among all NFL tight ends last season with 58 receiving yards per game, and his 5.6 catches per game led all tight ends.
But judging from the last month of practice and from the starting offense's brief preseason appearances, they look to be on another level this year.
“I think we’ve definitely taken a big step," Ertz said. "We’re seeing the game very similar. We’re both very high football IQ guys, so it’s easy to translate from the practice field or the meeting room to the game field.
"And just having the same quarterback for a second year, it’s huge for chemistry, especially when it’s someone as talented as him. I'm excited about it."
Ertz played with Nick Foles and Michael Vick as a rookie, Foles and Mark Sanchez in 2014, Sam Bradford in 2015 and Wentz last year.
This year, Wentz will become the Eagles' first quarterback to start consecutive openers since Vick in 2012 and 2013, and Ertz could be one of the greatest benefactors.
Wentz's comfort zone last year was Jordan Matthews and Ertz. With Matthews now in Buffalo, Ertz becomes Wentz's No. 1 target, and if the deep game blossoms the way it should, it's going to be difficult for defenses to account for both the Eagles' outside receivers and Ertz underneath.
We saw in the preseason game against the Dolphins on Thursday night just how effortlessly Wentz and Ertz are connecting on the field. Wentz found Ertz for completions of 12, 14 and 18 yards in just one quarter of action.
“It kind of speaks to the length of time and amount of hours we’ve put into this thing together," Ertz said.
"Not only talking but the reps that we’ve put on the field at each and every practice. When we get five minutes off, we’re over there on a separate field trying to perfect things. Hopefully, it shows up this year."
Ertz and Wentz are very close friends, and both believe that closeness off the field will lead to some big-time production on the field.
Ertz has the ninth-most catches by a tight end after four years — one catch out of sixth place — and if he stays healthy this year and just matches last year's production you're looking at about 90 receptions and over 900 yards.
But if that connection between Wentz and Ertz has grown as much as both say it has, it could be a historic season for Ertz. For both of them.
“I think the biggest thing is just the more reps on the field, but off the field, we’re so close too," Wentz said. "There’s a natural connection there that people don’t always see.
"When you’re on the same page, you kind of build that. When we’re hanging out, sometimes we’ll sit there and talk about certain plays against certain coverages and different things.
"The more we’re friends off the field, the more it helps us on the field. Does it make or break it? No, but I think it definitely impacts the relationship we have on the field."
And then there's the Eagles' new-found outside speed, with Smith and Alshon Jeffery and possibly an expanded role for Nelson Agholor.
That's why Ertz was so excited after Smith's 50-yard catch Thursday night. The Eagles didn't have a single TD catch over 40 yards by a wide receiver last year, and without the threat of the deep ball, defenses were able to cheat low instead of playing the outside receivers honestly.
In fact, in the three years since DeSean Jackson was released, the Eagles have six total TD pass plays of 50 yards to wide receivers — three by Jeremy Maclin in 2014 and one each by Matthews, Agholor and Riley Cooper in 2015
All of which makes the area of the field that Ertz roams more clogged.
“Now, they’ve got to back up," Ertz said. "You saw what happened when the safety played low (Thursday night). They kind of keyed on me on the corner route, and we were able to throw it over the top.
"Just having a guy like Torrey Smith, obviously an established speed guy in this league, they’re going to have to back up. So I’m excited about it. Our offense is going to be extremely versatile this year. We’ve got a lot of guys, so it’s going to be a good year."
And Wentz, who throws a sweet deep ball, now has a couple guys who can catch it.
“That will help tremendously," Wentz said. "It's just going to help everybody else.
"If they do want to sit, OK, we have speed out there. If not? the middle of the field is going to be open. I think it’ll definitely help open things up for Zach."