Eagles

Will Zach Ertz be a Hall of Famer?

Will Zach Ertz be a Hall of Famer?

Zach Ertz is the latest in a series of stories looking at the Hall of Fame chances of current or recent Eagles who are still active in the NFL

Friday, July 19: Fletcher Cox
Today: Zach Ertz
Sunday, July 21: DeSean Jackson
Monday, July 22: Jason Kelce
Tuesday, July 23: LeSean McCoy
Wednesday, July 24: Jason Peters
Thursday, July 25: Darren Sproles

Numbers: Has 437 catches for 4,827 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first six seasons.

Postseason numbers: Caught 31 passes for 316 yards and two TDs in six career playoff games, including the game-winning touchdown catch in Super Bowl LII against the Patriots.

Honors: Ertz made his first two Pro Bowls in 2017 and 2018.

Favorite stat: Ertz is the only player in Super Bowl history to catch a fourth-down pass on a game-winning fourth-quarter drive.

Records and rankings 

• Ertz set an NFL record in 2018 with 116 catches, breaking the mark of 110 set in 2012 by Jason Witten.

• Ertz’s 437 receptions are most in NFL history by a tight end in his first six seasons. He broke the record of 434 set from 2010 through 2016 by Jimmy Graham.

• Ertz’s 116 catches broke the Eagles single-season record of 90 set in 2007 by Brian Westbrook.

• Ertz already ranks third in Eagles history in receptions, behind only Harold Carmichael (589) and Pete Retzlaff (452).

• He doesn’t turn 29 until November, but Ertz already ranks 31st in NFL history in career receptions by a tight end. He’s only 153 out of the top 10. At his current rate — 5.8 catches per game since becoming a full-time starter in 2015 — that’s only 26 games away.

Analysis 

Maybe it’s silly to project Ertz as a Hall of Famer before his 29th birthday, but if he can stay healthy and keep stringing together the type of seasons he has been, it’s going to happen.

Since becoming a full-time starter four years ago, Ertz has averaged 86 catches, 914 yards and 5 ½ touchdowns.

If he keeps up that pace for six more years and plays until he’s 34, which most top tight ends are able to do, he’ll have 953 catches, 10,311 yards and 62 TDs after the 2024 season.

Not to mention a game-winning late fourth-quarter TD catch in a Super Bowl.

If he does that, nobody is going to keep him out of Canton.

Verdict: Will be a Hall of Famer.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

What did Eagles' defense think about that weak offensive showing?

What did Eagles' defense think about that weak offensive showing?

To a man, every Eagles defender who spoke to the media following Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Patriots agreed it was a total team loss, that the defense didn’t play well enough to win. 

And there’s some truth to that. 

True, the Eagles managed to gain just 255 yards of total offense and failed to get on the scoreboard over the game’s final 42 minutes. Their final 10 possessions ended in either a punt, turnover, downs or with time expiring. Most observers would lay the blame for the loss right there. 

But if members of the defense were at all frustrated by the lack of production on the other side of the ball, it didn’t show in the aftermath. 

“We’ve got these guys’ backs 100 percent, man,” Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “We’re not pointing fingers. That’s not what this locker room is about. We win together, we lose together. Nobody is pointing fingers at anybody.” 

Several players — particularly those in the secondary — took Cox’s sentiment a step further. 

“I thought we played well and definitely battled, but there were some drives that we needed to win the game and we didn’t make the plays,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “We had a solid game but just didn’t make enough plays.” 

The Eagles limited the Patriots' offense to 298 yards, forced a trio of field goals — including two on short fields — and eight punts. Tom Brady completed only 55.3 percent of his passes for a paltry 4.6 yards per attempt and failed to throw a touchdown. 

Could anybody reasonably expect the defense to play any better than that against the greatest quarterback and dynasty in NFL history?

There was, of course, the trick play the Patriots used to score their one and only touchdown. Eagles defensive backs also got their hands on a number of Brady passes — five total, two or three of which looked like they could’ve gone for interceptions. 

Even one pick could’ve changed the outcome of the game. 

“The missed opportunities really probably affected the game the most,” said Eagles safety Rodney McLeod. “If we come up with one or two, it’s the difference in the game.” 

Though the Eagles struggled offensively, it was against a Patriots defense that ranks No. 1 in yards, scoring and takeaways. 

