Zach Ertz is back in Philadelphia for his fifth Eagles training camp, and the Stanford product is feeling more like a veteran than ever.
Now married and approaching 27 years old, ZE is embracing his role as one of the leaders in the Philly locker room. And No. 86 is playing with more confidence than ever in his career.
“It seems like my rookie year was decades ago the way I’ve developed,” Zach said. “My rookie year I didn’t even have a spring because Stanford’s graduation was so late. I’m just so much more comfortable and confident now. I’m a much better player and blocker in particular.”
Zach is coming off back-to-back 800-yard seasons and tied a career-high with four touchdowns a year ago, and after finishing his fourth season strong, he’s ready to get to work preparing for season five.
“I’m excited for the year,” ZE said. “Obviously there is a lot that I’m going to have to prove these next four or five weeks over training camp. But I’m really excited about the opportunity to come out here and compete.”
There’s plenty of competition to go around at Philly’s NovaCare Complex. Zach is lining up every day opposite a stout secondary. Six-year veteran Rodney McLeod is returning for his second season in Philly alongside Malcolm Jenkins. No. 86 tipped his cap to one of the league’s best safety tandems, as well as athletic linebacker Jordan Hicks, who returns to help lead a formidable defensive unit.
“We’ve got some of the best safeties in the league,” Zach says. “It’s an honor for me to go against Malcolm and Rodney and go against them every day. Jordan Hicks is going to be set for a big year too.”
Things are looking up for Zach and the Eagle attack as well. ZE will enjoy his second full season working with quarterback Carson Wentz. No. 86 has gone through a carousel of QBs thus far during his NFL career, so the continuity between Zach and his second-year signal-caller could make all the difference.
“Last year the guy was announced the starter eight days before the season,” Zach said of Wentz. “So just him having all this time to grow and fully flourish in this offense, I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
But while Zach can’t contain his confidence going into the season, he’s making sure he stays humble. With plenty of work left to be done before the season, ZE is going to embrace the preseason grind.
“I think we’re going to take it one game at a time,” Zach said. “We’ll see after the preseason how everything goes. We have a lot of pieces on this team, and we’re excited for the season.”