Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Luck-Ertz Reunion
Zach Ertz admits that it was a bit of a “narrow-sighted view.”
The Orange, California native was drawn in by the L.A. lights and the recruiting capabilities of Rick Neuheisel coming out of high school, and had his sights set on UCLA. His mother had other ideas.
“I wanted to go to UCLA but my mom said, ‘You’re going to Stanford,’ so I really didn’t have a choice,” said Ertz. “She always wanted to have a son go to Stanford, growing up in the Bay Area she knew the prestige of that school whereas I didn’t necessarily at the time. She made the best decision I ever made.”
Turned out OK. Ertz racked up 112 catches for 1,434 yards and 15 touchdowns during his 37 games at Stanford. For two seasons, he was catching passes from Andrew Luck.
“Not a surprise to any of us that played with him in college,” said Luck of Ertz’s early success in the NFL. “Great athlete. Great body control. A guy that you feel comfortable throwing the ball up to because you know he’s going to come down with it. And I’ve always been impressed with how he works his butt off in the run game and doing the things that people don’t notice but do make a big [difference].”
If last week’s game between the Colts and Broncos is any indication, Ertz has the chance to go off Monday night in Indy. Fellow tight end Julius Thomas had seven catches for 104 yards and three touchdowns for Denver in the opener.
“He’s a heck of a player. Some of the catches and routes he ran are exactly the way you want to run them and obviously Peyton Manning put the ball exactly where he needed to. We feel like we have the same athletes and we have Nick Foles so we’re very happy, and hopefully we can exploit those mathchups,” said Ertz.
Luck isn’t the only Colt that went to Stanford. Fellow tight end Coby Fleener and receiver Griff Whalen also represent the Cardinal. Ertz said he talked with Luck last week. He spoke highly of his former signal-caller, as you might imagine. Luck followed in kind.
“He’s a great team player so definitely happy for his success,” said Luck. ” I just hope that he doesn’t do too well against us.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“You can’t just disrespect somebody and [expect] them to tip you.” LeSean McCoy on tips, Darren Sproles and the O-line.
The Eagles have brought in a former senior ACC replay official to help with challenges.
Sheil uses the All-22 to break down the Eagles’ performance on defense against the Jags.
Kelly’s depth theory will be tested on Monday night, Kapadia writes.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com with some thoughts on Foles:
The Eagles comeback wasn’t about Foles. He made a few nice throws in the second half, but still had an erratic 30 minutes after halftime. Philadelphia scored because of their running game, defense, and defensive blown coverages that any quarterback could have victimized. Perhaps that’s the key takeaway: Kelly has provided a support system for Foles that every NFL quarterback can be jealous of. It can overcome a meltdown.
Foles had a similarly disastrous game against Dallas last season, and bounced back from it quickly. We’ll be fascinated to see whether he does so this year. The Eagles don’t face many top defenses early in the year, but they are dealing with a raft of losses on the offensive line. Four of their top seven players are unavailable for Week 2.
Our faith in Kelly is so complete that we assume he’ll coach his way out of this dilemma. But Foles has dropped breadcrumbs of concern dating back to the preseason. Tracking his post-honeymoon season will be one of our early storylines to watch in the QB Index all season year.
Jeff McLane checks in on James Casey:
“I’ve been the very first guy in the building since I’ve been on this team,” he said. “I get here at 5:10, 5:15 every single morning, and I’m not just sitting in the locker room [yakking].”
The 29-year-old Casey is still a valuable player on special teams. He said he’s on every unit. But he wants to play more on offense and now he has rookie Trey Burton nipping at his heels. They have different skill sets, but Burton could replace Casey, whose third year is without any guaranteed money, next season.
Kelly speaks at 11:45 prior to practice.