The Eagles were also without Jordan Howard and Alshon Jeffery and lost Lane Johnson to an injury early in the game. When the ball wasn’t going to Miles Sanders or Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz was handing off to Boston Scott or targeting Jordan Matthews, who was on the street a week ago. 

Given the circumstances, it’s not totally unreasonable to place a larger burden on the defense. 

“We knew it was going to be a defensive battle coming into it,” Jenkins said. “You can’t get frustrated in those situations. Our defense was playing just as well as theirs. We just have to stay patient and look for plays we can take advantage of.” 

Nobody can say the defense played poorly, but they didn’t take advantage of opportunities, either. That’s what the Eagles needed to knock off the Patriots on Sunday. 

“As a competitor, you always think you could be better,” Cox said. “As a group, as an individual, and as a team. There’s no excuses. We played a really good football team and came up short and now have to move on to next week."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Who is ultimately responsible for Eagles' offensive collapse?

Who is ultimately responsible for Eagles' offensive collapse?

So many breakdowns. So many culprits. So many people to blame for an embarrassing offensive collapse like this.
 
Carson Wentz has to be better. He has to hit guys when they’re open. He has to chuck the ball away instead of taking bad sacks and fumbling. 

The receivers have to be better. That’s obvious to anybody paying attention. They have to help out their quarterback, make the routine plays and maybe a great one here and there.
 
The offensive line has to be better. Less than 2½ yards per carry in the second half against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses is unacceptable, even without Lane Johnson.
 
Mike Groh, Duce Staley, Press Taylor, Carson Walch … all the offensive assistant coaches have to be better. They all have a role in putting together the gameplan, figuring out how to attack, preparing players for what they’re going to see, making in-game adjustments.
 
Howie Roseman has to be better. A lot better. This is his roster, and it’s not his fault guys keep getting hurt, but it is job to replace them with the best available players, and that clearly hasn’t happened.
 
They’re all responsible. They all have a piece of this. 
 
But one person is most responsible, and that’s Doug Pederson.
 
He’ll always be a legend for bringing a Lombardi Trophy back to Philly, but when you have an offensive head coach and the offense has been this wildly inconsistent, it’s on him.
 
Why can’t the Eagles put together two halves of quality offensive football? That’s ultimately on Doug.
 
Why does the play-calling often seem predictable and stale? That’s ultimately on Doug. 
 
Why are wide receivers not improving and in some cases regressing? That’s ultimately on Doug.
 
Why can’t the Eagles make a play down the field? That’s on Doug, too.
 
Sunday was one of Doug’s worst days. 
 
If you’re up 10-0 early in the second quarter in your own stadium against a team with very little firepower, you have to find a way to finish that thing off. I don't care who you're playing.
 
I get that the Patriots have a great defense and one of the best coaches ever, but 10 straight drives without a point is inexcusable. After the Eagles took the 10-0 lead, their last 10 drives ended with seven punts, a fumble, a failed 4th down and the end of the game.
 
While Bill Belichick was over on the other sideline figuring out what the Eagles were doing and how to stop it, Doug Pederson kept handing the ball off to a fumble-prone practice squad running back.

This just in: You're not going to beat Bill Belichick with Boston Scott.
 
That the Eagles went down with their dynamic rookie running back getting just five touches in the game's final 43½ minutes is incomprehensible.
 
If you’re going to lose, lose with your best guy out there.
 
I know Sanders was banged up there for a minute, but he missed part of only one series, and he wound up playing 64 snaps — almost double his previous career high.
 
Yet after a terrific start — 6-for-29 on the first three drives — he got just five carries on the Eagles’ last 10 drives.
 
Against a defense allowing an NFL-worst 5.6 yards per carry since Week 4.
 
That was right out of the Andy Reid Playbook.
 
The one thing about Pederson since he got here is that he’s always had an answer. There have been ugly stretches before and he’s always been able to figure things out. 
 
He’s navigated the Eagles through a lot of adversity over the last 3½ years. Through an astounding number of injuries to critical guys, through too many off-the-field distractions, through bad losses.
 
Sunday was ugly, but I still believe the NFC East is still there for the taking if the Eagles beat the Cowboys on Dec. 22.
 
For that to happen, everybody has to be better. But more than anything, Doug has to be better.

More on the Eagles