Ertz Calls On Peters For Run Blocking Help
The same scene played out after every practice this week.
While the rest of the Eagles were stretching, Jason Peters and Zach Ertz stood off to the side. They would line up across from each other, fire off the ball, and Ertz would try to block Peters, who was playing the role of a defensive end or a linebacker.
Afterwards, Peters would offer some instruction, and they would do it again.
“I want to be a complete tight end in this league,” said Ertz. “Obviously the route-running, I’m very comfortable with that. I feel like I can get open pretty much whenever I’m on the field. You’ve gotta have that mentality. But the run-blocking I’ve gotta work on each and every day. Jason’s probably the best run-blocking player in the NFL, so to have that ability to learn from him is something I’m working on.”
On multiple occasions last week, Ertz would do a good job of squaring up and engaging the defender. The problem? He would get chucked at the last second, and the defender would be free to tackle the ball-carrier.
Here’s an example from the third quarter of last week’s game. Ertz is charged with blocking linebacker Dan Skuta. You’ll also notice that this was one of the plays where the Eagles used the pistol, with LeSean McCoy stationed directly behind Nick Foles.
Ertz does a good job initially, and it looks like McCoy will have a nice hole to run through.
The problem? Ertz is unable to sustain his block.
Skuta sheds the block and is free to get to McCoy.
“The bigger guys stone him and throw him at the last second and make the play,” Peters said. “And some of Shady’s runs have been affected by that, so I was just trying to help him out. …I was just watching film and I just pulled him to the side.”
Added Ertz: “I was driving people off the ball, but I got a little over-extended at the end of the run, and they were able to shed me a little bit. So I’m just focusing on that right now.”
Ertz played 72 percent of the snaps last week (43 overall). That was more than Brent Celek.
He’s proven he can be a big part of the passing game, but with the run game struggling, Ertz knows everyone from the tight ends to the offensive linemen to the running backs need to do a better job. And to his credit, he’s taking extra measures to improve that part of his game.
“I approached him and [offensive line] Coach [Jeff] Stoutland just to help on the run blocking stuff, and they were more than happy to,” Ertz said. “Jason is a true leader of this team. You see him with all the young linemen, and I figured he could help me as well.”