Ertz Opening Eyes In New England

 There is a growing buzz about Zach Ertz as he gets set to enter his second NFL season. Is he aware of what’s being said and written about him?

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I’m on Twitter now and then, on Instagram.

“My mom will retweet something or my agent will retweet something. And it will just be like, ‘Zach Ertz, breakout year coming’ or whatever. I read it and it’s good that there are positive things that are being said about me,” he said, “but at the same time if I go out and have a few drops, the last training camp they said I have bad hands, so it goes both ways.”

True enough. This camp there has been little to pick apart about Ertz's game, though. He has been getting open with regularity and catching about everything that has been thrown his way. That trend continued this week during joint practices with the Patriots. During one period of 7-on-7s Thursday, Mark Sanchez threw a total of five passes. Three of them were touchdowns tosses to Ertz.

"He's athletic. He's fast, he's faster than I thought," said Patriots linebacker/defensive end Chandler Jones. "I feel like he is more of a skill player than anything. He runs his routes very well. I've had the opportunity to cover him during two days of practice and he's been a handful."

Added safety Devin McCourty: "I think if you start worrying too much about the backs and receivers you'll get killed by their tight ends. [Brent] Celek has been doing it for a long time for Philly in this league and I think Ertz is going to be a really good player as well."

While many are predicting a bust-out campaign for Ertz, the second-year tight end isn't ready to do so. He said Chip Kelly hasn't relayed how much playing time he'll get or how prominently he'll be featured come September. So no bold proclamations. But you can tell he's feeling good about his game right now.

"I pride myself on being able to create mismatches. That's what I've done my whole life. My opinion is I can get open against anybody," he said. "I think to be successful in the league you have to have that confidence. I think at the end of last year I started to build that confidence back in myself like it was in college where I can beat anybody, and hopefully it continues to grow."

Cooper Hopes To Play Next Week

Riley Cooper (foot) is expected to sit out Friday night's exhibition game against New England. He practiced some this week but did not participate in team drills.

"I'm going to practice on Sunday and just see how it goes," he said. "But I want to play next week."

The third preseason game is when starters typically play the longest. Most sit out the fourth. Time's ticking for Cooper to get in some game action before the regular season starts. He said he is "pretty confident" he'll be ready for Week 1.

Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) did not practice Thursday. Seems unlikely he'll play against the Pats. Nolan Carroll, Matthew Tucker, Jaylen Watkins, Chris Polk and David Fluellen were also sidelined.

Chip and Bill

Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick spent close to a half-hour locked in conversation Thursday during the early portion of practice. Would have been fun to listen in on that one. Their relationship dates back to when Kelly was coaching at New Hampshire and used to come visit Patriots practice.

"He was very gracious.  He's always been really gracious to the local college coaches," said Kelly. "They were always open for us to come in and watch and visit when they would start camp.  Obviously in the NFL, they start camp a little bit earlier than the colleges, so you get a chance to come down here for the last week of July and watch a couple days of camp.  At that time, I think they were still at Bryant College.  But [he’s] always been very, very gracious and always great with his time in terms of being able to share football knowledge."

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  • DmanPhilly

    Chip Don’t Trust Bill with too much.

    • Kevin

      Chip will talk football with Bill all day… As long a Bill doesn’t ask about sports science… What happens in Huls lab stays in Huls lab.

      • Dominik

        And think about what they can learn from each other. One of the brightest offensive minds talking to the brightest defensive mind about the development of the league. It benefits both, I guess. “Hey Bill, what would you do if I line up this way? That’d be crazy innovative, would it?” “Oh, good idea Chip, I’d counter with this.” “Of course you would, but then there is Sproles, Haha.” OK, I simplified it a little bit.

        But you can bet neither Chip nor Belichick would reveal a secret. I think they both know better than that and would be disappointed of the other one if he’d be stupid enough to tell him.

        • Amar, CB who bought in

          Would they win an SB as Off co-ord and Def Co-ord under Andy Reid ?
          Never mind….

          • Dominik

            If you make Belichick the HC and DC and give Chip Jim Johnson/Dick LeBeau like control of his unit (and resources), I think they’ll make the perfect season.

            Of course they could do it under Andy, but he’d need to give BB the control of time management and CK the power to run the football. He’d basically only be a HCINO. Head Coach in Name only.

