As the 2018 NFL season draws nearer, Zach Ertz and the Philadelphia Eagles have some work to do.
It’s a common practice, the year after a Super Bowl run to have some roster turnover, and the Eagles have not been immune to this trend.
As the Eagles reconvened over the last few weeks, there have been plenty of new faces around the team. So team activities were geared toward integrating some new faces into their championship setting, after some of last season’s key contributors moved on.
With OTAs giving way to mandatory mini-camp this past week, the losses and additions are being emphasized even more.
Among those moving on were the two men closest to Zach on the depth chart at tight end, Brent Celek and Trey Burton. However, the Eagles have made strides toward filling that void. One addition to the 2018 Eagles roster who has impressed during mini-camp practices is second-round tight end Dallas Goedert. Zach has been charged with helping Goedert get up to speed with the offense and Goedert knows he’s in goods hands in the tight end group, with ZE’s steps to follow in.
“He’s one of the best tight ends, if not the best tight end in the league so being able to watch him and seeing how he does it, how he goes about his day, I mean he’s a true professional,” Goedert said. “Great guy to kind of mentor me and for me to follow his lead.”
It’s still early, the pads haven’t come on yet, and Goedert has much more to learn as a rookie in the NFL, but the Eagles have been excited thus far with the South Dakota State product’s blend of size, speed and sticky hands.
A pair of tight ends like No.’s 86 and 88 could ultimately provide the Philly attack with some interesting looks as Goedert continues to develop.
“He’s coming along great,” Zach said. “Big tight end, physical, he’s able to use his body, He’s got really good hands, long arms, so he’s been a really good talent so far. We’re excited to see him in pads come the fall, but I think right now he’s really doing well, kind of picking up the offense, doing everything we’ve asked him to.”
Goedert will likely have a chance to make an immediate impact as a rookie behind No. 86, and give returning quarterback Carson Wentz another weapon to spread the ball around to.
Speaking of Wentz, the Eagles’ star signal caller has continued to make great progress in his return from an ACL tear that forced him to miss the final three weeks of the 2017 regular season as well as Philadelphia’s playoff run to the Super Bowl.
“The arm is alive, I’ll tell you that much,” Zach informed reporters. “The ball has the same zip, if not more. It’s definitely coming.”
That’s good news for No. 86, who is coming off a career year, where he racked up 824 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season, most of which came from Wentz, en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance. Of course he also snagged the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LII from Nick Foles, so Zach likely won’t skip a beat.
The core of the Super Bowl champs will return for next season and they are already diligently preparing for another title run, but they will need help from new draft picks like Goedert, Avonte Maddox and Josh Sweat, as well as key contributions from veteran acquisitions like speedster Mike Wallace, noseguard Haloti Ngata and three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett.
It’s just mini-camp, but the Eagles appear to be off to a good start.