Zach Ertz is definitely frustrated. Just not by what you’d think.
Ertz’s production has plunged the first five weeks of this year.
After averaging 34 catches for 379 yards through five games the last three year, he’s got 20 catches for just 145 yards so far this year.
That’s a 62 percent drop-off for the player who caught more passes than any tight end in NFL history in his first seven seasons.
There are 21 tight ends in the NFL with more yards than Ertz.
“I wouldn’t say I’m frustrated in my lack of stats,” Ertz said. “I’m frustrated by the fact that we haven’t won football games. The frustration boils over when you don’t win football games, that’s what I get frustrated about. If we were 5-0 right now and I had the same stats, there would be nothing to talk about. I wouldn’t care at all. But I think I can help the team win. I think I can make plays for this team on third down and in the red zone like I have in the past, and hopefully try and find a way to win a football game.”
Ertz is actually fifth in the NFL in catches by a tight end, but 10 of his 20 catches have gone for six yards or less and only one has been longer than 12 yards.
Ertz has the 12th-most catches ever by a tight end and needs three more to move up to 10th.
“In terms of frustration for my stats, this is Year 8 for me now,” he said Thursday. “I’ve had a lot of stats. I broke the record (for catches in a season), caught (the game-winning) touchdown in a Super Bowl, so for me, it’s all about trying to win football games. The year we won the Super Bowl was a lot more fun than the year I broke the record for catches.”
The last two weeks, Ertz has just 15 total yards. the lowest two-game total of his career.
He had 7-for-70 against the Bengals but has just 75 yards in the Eagles’ four other games.
“We're confident in Zach's ability to get open, his ability to separate, his ability to be where we need him to be,” Carson Wentz said. “He's a playmaker. Defenses still know that. Whether he's catching 10 balls a game or one, defenses still know he's a playmaker and he's someone they’ve got to be aware of. I'm confident that he'll still get his. I'm confident he'll have big games ahead.”
Up until the 49ers game, Ertz had more career starts with 120 yards than starts with fewer than 10 yards.
Now he’s had 6 and 9 in back-to-back games.
“The only way I know to get over rough patches is to go out there and work harder, work as hard as I possibly can,” he said. “Last year against the Bills I had two catches, against the Cowboys, when we were playing down there (in 2017), I had two catches, so it’s not like I haven’t had these kinds of (games before). You’re not going to go every game with seven catches. So you’ve just got to try and find ways to continue to work whether you’re on the top of a mountain coming off 10 catches or whether you’re coming off a game with one catch.”
What about the contract?
Is it affecting him? Is it a distraction?
“I’m not worried about it, I’m not focused on it, I haven't thought about it,” he said. “I’m just trying to find a way to win football games. The contract stuff doesn’t even approach my thought process during the week. My process is all about (being) the best tight end I can be for this team. I’m not worried about that. Whatever happens happens at this point. I’m just trying to win football games.”
Until he and Wentz figure this out, it’s going to remain very difficult for the Eagles to win football games.