How Zach Ertz Caught Chip Kelly’s Eye

Chip Kelly’s Oregon squad was two games away from an undefeated season.

The No. 2 Ducks were hosting No. 13 Stanford in a prime-time game on Nov. 17.

With 6:28 left in the fourth quarter, the Cardinal’s offense took over at its own 22 yard line, trailing 14-7. Zach Ertz had been giving Oregon’s defense problems all game. And on this particular drive, the Ducks just had no answer for the 6-5 tight end. Ertz caught four balls for 53 yards, including the game-tying 10-yard touchdown with 1:35 left.

The play was originally ruled incomplete, but the officials changed their minds and gave Ertz the score.

“I did not agree with the call, and when I saw Zach at the Combine, I told him that,” Kelly said. “He actually sent me a note, thanking me for talking to him at the Combine and then put a PS in there and told me it was a catch. And when we talked to him on the phone, I said I guess it was a catch, so now we’re on the same side.”

Ertz finished with a career-high 11 catches for 106 yards. Asked about the note, he said, “I just wanted to remind him what happened when we played against him and just to make sure that I got the last laugh.”

The tight end position is changing in the NFL, and Kelly said he’s always been a heavy tight-end coach. Given the moves the Eagles have made since he got here, the message is clear: Get versatile pieces on offense, move them around and create mismatches.

Kelly got a first-hand view of Stanford doing that with Ertz.

“He did everything,” Kelly said. “They used him in multiple variety, and that’s the thing about him. They used him as a single receiver on the trips set. He was by himself, isolated on a DB. They used him as a tight end. They used him as an H-Back. They used him as a move guy. They moved him all over the place, and you can never isolate him at one certain spot. Whenever they got the mismatch, he created and made plays. And that’s what he’s done his entire career. I didn’t relish coaching against him and I’m very happy he’s on our side now.”

The Eagles already added tight end James Casey in free agency, and they have Brent Celek on the roster as well. Clay Harbor, on the other hand, will almost certainly be let go down the road.

We’ll find out in the months ahead how all the pieces fit, but the versatility theme continues to come up. Taken with the No. 35 pick, Ertz now becomes another part of the equation on offense.

Below is a YouTube cut-up of Ertz’ game against Oregon, courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com. The touchdown comes around the 6:44 mark. Looks like a pretty good red-zone target, no?

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  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    Ok since I nailed this one I’m now pounding the table for Georgia DT John Jenkins

    • GEagle

      Who did we draft? Logan?

      • GEagle

        I missed the pick but saw LSU…I almost choked..I’m like Holy hell, tell me we did not just draft the kid who got arrested on draft night lol….forgot all about Bennie…wonder if Thirold Simon is put of jail before he gets drafted hahahahah…don’t you know I am bro.? I run Eunice!!! The Mayor Of Eunice got my back….apparently the Eunice Police Offer did not get the memo….no I am not making this up

        • BrickSquadMonopoly

          so whats ur take on bennie logan….and the fact that fatboy picked up travis kelce

          • cliff henny

            logan’s a beast. young, soap needs to take him under his wing, but kid can play.

          • Geagle

            lol…yeah, at this point Im pretty damn fried…
            I actually like Logan alot. Cliff is right, Sopo could be really good for him. Im hoping we still add Dial and Kruger(take advantage of sopo, and give that man a bnch of talent to mentor)…getting those 3 would really help our line…I do wonder if we wanted Sio

        • BrickSquadMonopoly

          You def musta celebrated after mathieu lol…i did too but im wtchn nba playoffs

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    Bennie Logan lol

  • GEagle

    Honey Badger just sparked a cannon to celebrate him…it’s only fitting that I match him! Lol

  • dislikedisqus

    Love this pick. Huge add to our offense.

  • JofreyRice

    Nice story, but selecting guys who played well against you is a myopic way to build a squad.

    • Run Eagles Run

      jody shelly anyone? that being said, I think its a coincidence. comparisons to witten and aaron hernandez sound good to me. now someone teach the kid how to block.

  • Jack Waggoner

    The Eagles will use some 3-TE sets in the red zone. Ertz would basically become the X receiver, Celek would be the Y (traditional tight end), and Casey the F. There would be only one regular receiver.