        • Kev_H

          I don’t think Kelly has any gimmicky secrets.

          • Dominik

            Sport science stuff. They won’t talk about that. Lurie said owners call him about it, but he won’t tell them anything.

            We don’t know how effective it is, but we know it’s top secret for the Eagles.

          • Kev_H

            That’s not gimmicky or nothing new. Hulk Hogan and Mr T were telling everyone to get their sleep, say their prayers, eat their vitamins, stay in school etc since the 1980s. Sports science is tried and true.

  • NickS, Combine Warrior

    Cooper’s just playing diva after his new deal. Sit out as much as camp as possible, start practicing before the third PS game, play the game, then it’s just practice until week 1. He keeps that attitude up and he’ll be gone next year.

    • RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

      at this rate he and Foles won’t have their timing down till the bye. I’m hoping Matthews and/or Huff does something tomorrow to speed up Coop’s recovery.

      • JosephR2225

        I’m assuming by “do something tomorrow to speed up Coop’s recovery” you mean you want Matthews to lay hands upon Cooper and lo, the lame can walk again.

        • RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

          Yeah, that, or the threat of irrelevancy

      • NickS, Combine Warrior

        Hopefully both. Hell, Matthews and Huff just holding on to the ball at this point is a step in the right direction.

      • Dominik

        If there is one player on this team Foles needs maybe one or two days to catch up with, it’s Cooper. Think about it, he played his rookie campaign at the second team with him, they both got promoted to starters under Andy at the end of the year and had good chemistry. Then Nick is the starter again next year (after many weeks of not showing anything from Riley) and is responsible for Cooper getting that fat contract because they played lights out together.

        I hope that Cooper really couldn’t train and wasn’t just lazy. It’s not like he’s Revis or something, he can and must improve his game. But chemistry, like I said, is my last concern with him and Foles.

    • CSpangler

      Or he had a bad high ankle sprain and isnt ready to go yet. But I’d go with your idea it sounds better

      • NickS, Combine Warrior

        Show me the high ankle sprain report.

        • Explorer51

          The thing is there haven’t been any details on his injury; I’m not one of those “we gotta know everything, tell us now!” screamers but, in the absence of information, you draw your own conclusions. A foot/ankle problem that required a boot for over 10 days is a clue that it may not be a simple ankle sprain; so maybe the way it’s being treated, including the amount of recovery time, hints at a high ankle sprain?

          I totally realize that this type of uninformed speculation is just that…uninformed speculation! But I think under CK, who never talks about injuries, we will always be basically “making stuff up” in the absence of actual facts; kind of like an “idle minds are the devil’s workshop” thing.

  • RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

    Catch that injury report? Hope Duce is ready to suit up for the 2nd half.

    • JofreyRice

      I’d see if Bruce Perry was available.

      • cliff h-MOAR white goons

        Ryan Moats, maybe

        • jmkrav

          Reno Mahe!!!!

          • Jason

            Charlie Gardner, not the real one. The one that posts over at that other site, that way he could get killed and we wouldn’t be subjected to that anymore.

          • Warhound KnowsHstryWarts&All

            Wow! I’d forgotten him. I’m so glad he hasn’t made the move over to here.

      • Adam G

        Lorenzo Booker?

    • miketd1


    • aub32

      GJ Kinne (RB)?

  • wydok

    I hope Ertz has a breakout year. Apparently he will be the only guy catching balls this year.

    • anon

      sproles will be a big problem. you can see it already in pre season.

  • Adam

    Wonder if Ertz and Matthews have similar arcs as Eagles.. Ertz had a lot of trouble with his hands in camp last year. Moderate success rookie seasons with (hopefully) jumps in their sophomore campaigns.

    • anon

      hopefully, though ertz had vets working with him, keeping him on the juggs machine etc. #javant.

      • mgriz

        I dint think with ethic is an issue for Matthews

  • Reef215

    after thinking about it and reading “He was very gracious. He’s always been really gracious to the local college coaches,” Chip considers Bellicheat a friend. thats why he probably was offended when Cary said the truth about him and sat him out for a game

  • TNA

    When I read positive remarks about Ertz, I think back to the first big name to say he was going to be a star… MV7. Vick said there have only been 2 young players he’s played with that would be stars in this league. McCoy and Ertz.

    • hrtak

      And Roddy White