Eagles Wake-Up Call: Ertz Putting In the Work

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Ertz has spent the 2015 offseason tracking down extra edge.

He sought the counsel of tight end great Tony Gonzalez. Studied under former offensive line coach Hudson Houck to improve his blocking. For strength and conditioning, he joined Darren Sproles out in San Diego to work with renowned trainer Todd Durkin.

LaDainian Tomlinson was Durkin’s first NFL client, and the tree quickly grew branches from there. Tomlinson brought in Sproles and other Chargers teammates like Drew Brees, who has now been with Durkin for 12 years. The client list also features Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer and Reggie Bush, among others. Scroll down to the bottom left and you’ll find current Eagles tight end coach Justin Peele, who played 10 seasons in the league. Seeing the benefits of training with Durkin, Peele recommended that Ertz make the trip out west.

“The big thing that we want to do is number one, get Zach in the best shape of his life and then make sure he has the mental frame approach because he has been working with some of these elite guys,” said Durkin a couple weeks back. “Zach is one of these guys that has the ‘it’ factor. He has that mental ability and desire to be great, and he’s doing everything he needs to do to put himself into the upper-echelon of tight ends in the league. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles Players Gather On West Coast

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

A good number of Eagles gathered in San Diego this week to get some work and a little bonding time in before the start of training camp.

There were 11 team members in all, including Mark Sanchez, Darren Sproles and Zach Ertz, who joined forces to host their own mini minicamp of sorts.

Sanchez has held offseason get-togethers dating back to his New York days — a week that was once known as “Jets West.” This year was more of a collaborative effort, as it was conducted with the help of renowned trainer Todd Durkin and his staff at Fitness Quest 10. Durkin, whose client list includes stars such as LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees, has been working with Sproles for the past seven years and with Ertz since February. Together, they came up with a comprehensive program for the week.

“Every day they’ve had field work where they’ve been on the field and doing their install,” said Durkin. “After they do the weight room work they go over to the high school and they watch film for about an hour and then we do our warm-up with them and bring them through all their agility and movement stuff, and then Mark leads their install and they do all that.” Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com thinks the Eagles have the best backfield in the league:

NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Ravens, Browns and Eagles, also placed Philly at No. 1, saying: “Murray gets all the headlines and attention, but I’m even more intrigued to see what the role is for Mathews and Sproles. The way they do it, you go out there for a series. I think it’s going to be a good fit. I kind of worry about those secondary runners when you get a carry here, a carry there. But the Eagles with their tempo, (Mathews is) going to get a full series and he’s going to get a chance to get into a rhythm.”

Read more »

Aw! Eagle Zach Ertz Is Dating U.S. World Cup Soccer Star Julie Johnston


Julie Johnston is a burgeoning star on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, currently competing (and winning) in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Zach Ertz is an on-the-rise tight end for the Eagles, working hard to become the team’s most reliable pass catcher come the fall.

Zach went to Stanford, Julie to University of Santa Clara. The two met at a Stanford University baseball game a few years back, and now they’re dating, according to Ertz’s personal blog. Julie, at the time, was training for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, signifying to Zach that she was talented. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during today’s Eagles practice session.

11:51 a.m. – I have joked before about being the lone passenger on the Marcus Smith bandwagon, but I swear that watching him move in practice, he looks like an NFL player. He’s long, athletic, and effort doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Maybe after being ping-ponged from outside linebacker to inside linebacker, it was the mental part that tripped him up last season. We’ll see if that’s the case once the pads come on.

By the way, speaking of the outside linebacker spot, Vinny Curry is getting some reps there, according to Chip Kelly. We know Curry can get after the passer, and he should have no problem setting the edge in the run game. But the question will be whether he can drop into coverage. Read more »

Wake Up Call: Ertz Wants To Lead

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

On a day when the temperature was over 90 degrees, many Eagles quickly made their way to the air-conditioned locker room after practice. Some hung around to talk to the media. And then there was Zach Ertz, running routes, weaving between tackling dummies as Jordan Matthews threw him passes.

Ertz’s goal in 2015 is simple: He wants to be a leader.

“I just want to be a leader of the team, honestly,” Ertz said. “Obviously my role has grown each and every year and I think it will continue to do that, but at the end of the day, all I care about is [getting] 16 wins next year, that’s our focus.” Read more »

Kelce On Mathis: ‘They Didn’t Want the Distraction’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

 Jason Kelce said that there was more of an “underlying tone” to the Evan Mathis contract protests this time around, one that apparently clashed with the symphonic harmony emanating from One NovaCare Way.

“Last year there was some under-the-radar talks about it, stuff that was going on in the media, but nothing really concrete and he never really let it take place in front of the team or anything like that so it wasn’t a distraction,” said Kelce. “At this point obviously he would have missed all of OTAs. It was a much bigger deal throughout the season at this point.”

It was no surprise to Kelce, then, that Mathis was cut out of equation. Same for the rest of the Eagles players we talked to.

This week’s minicamp will wrap on Thursday, marking the end of the offseason conditioning program. Mathis was absent all spring. While everything save the minicamp is voluntary, several of his teammates suggested that he was in violation of an unwritten code of conduct. Read more »

Growth Mindset: The Idea Shaping the Eagles’ Offseason

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way— in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments— everyone can change and grow through application and experience. Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.


When informed recently that copies of her book were circulating around the NovaCare Complex this offseason, Carol Dweck was thrilled.

The Stanford psychology professor has heard the name Chip Kelly before, but she knows very little about him. Kelly and his coaching staff, however, are very familiar with Dweck. They’ve been using her 2007 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, as a teaching tool all offseason. The book focuses on the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Read more »

Players Say ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind’ With Mathis

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Asked about the absence of Evan Mathis, Zach Ertz invoked a saying Jim Harbaugh used during their time together at Stanford.

“I hate to say it, but a college coach of mine said, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, and that’s kind of what we have,” said Ertz. “We have a very good group of offensive linemen. I have a lot of faith in them. Obviously I love Evan, I wish he was here, but at the same time we’re focused on the guys that are here.

“At the beginning of the offseason guys would talk about it, but now that the grind is going ,and we’re running our butts off each and every day. We’re focused on the guys that are out here.” Read more »

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